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  • Recent new server and software updates - Progress update!

    By The Old Man

    I think we've nailed all the really annoying things (bugs) since the upgrade now, like links in old posts being broken and reloading the same page instead of showing the actual linked website (all since rebuilt and working okay again). This latest version of our software framework although more powerful, efficient and feature-laden in a lot of ways, does in some ways use a lot more system resources, something the developers possibly never really made clear (at least I wasn't aware of that and I do keep up to date daily with developments), and despite us moving to a much better web host with a newer more powerful servers and superfast SSD drives, the server resource usage has still been very high which has caused some issues we're trying to resolve. I've blocked a few IP Addresses in Romania and elsewhere that were hitting the server hard and its helped, and made sure there's a 30 second delay for search bots, but 'bad bots' probably ignore that setting! There isn't a fully released version of Shoutbox yet, its being rebuilt from the ground up in the developers spare time, but when we installed a recent pre-release candidate version it was hitting the server 50,000 times a day, despite only containing about 10 actual shots per day max and some tweaks applied by the developer. So we had to remove it before our web host suspended our account! Shoutbox may return one day if the developer addresses impact on system resources, and there is another similar program we can try called Chatbox. However, all these types of programs have major resource issues by definition, so it may be we re-install the official IPS Chat app, which runs off an external server. IPS Chat has a 5 user limit on the free version but the main issue is that when you exit the a Chatroom is doesn't keep the old messages visible, like the Shoutbox does. Therefore, when we used to have it installed in the last year or so, it was rarely if ever used as everyone seemed to love the Shoutbox. Perhaps if we charged optional membership subscriptions etc to raise funds, we could possibly pay for a managed VPS Virtual Private Server or even a Dedicated Server, but they are really expensive, and since I'm facing redundancy from work on October 31st, I'm reluctant to commit to that for now. So for now we're trying to run the board at basic level without any third party add-ons to get a baseline on performance, which is still going way up to 150%-200% of available system resources during peak times of the day, but we're getting there! As you can see, the chart is coming down over the last month. I make a change and then see what the effect is over a few days, checking the system logs, so its a bit of a slow process but it could help nail down what's causing it, could be as simple as showing forthcoming calendar events, or latest topics on the main index page etc. Each software update has seen a boost in system performance too, as well as fixing hundreds of bugs, many of which we never see or experience but I thank you for your patience and I'm please that things are improving and certainly are very stable! Meanwhile, IB Themes are busy getting the Halloween themes ready, which will brighten up the board again with an autumnal season feel - always the best time of the year to enjoy Millennium if you ask me! This is who we are.
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  1. I think we've nailed all the really annoying things (bugs) since the upgrade now, like links in old posts being broken and reloading the same page instead of showing the actual linked website (all since rebuilt and working okay again).

    This latest version of our software framework although more powerful, efficient and feature-laden in a lot of ways, does in some ways use a lot more system resources, something the developers possibly never really made clear (at least I wasn't aware of that and I do keep up to date daily with developments), and despite us moving to a much better web host with a newer more powerful servers and superfast SSD drives, the server resource usage has still been very high which has caused some issues we're trying to resolve.

    I've blocked a few IP Addresses in Romania and elsewhere that were hitting the server hard and its helped, and made sure there's a 30 second delay for search bots, but 'bad bots' probably ignore that setting!

    There isn't a fully released version of Shoutbox yet, its being rebuilt from the ground up in the developers spare time, but when we installed a recent pre-release candidate version it was hitting the server 50,000 times a day, despite only containing about 10 actual shots per day max and some tweaks applied by the developer. So we had to remove it before our web host suspended our account! Shoutbox may return one day if the developer addresses impact on system resources, and there is another similar program we can try called Chatbox. However, all these types of programs have major resource issues by definition, so it may be we re-install the official IPS Chat app, which runs off an external server. IPS Chat has a 5 user limit on the free version but the main issue is that when you exit the a Chatroom is doesn't keep the old messages visible, like the Shoutbox does. Therefore, when we used to have it installed in the last year or so, it was rarely if ever used as everyone seemed to love the Shoutbox. Perhaps if we charged optional membership subscriptions etc to raise funds, we could possibly pay for a managed VPS Virtual Private Server or even a Dedicated Server, but they are really expensive, and since I'm facing redundancy from work on October 31st, I'm reluctant to commit to that for now.

    So for now we're trying to run the board at basic level without any third party add-ons to get a baseline on performance, which is still going way up to 150%-200% of available system resources during peak times of the day, but we're getting there!

    IMG_1427.thumb.PNG.84c5322804d87163959a1

    As you can see, the chart is coming down over the last month.

    I make a change and then see what the effect is over a few days, checking the system logs, so its a bit of a slow process but it could help nail down what's causing it, could be as simple as showing forthcoming calendar events, or latest topics on the main index page etc.

    Each software update has seen a boost in system performance too, as well as fixing hundreds of bugs, many of which we never see or experience but I thank you for your patience and I'm please that things are improving and certainly are very stable!

    Meanwhile, IB Themes are busy getting the Halloween themes ready, which will brighten up the board again with an autumnal season feel - always the best time of the year to enjoy Millennium if you ask me!

    This is who we are.

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    Book review: Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea

    I learned about this book from a discussion elsewhere about the North Korea situation.

    The author is Barbara Demick, an American journalist and Beijing bureau chief of the Los Angeles Times. She interviewed many people who defected from North Korea and came to live in South Korea.

    The use of "Ordinary Lives" in the title is a little bit misleading – but very effective in getting the stories across – because those lives were ordinary only in terms of North Korea. None of us in the West would regard those lives as ordinary in any way.

    The other part of the title, "Nothing to Envy", comes from one of the many patriotic songs taught to North Koreans almost from birth. Everything is so perfect, thanks to the Great Leader, that there's nothing beyond the borders that any North Korean could possibly want. And, also, there's a lot beyond the borders to be feared. North Koreans are given everything they need: education, jobs, housing, food, clothing, health care, entertainment. But what people get is determined by their status – mostly whether they get accepted into the Workers' Party and, of course, the higher up the ladder, the more you get.

    The system started to fall apart in the 1990s when there was a major famine. It became very difficult for ordinary people when food became scarce, because the Great Leader is the equivalent of a god, and North Korea is the equivalent of the Garden of Eden. How can one continue to believe in all that when adults and children died from starvation, and those children who survived had permanently stunted growth from malnutrition? And yet to disbelieve meant running the risk of imprisonment in labour camps, not just for the "traitors" but for the rest of their families for three generations – parents, grandparents, children, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, cousins. It's a chilling way to control people.

    One interesting aspect that I've learned from a world history course is that Korea, like other countries in that part of the world, had adopted Confucianism centuries ago. Confucianism isn't a religion as such, as it doesn't involve an external deity. But one of the important aspects of Confucianism is "filial duty", which is the respect that must be shown to one's elders – including one's ancestors. The cult of the Kims exemplifies that, because every home is expected to have pictures of the Kims displayed in the main room, with a cloth that is solely used to dust the pictures every day, and the expected daily family routine is for everyone to bow in front of the pictures and give thanks to the Leader. Given that homes, even in rural areas, are crowded close together, and probably with paper-thin walls, any family that fails to speak such thanks loudly is likely to be reported by a neighbour.

    And, yet, as the doubts grew, the outside world started creeping in. Some people have radios, which are manufactured to only pick up North Korean stations; fewer have TVs which are also restricted; similarly with computers. But the geeks have found ways of circumventing those restrictions.

    There's also an increasing degree of illegal crossing between North Korea and China. Some of that is just commercial. Those North Koreans who survived the famine did so by cultivating their own crops in the more rural areas, so had something to trade for what was on offer in the Chinese markets just over the border. Some North Koreans have video players, more recently some have acquired DVD players, and smuggled DVDs take up much less space. No matter how hard the North Korean hierarchy tries, it can't stem the tide of technological advancement.

    Despite the recent posturing of the North Korean hierarchy, which is worrying, the regime is beginning to fall apart. It just isn't possible these days for a country to continue to be so isolated from the rest of the world. Knowledge of the rest of the world is continuing to creep in from outside, and knowledge of the excesses of the higher levels of the hierarchy is continuing to creep down to the middle ranks.

    But there's a downside to that:

    China restricts those who cross the border from North Korea from accessing the South Korean embassies. That is understandable, because China is really the only country that North Korea has trading links with, so China is having to tread a fine line. What China doesn't want is a totally out-of-control North Korea with whatever nuclear weapons North Korea actually has. And also, China doesn't want to open the floodgates because it doesn't have the means to cope with the potentially vast numbers of refugees. Most of those North Koreans who make it to South Korea do so via Beijing with forged documents (so, expensive), or after an arduous journey and through another guarded border, this time with Mongolia, where North Korean refugees can get travel permits to South Korea from the South Korean embassy.

    But that's not the end of the problems. North Koreans who make it to South Korea often have tremendous difficulties in integrating into South Korean society. Partly because their accent is recognisably different; partly because they're shorter due to malnutrition; and partly because it's a completely different world. And it is such a different world – most noticeably because in South Korea there's electricity 24/7, and that's not just amazing for North Koreans, they also have to adjust to the consequent light and noise, as well as the shops and restaurants. South Korea does have a residential campus for North Korean refugees, to help them make that adjustment, and they also give financial aid to the graduates. Some of the refugees took years before they could even wear jeans or brightly coloured clothing – symbols of the decadent West. But there are limits to the numbers of refugees that South Korea could assist in that way.

    The North Korean regime will inevitably crumble, but it won't be like the Berlin Wall coming down. Those North Koreans who already know that what they've been led to believe is just BS will still have problems adjusting to the outside world. Those North Koreans who still believe will be utterly devastated psychologically. It's likely that the trigger to the eventual breakdown will be another severe famine. But what will be needed then won't be just an humanitarian response to a famine or a war, which could be helped by providing food and shelter and security. There will be vast numbers of people who will be traumatised simply from being set free.

  2. I am thinking I should take the time to watch Millennium from the beginning this summer along with a full reviewing of Battlestar Galactcia. Does anyone watch to watch those episodes with me in tandem wherever they are at and discuss as we make it through the seasons of Millennium and Battlestar Galactcia.

    PS I wish Fox would get a third X-Files movie made and do a Frank Black movie (before Lance and Terry are gone from this Earth).

    PSS I should post more often in this blog. lol.

  3. Latest Entry

    So last year I was all excited about getting my own website and working on it and things were cool. Well, mid July I contact the person who ran the server farm and tried to get the info to be prepared about paying for the next year... and heard nothing. After several calls, and emails and PMs I finally hear from him and he is in the lobby of Dragon con and would get back to me asap...

    (sigh)

    Well, that hasn't happened. and my childrens website has been taken over by a porn group. I sent an email to him, didn't hear anything, called, left message, and still nothing and I am really really in a bind because I know this young man who is running the server farm and I thought it would be better to have him do it than someplace impersonal, because I thought, ok, gee, if there are problems I can take it to him, and it is helping him out.

    In a way, too, I am horrified that while I was passing out the website info, that it had been hacked (though I am still listed as the owner of the site, and it is difficult because if they are doing something illegal then its on my head, and all of the people that I passed the info to are now getting an eyefull.

    Part of me wants to abandon ship with this and go with TRIPOD, or something else. in a way, it would have been better had I not jumped in as I did, and I know that the cost of the website would be about the same. I don't know how to get his attention, and I am pretty pissed that it came to this. Unless he is wrapped around a telephone pole, this isn't very professional and I have always tried to be above board about everything because the books deal with children.

    (sighs)

    I do have the tripod site and I will be speaking to my husband after work about what I should do, and what I can do, and I am hoping that I can get this cleared up. In a way, the website wasn't what I had expected. at the very least, I need my name cleared from the whosits that gives my name and address as the owner, if I am not the one owning it, and I really would love to have my domaine name cleared from it, and kept as *my* domain name because had I updated it, it would have become a publishing company for the childrens books.

    I think, in a way, that this was something that was my fault. - Oh, I know I contacted him, but I wasn't aware that the date that I had done this was sept 10th, (until I saw the blog that I made about it last year,) here I was thinking the due date was the 17th. and In a way, that was his bad, that it happened like that. In a way too- I *think* that it can be rescued, but in another way, I have been locked out of the website so I can't make changes and even getting into it was something my computer cried over doing. I am not going to re do with another domaine with him, if it can't be fixed, and this happened, it should be a red flag over what should be done and how I should be able to have contact.

    I don't know what else to do.

    suggestions??

  4. So this all started back in 2001. I was a college student studying Performing Arts and, for a few weeks, Media Studies. In 2000 I'd come up with an email-away series known as The Adventures Of Pastilles Of Fruit Man, which was a little popular. In 2001 I had to write a mock article about a rampaging elephant. I think my headline was "Babar Snaps!!!" At this point I was into MillenniuM and and the seeds were sown...

    From ths assignment I'd been given came the birth of Frank Black vs. Babar. Using the raging elephant assignment and adding my own twist I created abut 50 "episodes". I altered it of course, Babar wasn't a rampaging elephant-he was a criminal mastermind. Following Season 3 of MillenniuM, Frank Black was sought out by Peter Watts to create a profile on Babar. I explained Watts' "death" like this...

    Frank answers the phone...

    Frank: Hello?

    Watts: Frank it's Peter Watts!

    Frank: Oh hey Pete! Long time no see!

    Watts: That's because I'm supposed to be dead Frank! But the group failed and I went into hiding!

    (I would elaborate further on this when I began conceiving MillenniuM GuY)

    I can't remember all of the stories but I can recall a few notable incidents and quotes.

    One story I do remember was President Evil. Babar kidnapped George W Bush and turned him into a zombie!!! Babar had a machine that could bring back dead presidents as they were. Babar would then "zombify" them. Frank brought Catherine back this way but didn't "zombify" her.

    One of the main elements that I used came from the MillenniuM Pilot and is my signature on here: I Want You To Make Believe...That I Can! This would become Frank's second "gift" if you will. Below is the first example, from the FB vs Babar Pilot:

    (Yellow House. Frank is sat in the living room, his face creased, one eyebrow raised. There are flashes of random images and it appears Frank is having a vision but, in his hand is the television remote, he's merely channel surfing! Jordon comes running in crying, blood pouring from a gash in her knee...)

    Jordon: Daddy daddy I fell and hurt my knee and it hurts!!!

    Frank (sitting Jordon on his knee): I want you to make believe...that it doesn't!!!

    (They look at Jordon's knee, which is no longer bleeding...)

    Jordon: Thank you daddy! I made believe and it doesn't hurt anymore!

    I set this in the yellow house because it was a setting I was more familiar with.

    During the course of the series I introduced more characters. As mentioned I brought back Catherine. Her "cathphrase", if you will was "Go Frank." Below is an example of how I took the initial meaning of this statement ("I know you have to save the world and, as much as I want you to stay, I know you can't") and used it just about anywhere I could-

    (Frank goes to the fridge and opens the door. His stoic, unmoving face remains stoic and unmoving, but something's wrong...)

    Catherine: Honey? What's wrong?!

    Frank: Two days ago I bought a dozen eggs!

    (Frank has a vision of numerous horrible things, ending with Catherine baking a cake!)

    Catherine: Me and Jordon were baking!

    Frank: I know honey! I just really fancied an omelette for lunch!

    (Catherine looks at Frank and his stoic, unchanging face before resigning herself to the inevitable...)

    Catherine: Go Frank!

    (Supermarket. Frank walks out with a box of eggs!!!)

    In addition to Catherine and Watts I also brought in a few X-Files characters. Most prominently used were Fox Mulder and Walter Skinner. Mulder was still on the run and had been hiding in space. He shared a flat with Jeremiah Smith, the healing alien dude who could change his form to other people. Only here he could change into literally anything!!!

    (Yellow House. Fank and Watts ait outside to greet Mulder. Mulder arrives...)

    Mulder: Well I'm here, but where's Jeremiah?!

    Frank: I don't know! But that lamppost wasn't here before!!!

    (The lamppost morphs into Jeremiah, who smiles...)

    Jeremiah: Sorry!!! Couldn't help myself!!!

    Mulder even created a profile linking Watts with his XF movie character...

    Frank: Mulder I'd like you to meet Peter Watts.

    Mulder: Yeah we've met!

    (Frank's facial expression doesn't change but he sounds surprised...)

    Frank: Really?!

    Mulder: Yeah he used to work in the FBI, then retired, only to return a few years later using a different name and a slightly different moustache! Isn't that right Darius Michaud?!!!

    Watts: Um...yeah!!! It's true!!!

    Frank (face unchanged): Wow Pete! I'm shocked!!!

    Mulder: But there's tow things I don't understand! How did you survive the bombing?

    Watts: There was a trapdoor that had a chute underneath that carried me to safety! Very Batman-esqe!!! It was triggered when I held my head in my hands!

    Mulder: Why?

    Watts: The group was investigating the syndicate but I was close to being caught so I faked my death!!!

    Frank: I have a question...why Darius?!

    Watts: It...sounded cool!!!

    Assistant Director Walter Skinner also appeared regularly. His character was essentially the same but for one minor change...he was shizophrenic!!! He would often switch back and forth between his two personalities-Skinner and "Mitch Pileggi"!

    The idea for this came from the Masked Magician which Pileggi hosted. Me and my friend found it funny when he'd say "I'm Mitch Pileggi" in his growly Skinner voice!!!

    I also remember an Angel crossover but not much about it...

    That's pretty much all I can remember from Frank Black vs. Babar.

    Oh and Scully refused to believe absolutely everything!!!

    Fast forward to 2006...I had all the MillenniuM boxsets and had become a Family Guy fan. I'd watch both regularly and had an idea to sort of combine the two shows. By that I mean take the characters of MillenniuM and put them into a Family Guy type world. No FG characters appear, I should add.

    I did some concept art, drawing Frank and co in a cartoon style. I also took elements from Frank Black vs. Babar and used them. Again the series featured Peter Watts, with a more detailed Faked death scenario-

    Frank: I thought you were dead Pete?

    Watts: The Group were looking to kill me Frank and I was well aware of it. I made no attempt to run! I sent my family away but stayed home. The Group took their time and eventually I got a little peckish! White Chocolate Cheesecake and Raspberry Coulis was what I wanted! So I got some of that and ate what I thought was my last meal! Unfortunately I spilled the raspberry coulis, knocked the carton to the floor. As I got up to get a cloth I slipped and banged my head! I was knocked out! The assassin must've seen me lying there unconscious with "blood" everywhere and thought somebody had beaten him to it!!! When I came to, a few days later, I saw my obituary in the paper!!!

    Frank: A few DAYS later?!!!

    Watts: Yeah, my floors are solid Frank!!!

    (EDIT: After reading some old notes I've just found I remembered that Watts' syrup accident was actually part of a sex game with his wife!!! Moe details soon...)

    Mulder also appears but not Jeremiah Smith. Mulder's mystery informant is He-Man! The Undertaker appears as well, as does Kane. Frank and Watts form a New MillenniuM Group. Among the members are the Grown Up Mutant Ninja Turtles (TMNT had come out around that time :D)

    That's all I've got so far. If you'd like me to continue with MillenniuM GuY then please let me know. Frank Black vs. Babar would be tough because it's 10 years old and all I can remember is what I've wrote here.

    That's pretty much it. Until next time keep make believing...

  5. Just when everything was going terribly wrong yesterday i looked outside my door and there was a beautiful rainbow over my home and the sunset was gorgeous.

    Yesterday my AC unit went out again in the middle of one of the hottest summers ever, found out from my doctor that i have to see a gynocologist today for some female problems i have been having and my husband keeps reminding me that the laptop he is letting me use is still HIS and not MINE. MY pretty pink laptop is dead and not fixable and right now i cannot afford a new one especially if we have to buy a new AC unit. Ugh! what a day!

    So after the storms we had yesterday i went outside and saw a very beautiful ranibow over top my home and a very pretty sunset and i took some pics of it, i hope you can see them, my phone is not the greatest but it works. :)

    Laura :)

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    Just added a familiar phrase to Stanley Marsh 3's famous (infamous?) Cadillac Ranch.

    Here's the closeup.

    TIWWAcadillac1.jpg

    Here it is in a bit more context.

    TIWWAcadillac2.jpg

    And in full context. This is actually the second car in the row.

    TIWWAcadillac3.jpg

  6. I decided to make another blog which would serve primarily my music video output.

    But I might blog about other things, films, TV series and music.

    I might copy some of the blogs from here and put them on there, like the blog post about my trip to Texas Frightmare Weekend 2010.

    I'm not sure what I'm going to do and I don't know if this one will be that active.

    Time will tell.

    The new blog is over at:

    http://cheersfromiceland.blogspot.com/

    And there you can see my first Millennium music video...

    ...and download it too ;)

    Cheers from Iceland!

    - Jósef

  7. Dexter Season 5 will start September 26, 2010

    Curb Your Enthusiasm Season 7 will be released on DVD June 8, 2010

  8. People know that I like to visit churches and this week I was asked how it feels to encounter a new group of strangers.

    They are not strangers. They are my family who have not met me. My bond with them is stronger than flesh and blood.

    "While he yet talked to the people, behold, his mother and his brethren stood without, desiring to speak with him. Then one said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to speak with thee. But he answered and said unto him that told him, Who is my mother? and who are my brethren? And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother." (Mat 12:46-50)

    We are all united into one Body. It is not just apostates who fall away by not discerning that the Lord's Body is one (1Co 11:29). Even Peter and the Corinthians fell into this carnality (1Co 3:3).

    "But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed. For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision. And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation." (Gal 2:11-13)

    This is the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Week_of_Prayer_for_Christian_Unity

    I pray that it is answered in our hearts. I earnestly beg that you consider the one new man (Eph 2:15) in your prayers.

  9. [bLOG TEST ENTRY]

    Down the lights, a city known

    Of romance high and glory gone

    Those reveal the hid and hide the shown.

    But now the clouds stuff and fill

    The broken heights of Eiffel

    That rose the pride and domed the will.

    And by the shores of darkened eves

    And the noon of fates the sun weaves

    Cried a sound in hearing heaves.

    A sound to depress and harass

    yet to abash and embarrass

    The current stillness of Paris.

    And pale grows the face of Chirac

    And so the nationals of bold Barack

    For loss has come to erode a name

    That donated earth a glorious fame.

    Then fades the dream of Liberte

    And trusted no more is Sarkozy

    Of clues ancient and demode.

    And mad goes yet insane

    The flowing Seine, the silent rain

    Till seas no more, no more main.

    Then fall the labors of Rodin

    Over the tunes of Chopin,

    Combine the thought of Renan.

    And now the thick, turning lean

    Lands and meadows, deserts green

    Of wail heard and doom unseen.

    Then lull the noise, the roads quick

    And so the times of scrambled tick

    Scouring through the city sick.

    But found nowhere, the Louver high

    The artful residence of the sigh

    Gowned in ruins by and by.

    Though remains are the greatest

    Of every modern and every latest,

    The fleeting flaws, the so faintest.

    Then Monks sprang to gather

    every Saint and every Father

    To witness a wound too profound

    Spearing the halo of their bound.

    But whose belief is a moonlight

    To prevent an end of doom tight

    Or flare a sun firm and bright.

    And out of done and coming day

    And of hopeless might and futile may

    Lays a gloom which has yet to lay

    To purr the sound of fore-dying way.

    A way to depress and harass

    Yet to abash and embarrass

    The current stillness of Paris.

  10. Latest Entry

    Something tells me that this month will be better than any of the Decembers since Millennium was cancelled. Already so many wonderful things have happened as we hope for the return of Frank Black, and I can feel it getting better day by day. It feels good to wait for Christmas, and especially the new year. I'm confident. I hope, I believe, I love.

    This picture was taken last weekend at the Turku Cathedral. If you look very closely, you can see two angels standing at the top of the stairs.

    blogentry-1436-1228426505_thumb.jpg

  11. Well, after a lot of struggle, and some finagling, we are now about to start the moving process to the house I have placed a few pictures here of, and that we've talked about remodeling. They dragged this out as long as they could, and almost screwed us out of this place as well. Terry had some trouble with his heart back in September, and has been on temp. disability. They tried to use that as a way of denying us the loan. Our real estate agent pulled some strings, and since the seller is desperate, with TWO mortgages, we will be paying his mortgage as "rent" until Terry gets back to work....which should be any time now. Then, we can finally close on the house.

    I will, regrettably, be offline during the last part of the move, while we try to get net service again.

    In other news, some of you may have seen me mention "Chris" in some posts here on the board. Christopher Stone is a very close friend of mine. We met through MySpace back in June. In July, after a terrible physical assault by Chris' roommate, he came here to live with me and Terry. I brought him here on July 5th, and he's been here ever since. Chris and I are closer than 2 friends could ever be, and he will be making the move with us.

    Below, see 2 pictures of the house, and me and Chris.

    100_2243.jpg

    100_2348.jpg

    100_1817.jpg

  12. Latest Entry

    Wow... I take time off to get some work done and I come back and discover I'm the featured blog... I wonder how that happened *evil grin and hides the bags of cash under her desk*

    I'm not gonna have time to write something now (its 12:10 am my time) but when I get up in the morning, I'll continue where I left off, I promise. And if I break it, Eth can threaten me with no more Neff...

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    Latest Entry

    Hello everybody. I've opened up a brand new web page for fans of author Dean Koontz.

    bannerfans_4d71f5eb.png

    Click the banner to check it out if you're interested in the guy or thinking about maybe reading some of his books.

    See ya'll around,

    --WW

  13. I've been expecting that the American public was going to be led down the garden path with all the assurances being given after the Patriot Act went into use and more electronic surveillance was being done. Everyone kept hearing how the average person WASN'T the target of the surveillance and need not fear that their conversations and e-mails would be "stolen" and potentially passed on to others. Well, now comes the first "official" to take the next step and say that the citizens need to accept a NEW definition of privacy which doesn't presume that the gov't won't listen in or otherwise "steal" your communications. All the rhetoric and assurances from right and left since 911 have been just more big piles of BULL s***...but I expected that. I also expect that if the focus ever shifts off of the "war on terror" and other foreign intanglements, we can expect that some of our home boys might be looked at a little closer since the FBI, Homeland Security, ad nauseum will be looking for suspicious behavior and possible perps to roust.

    Read what's chapped my lower fleshy parts this time:

    Intel Official: Expect Less Privacy

  14. Latest Entry

    And so we come to the series finale, “Resolution”. It’s certainly been a long road since we first began working on “The Begotten”, but the time has come to offer some insight and do a bit of rehashing of the last ever episode of Millennium.

    First comes the teaser, and with this being the last episode, we knew it had to be one of the most epic, large scale and memorable teasers in the history of the show. It was basically the last chance we would ever have to do one of these, so it was an opportunity not to be missed. I had a clear image in my mind for the very first shot we see, a kind of tableaux of the night’s skyline at sunset as a helicopter cruises along to introduce us to Trepkos. There was just something about that picture that seemed to set the tone just right for the final curtain, something that made it feel like a landmark, and I imagine that would have been helped no end by the dramatic underscore. I don’t usually put in any real references to the music in my scripts unless it’s a basic source track – for one thing it’s not done in professional circles, and for another it’s usually rather pointless. But in this case I could just hear it in my mind, and felt that it was important to try and convey that since it added a lot to the idea of setting a tone and atmosphere for the finale. As I wrote it, I listened to a number of existing tracks, such as “Anakin’s Dark Deeds” from Revenge of the Sith, “Jack’s Revenge at the Docks” from 24, and “Trinity Blast” from Carnivale composed by John Williams, Sean Callery and Jeff Biel respectively. I have no doubt that Mark Snow would come up with something similar and equally effective for this.

    We then launch into the voice-over from Trepkos as we see his twisted perspective on the world. The idea of point-of-view and people seeing the world differently was a big theme of the first season and an integral part of the pilot episode, so it was quite fitting to incorporate that to this sequence one more time. Only this time we push it right to the limits of plausible budget and see things to their full extreme – not just individuals and killers and such, but the whole planet and mass chaos, in short a vision of the apocalypse in real terms. This also had to match up with Trepkos’ words, such as the blood flowing through the streets when he mentions “the blood-dimmed tide”, the birds falling down from above with the words “the falcon cannot hear the falconer” and “the indignant desert birds”, and people turning on each other in mass violence as “mere anarchy is loosed upon the world”. You’ll also notice that a lot of the lines in Trepkos’s soliloquy comes from the William Butler Yeats poem “The Second Coming”, which was of course the poem of significance in the pilot episode. I had originally planned to make the dialogue hear all original, but the more I read over the poem and contemplated its lines, the more appropriate it seemed for the circumstances. It was just perfect for the point of the scene and indeed Trepkos’s agenda in general.

    We then round out the teaser with what would be a huge effects shot with Trepkos looking out of the window, his face reflected in the glass while nuclear explosions go off just outside. Of course, it wouldn’t be remotely possible to stand and view those explosions from such close range in real life, but that’s not the point. It’s supposed to be a vision of the apocalypse, a twisted fantasy, not reality. I had this picture in my head as the final shot of the teaser, and like I said it should hopefully come across as one of the biggest and most spectacular of the series, as it should be for the finale.

    Then it’s down to earth somewhat as we head into Act One and open with a quick recap of everything that happened in part one, “Ressurection”. Then it’s the last opening quotation of the series, and it’s one from Emily Dickinson. At first I wracked my brains trying to think of something that spoke of ending and beginnings and just couldn’t quite come up with anything that worked. Then, pretty much out of nowhere, this one came floating back into my head and I just thought it was perfect of the finale and saying goodbye to Frank. It spoke of partings, the idea that we’re parting with Frank and the series, and it also invoked the notions of heaven and hell which have, of course, been a huge part of the show since the beginning. I’m pretty pleased with it, all things considered.

    Then it’s straight back in on where we left off in part one, namely the aftermath of the car bomb that killed Danner but was meant for Locke. It’s a sombre note to start on, but we’re also in the middle of something here. So it’s time for Frank and Peter to get themselves back to D.C., now that they realise that the case in Seattle has been a deliberately-engineered distraction. The whole notion of two parallel stories on opposite sides of the country kind of presented a bit of a challenge in this regard, but it’s largely something that’s shied away from in both scripts. There was the issue of time difference that I just stayed away from in part one, and this time there’s the issue of getting Frank and Peter on a coast-to-coast flight and getting on with the plot without too much of a time delay. At the end of the day though, this isn’t a real-time show, so there comes a point where you just have to do what’s best for the story. No one wants to have a load of scenes of characters twiddling their thumbs waiting for a flight, and I don’t think anyone really cares. I imagine if there was a vote, it would be a landslide in favour of getting on with the story.

    As we get back to the police department, there’s a degree of which we have to play a bit of catch-up, just to remind everyone what’s going on and where we are in terms of the plot. There’s a line that has to be straddled there between easing people back into the story without running away with it, but also not boring people with spending too long going over old news. I chose to put this conversation in Danner’s office, just to add that extra layer of emotion to things with empty chair and such so that there’s something more to it than just the essentials.

    Frank then goes back home, more than anything so we can just touch base with Jordan and Miranda. In all honesty, they don’t have much of a story here in the finale, but you can’t give everyone something of their own in the space of just two episodes, it’s just not possible. Instead, they play more of a supporting role here, so I wanted to keep them involved and give them some scenes to play, but obviously that had to be balanced with keeping the story moving, which they themselves weren’t directly involved with. This was also a chance to, first of all, remind us about the surprise in the pipeline for Jordan and the new family unit, which gets paid off in the very last scene, and second of all to go back to the deceased characters in Frank’s subconscious (with another quick glimpse of the Mitch Albom book, “The Five People You Meet in Heaven” remember, wink wink).

    First to appear out of the five this time is Mike Atkins, following on from his brief scene in “Resurrection”. Much of his dialogue here is actually a bit of a red herring, subtly implying Frank’s mortality. I knew there would be a certain percentage of the audience that would be anticipating Frank’s death by the end of the episode, so I thought I might just play on that a little bit and keep you guessing as to how things might turn out. I can’t help but wonder if that actually fooled anyone or not.

    We then pick up on Trepkos again to remind us exactly what he’s up to, and to show us just what weapons and technology he has at his disposal. This was basically an attempt to show how all the different strands are starting to come together, and that Terepkos is rolling it all into one big package to get the DOD contract. Again, that’s a way of upping the stakes and showing that it’s all or nothing at this point. Then we have the act-out which is back over in Seattle, with Dillon being executed by a mysterious figure in black. I mentioned this in the build-up in “Resurrection”, that Dillon was deliberately captured alive in that episode to play against expectations, and also to allow us to play this scene here which was just a bit more sinister than being conveniently shot by a cop. It also cemented the two story strands together somewhat, as I think everyone can gather than Dillon is executed by an associate of Trepkos here in order to stop him exposing what they did to him and why.

    At the top of Act Two we see Emma again, following on from her appearance in part one. Again she shows us a bit of nostalgia, but also gets us and Frank thinking about Trepkos and who he is. It’s then left to Giebelhouse to interrupt and break the news of Dillon’s death. Giebs perhaps gets a bit of short shrift in this episode when compared to the others, largely because he had more screen time in part one where his side of the story was largely complete. So here he plays a much smaller role, and this scene is in fact the last time we see him. He’s probably the only one that doesn’t get a sentimental final goodbye, but in a way I think that’s no bad thing considering the rest of the episode is fairly overflowing with such things. It doesn’t hurt to have someone have a bit more of a low-key last scene.

    Which brings me to Peter as we open on him in the next scene. He also presented a tricky prospect of how much story and screen time he could get. He has more than Giebs and the aforementioned Jordan and Miranda, but it was still a bit of a challenge to service him as much as he perhaps deserved to be. He’d been around the longest next to Frank, pretty much, and he’s a big part of the show. At the same time though, this is Frank’s story, and there were certain elements of the plot, with the investigation into Trepkos, that just demanded forward momentum and didn’t provide quite enough time to just linger on Peter for the sake of it. Having said that, it’s not as if he’s entirely ignored. I think, on balance, his side of things worked out okay. He had just about enough to keep him involved in things, but even so I was always looking to give him dialogue wherever possible in scenes such as this one at the FBI Analysis Centre in the aftermath of the suicide bombings.

    In examining the debris, this was pretty much the last opportunity to show Frank’s internal viewpoints, of him using his facility, as it were. That’s naturally one of the hallmarks of the series, and as the plot drove things forward I found opportunities to use the stylistic device getting rarer and rarer. So I wanted to make the most of it here, really use if to its maximum degree as Frank inspects the evidence. It’s left to Peter here to really spell out the significance of everything with regard to an apocalypse of our own creation and so forth. Peter has traditionally been given these long speeches, in no small part owing to Terry O’Quinn’s fantastic delivery and articulate voice. This was one of those moments, one final chance for him to shine in the exposition mixed with quasi-religious theology.

    It was at this point that I kind of had to engineer a bit of a contrivance in order to get all the characters to where they needed to be. As I mentioned before, I wanted to keep Peter in the thick of things, and pairing him up with Locke was a chance to capitalise on the conflict between them but also show them moving past it to some degree, while I also wanted Frank to have a bit more time at home with Miranda and Jordan, and of course to see some more of his past faces. So the contrivance was to make Frank a bit tired, to play on his age. I tried to make that a virtue and pass some comment on the fact that Frank is actually getting on quite a bit now, as of course he his. There has to be a point where even Frank is too old to be off chasing down killers and saving the world, so I thought I make that contrivance a virtue as best I could and comment on that, which is helped by another appearance from Cheryl Andrews.

    Peter and Brad then go off in search of evidence, and it’s thanks to some gizmos of parobolic microphones that they get it. I don’t like to do too much techno-talk in the show, and what with the terrorist connection and the bombings there was a risk that this could suddenly morph in 24 at any moment. Part of this was by necessity though, as I knew they needed to get something to set them on their way. They ultimately needed to get their hands on some evidence, or they wouldn’t be able to confront the media about it all as I knew they had to later on. So, it’s a bit of a stretch at this point, perhaps one of the weaker parts of the episode. Again, it was a case of needing to move forward, and if we had taken any more time over this the script would have got dangerously bloated. I also wanted to inject a bit of action to the episode at this point, as I knew it wasn’t enough to just have character’s coming full circles and people talking about the Group and so forth. There needed to be a little energy and excitement to spice things up at this point, and what better than a good old-fashioned car chase? Again, dangerously close to 24 territory, but nevertheless it’s what I think we needed right about now – a bit of spectacle. It’s also a chance to dispose of Cain, the ever-silent right-hand-man of Trepkos. I hope we managed to make him one of those figures of menace that are more effective by staying silent, by just being there, not knowing exactly who he is and what his game is. Sometimes you want carefully crafted characters with complex backstories, and other times you just want an ominous figure. That’s what Cain is. As such, he meets his end here in what would hopefully be a fairly elaborate and cool bit of stunt work as his car plummets off the bridge and into the water. Meat and potatoes action it may be, but as I said, I think that’s what the episode needed at this point to punctuate all the intrigue and nostalgia that was going on.

    That takes us out of Act Two, and when we come back in on Act Three it’s time for one last scene between Frank and Bob Bletcher. He references Mount Baker here, and “the one thing in life that will never change”. Long-term fans will of course tell you that’s an allusion to the first season episode “Lamentation”, where Bob takes Frank on a trek up Mount Baker to see the view and makes that comment on it. That’s also the episode in which Bletch dies, so it’s quite appropriate I think. Again he drops another little hint about Frank’s mortality, which is another way of keeping people guessing as to whether Frank is going to end up dead or alive. That’s also kind of the point of making a bit of a bigger deal than usual of Frank and Jordan saying goodbye.

    Then it’s off to DARPA for the big exposure sequence, where Frank gets a chance to finally dish everything out to the media and the little press-conference. In a way, the idea here was for Frank to be able to blow open all the cloak and dagger stuff about the Group once and for all, to finally be able to get everything out in the open which was a way of being able to brings some sense of closure to things. Making these kinds of revelations to the press was the best way I could see of being able to beat that kind of darkness, to force it into the light and bring and end to things. This requires something of a long speech by Frank, and I was conscious of needing to make that linguistically engaging and dramatic whilst also making the sequence have some energy and be visually exciting. Originally, my take on this was to just keep intercutting with Trepkos’s escape and Brad’s pursuit of him up the stairs. There is a degree to which Frank is giving a quick potted history of the Group’s misdeeds in this sequence, and I wrestled with whether or not to put in any flashbacks right up until the last moment. Part of me felt that this was just a little too expected and standard-fare for series finales, and also that we had kind of done all this with the “previously” sequence at the beginning of “Resurrection”. Then the other part of me said that it would help to keep this visually fresh, to create a sense of pace and interest in something that could otherwise risk trying people’s patience and attention spans. Ultimately, I decided to go with the flashbacks to make this sequence it bit more elaborate and more of a full meal. Then the act-out shows us Trepkos getting away in his chopper, which sets up the final confrontation to come.

    At the top of the fourth and final act, we come down from all that tension and anticipation to the aftermath of Trekos’s escape. Frank, of course, has to face this final battle alone. Again, that requires a slight stretch of the imagination and a contrivance in sending Peter and Brad away to organise back up, but it has to be done to service the story and the thematic needs of the show as a whole. It has to be Frank facing down Trepkos alone, it just has to be. And it’s the Millennium Group Headquarters that provides the crucible for that final confrontation, and again that makes thematic sense given how central the Group has been for a long time.

    Before he can go in though, Frank has a moment with one final face from the past – his late wife Catherine. It wouldn’t be the last episode without Catherine, would it? I deliberately saved her until last, not appearing in part one but as the last figure in part two. At the same time, I don’t think it’s a surprise to anyone to see her turn up, especially given that we’ve nailed our intensions to the mask in terms of deceased character in part one, hence why it wasn’t necessary to leave Megan Gallagher’s name out of the lengthy opening credits as we have done under different circumstances. It was important to give her and Frank their final scenes together, and I wanted to make the most of it in terms of emotion and nostalgia and such, and hopefully it was satisfying in those regards.

    Then it’s on to the endgame. This was quite a challenge, as at any moment something like this can descend into melodrama and sound very much like the bad guy cackling and twirling his moustache while the good guy says he’ll get him. It’s like the final lightsabre battle of every Star Wars film or the big gunfight duel at the end of every western. Yet it has to be grounded and believable for the real world that Millennium exists in. No easy task.

    There are references here to a number of names from history and such here, from the Antichrist and Lucifer to Vlad Tepes, Rasputin, and of course Yaponchik. This is of course familiar to fans from the episode “Marantha”. The idea here though wasn’t to necessarily say that this was another incarnation of the same person. This was very difficult to get across in terms of what we were really getting at here. The idea is more that Trepkos is one of those figures that is very powerful and influential, but not necessarily supernatural. We’ve already kind of wrapped up the Legion arc in “One and Many” with Lucy Butler. That was the side of things that was more about the Devil. But the Antichrist isn’t actually a supernatural being the way the Devil is. It’s more of a human figure that has apocalyptic significance. That’s kind of what Trepkos is. He’s a man, he’s not the Devil or a monster. But the power at his control and his apocalyptic intensions make him into one of those cultural myths that have endured through the ages. That’s the idea here, but it’s one that’s very difficult to put across on paper. Even now I’m not sure I’m making complete sense, so it’s even harder to do in the confines of believable and engaging dialogue whilst also getting on with the story.

    Then there’s the fire element. I wanted to make this as crucial and dramatic a final confrontation as possible, but another reason for the fire was kind of to torpedo the Millennium Group once and for all, to bring that extra level of ending to things. To some extent, the Group has been around for forever and will endure as an idea no matter what, but the idea here was that the infrastructure and reputation of their current incarnation would be so damaged after all this as to effectively make them a non-entity for the foreseeable future. Again, to bring an end to things all the more. I’m not sure that part of it, regarding the big fire, ever truly came across as it should have.

    Then it’s up to Frank to ultimately defeat Trepkos, but again this presented something of a challenge because Frank isn’t an action hero and has gotten pretty old by now, as is Trepkos himself. So you can’t have a massive elaborate fight sequence here, it would just be ridiculous, plus it’s not really the show. But at the same time, there has to be some drama here, not just an easy solution. Fortunately, we had set up this idea of a large glass side to the office that looked down to the street right from the very first episode in which Trepkos was introduced, so we had that bit of slight foreshadowing of sorts on the table, and had stressed it back in the teaser sequence to this episode by featuring it very prominently. So now it made sense for Frank to defeat Trepkos by forcing him out of that window and down to his death. Hopefully that provided a suitably dramatic and exciting ending to this confrontation. The spike at the bottom going through his head was really just another reference to the Antichrist legend, that it was the only vulnerability, but we don’t make a big deal out of that here.

    Frank is still in a bit of trouble at this point though, since the fire has gotten completely out of control and fills the office. I wanted this to be one of those moments where his life truly hangs in the balance, where the audience really isn’t sure which way it’s going to go, whether he survives or dies a heroic death. Ultimately though, it way never my intension to kill Frank in the finale. That didn’t feel right to me. It’s sometimes the first idea people have for a series finale, for the main character to die. I didn’t want to do that though, and it didn’t feel like the right ending for Frank. He deserved to have something of a happy ending really. As bleak as the show has sometimes been, it’s never been totally downbeat like that, and to end with Jordan and Miranda grieving over Frank would be a horrible way to close the book on the series really, for my money.

    So instead we take him right to the edge here as he sees those five faces one more time – Mike, Cheryl, Emma, Bob and Catherine. This is where Peter comes in and has his chance to shine, his chance to contribute to the ending and be something of a hero himself. He’s the one that goes into the building and saves Frank’s life. We don’t see that all on screen because I think there’s much more suspense in putting us in Locke’s shoes and watch the building in flames with hope running out to finally see them emerge at the last minute.

    Then the action is pretty much complete and we go back to Quantico to bookend the two-parter and indeed the season by ending where both of those began. This also gave us a chance to bring Brad’s character arc to its final point and make him an FBI Agent. That’s the first thing we really learned about him, that he was once a student of Frank’s but was washed out of the Academy, so it made a neat kind of sense to bring him around and let him achieve that goal. That’s kind of true to life in way too, that you can get somewhere and achieve something, but it usually doesn’t happen in the way you think it will. SO Brad has ultimately grown and evolved over the season, and now he’s earned his position as an FBI Agent. In some ways it requires a slight stretch of the imagination, that Frank could pull that string for him and secure him a position so quickly, but I think it’s more important to pay-off that character arc in a nice, meaningful way. So it’s a happy ending for Brad, just as it’s a happy ending for Frank.

    We were conscious of that though in plotting exactly how everyone was going to end, and didn’t want there to be an overload of happy endings. There needed to be something to balance that out. Not everyone can go off into the sunshine and wrap things up in a tidy package. So that brought us to Peter. Where was Peter going to end? We weren’t going to kill him off in saving Frank, because for one thing the show has already played that card back in “Goodbye to All That”. Instead, we wanted Peter to go off having not learned the lesson that Frank has spent so long learning, of letting go. Frank gets to that point and so gets happiness, but Peter doesn’t. He’s still hung up on the past and chasing evil, which will ultimately leave him alone. So we draw that parallel between him and Frank, and show them taking different paths. Peter takes the path of obsession and it leaves him isolated, alone, and unhappy. Frank takes the opposite path.

    I also wanted to work in the Polaroid shot as well to reflect the way the pilot ended. That final scene way back showed us Frank receiving the Polaroid in an ominous and terrifying sense, the signal of the stalker still out there. This time though, the Polaroid is a happy one, a shot of the unified family, representing the exact opposite of what the polaroids have been as a symbol of terror over the years. It was important to me to incorporate that just on some small level, especially since the Polaroid flashes have still opened up every act this season and have been an integral signature of the series.

    Then that takes us to the final scene. I knew I wanted this to the final scene for a long time, way before we even started plotting the finale. I wanted it to be an exact mirror of the first time we ever saw Frank and Jordan back in the pilot so as to bookend the series with exact symmetry. Again, I went so far as to incorporate bits of Chris Carter’s original wording in his pilot script, and of course lifted bits of dialogue. Only this time it’s Jordan who’s covering her eyes and being led to the new house. Then those final lines that say that house isn’t yellow, and that “it doesn’t have to be”. That, to me, spoke volumes about the themes of the show over all five seasons and showed how the characters had come around. Frank doesn’t feel the overbearing need to paint away the darkness anymore, he doesn’t have to make-believe. He has happiness, and he has balance. He doesn’t need to fake it with a yellow house. He can have a normal home, a home for his family, and he can be safe and happy because he’s neither chasing evil or running from it like he has been in his past.

    I thought that was a nice final shot to end on, ascending up from the house like the first scene of the first act of the pilot did, and also how the final shot of the main title sequence did for the first two seasons. To me, it felt like the perfect place to end. I can only hope that people reading felt the same way.

    And so that brings us to the end of “Resolution”, the end of the virtual fifth season, and indeed the end of Millennium. All things considered, I’m pretty pleased with the way the year turned out as a whole. It took us a long time to get it on the page and then to the finale, but I think it’s been worth it. It’s certainly not been perfect, there are times when we slipped and fell a little, but overall I think we can all walk away and say we did good work, never descended into “fanfic”, and turned in something with professional sensibilities that was true to the original series. I’d like to thank everyone that worked on the project at every point, you all know who you are, not least of which is Tony Black who came up with this whole idea in the first place and set the ball rolling.

    Of course, I must also thank everyone who took the time to read our episodes, because at the end of the day that’s what it’s all about, and reading the comments and feedback make it all worth while. I hope you’ve enjoyed it.

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    so i've never had a blog before. (be warned - i use that word, 'so' a lot in my writing, especially in an introductory capacity. get used to it.) i'm not sure why i'm starting one now, only something about this time and place and the last 15 minutes (while i was trying to figure out how to make this one) made me want one. and i'm sick of random wants floating around only loosely tethered to my head and reality.

    i wanted a place, albeit a small, online one, where i could "live" without lies. don't worry, and don't get me wrong, i'm not a pathological liar or anything. i don't consider lying a sin, and not even 'wrong'. i've often found that, far from hurting people, lies can make things easier.

    but enough about that. why create a space without lies if only to preach on my little soap box about them? so i promise here and now to myself and whichever stranger acquaintances of mine on this board read this (as no one i know in real life is anywhere near joining this board), no lies.

    so why a MM blog, open, as i said, only to essentially strangers? MM is one of the main forces in my life, second in importance only to probably oxygen. it's not the literal text on screen but the impression it has on me. i've read similar statements from other fans. there are certain episodes i can recite by heart and there are some i've only seen twice. i recently rewatched maybe five episodes and realized there was so much of this beautiful thing i've forgotten. i have dozens of MM stories hovering somewhere between my head and a printed page. as i've probably made abundantly clear, i'm not religious, so that aspect of the show is, for me, part of the translation. but it doesn't dilute the fascination. whatever it is about this program i shudder to think of who i would be without it. and it's strange to think that basically no one i know knows it.

    well, i've got to wrap this up. i'm not really sure of the decorum concerning one's own blog, but i figure i've bored anyone still reading (besides... no, including myself) to tears. i am keeping my name to myself.

    i may sound inane and i may sound insightful, but it is all i.

    - nothing :closed:

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    I am not - NOT! - a soccer fan. But how do you escape the soccer world cup when it takes place right around the corner? The simple answer is: You don't. You can't!

    You can't escape it - not in the media, not in stores and shops, nowhere you go. Even if I had tried to lock myself into my room, close the blinds and the windows - the noise from outside still comes in. I don't need my tv to tell you just when Germany scored - or nearly scored - this afternoon. Alright, the German team won, but the much greater achievement of this world cup is that - for the time being - Germans stopped all the nagging, all the complaining, all the whining we have - rightfully - become known for. And we do have a torn relationship to this country, too, because of our history. It's this whole mentality thing, and there is a lot to it.

    Right now, however, it is tempting to think that this is a different country. People are happy, people are open, people are passionate. It's a huge party. It really is. And I enjoy the thought that this change might not only be temporary, but that some of it sticks.

    Hope you all get to party, too. :swingin::rock2::kickin:

  15. Taught an evening class tonight~3 to 5 year-olds on astronomy...I learned a lot of stuff because you have to bone up on things you're not so knowledgable in , ya know? Did you know stars twinkle because they are so far away, and when their light is traveling thorugh space, cosmic disturbances can shift and refract the light, as well as the stirring of our own atmosphere. This shift is seen as "twinkling" or movement of the light. Planets don't twinkle because they are much bigger and closer in "light" years. Cool s***, dude. We also saw a "shooting star" tonight in the Blue Jay field~I'm sure most of you know that it's really a meteor(piece of rock) that has ignited as it entered our atmosphere. We are seeing it's final stages of life, unless it doesn't combust completely.

    Oh, and the definition of a constellation is a group of stars that have been named way back when people saw "pictures" in their alignment. There are 88 constellations in our night sky. I finally was able to recognize Orion, the hunter as well as the Dog, with Sirrius, the brightest star, in it's collar. Kickass!

    I will be picking up my computer system, complete with a Fugi 4.4 Megapixel Digital camera, tomorrow when I get my lazy ass up. I'm stoked! The only thing I'm stressing about is putting together the computer desk (which is awesome, BTW). Anybody not busy this weekend is more than welcome to come over and pitch in so I don't lose my mind~I will feed and juice you up with beverages of your choice...if you don't mind helping out. Otherwise, don't expect to see me online until I get it all figured out!

    Oh, and I got bored, so I decided to color my hair reddish-blonde. My daughter thinks it looks stupid, but I kind of like it. Oh well, we'll see how it holds up. I have this overwhelming desire to repierce my nose...I had it done about 4 years ago, and wore a small stud in my nose for years. I removed it when I started working for the parks and with young children...I keep waffling as to whether I should just forget about it or go ahead and risk the scorn of some of our more conservative patrons. But damn, I loved that nose stud!

    I also am in the total mood for another tattoo...see what a little bit of money does to you?? Haha~don't worry, all my bills are set to be paid. I just really want to enjoy myself a bit with a little of it.

    I AM going to get Shelby a bike~hers was stolen two Christmases ago, and we haven't had the money to replace it. After we pick up the computer tomorrow, we will look around at Walmart or Target to find a decently priced bike. She'll be happy~she also wants to dye her hair. I'm not too fond of the blue she wants, but I did agree to some red streaks. I don't think I'm overly conservative..it's just that blue is so, I don't know, BLUE. At least for hair. Red seems to be more acceptable to my mind. Hell, she really wants to dye it black...I can feel a wannabe goth coming on...I don't mind that she wants to experiment, it's just funny to watch kids go through these phases of what they consider cool. Is she too young to play? I don't think so...you give them the freedom to play, they will have to the strength to confront other challenges in life. Kinda philosophal, but that's just my thing, I guess.

  16. "A writer wants his work to affect people. You'd prefer the effects not be expressed by death threats, but beggars cannot be choosers."

    — Jose Chung, Millennium: Jose Chung's Doomsday Defense

    Well, I've taken the plunge so to speak. I have signed up for National Novel Writing Month (in the US) and have put my Millennium/Hellraiser story, Lament's Configurations - on hold for the month of November. There doesn't seem to be much interest in it, so I figure no loss for now.

    THE TRUST will be my project, the goal of which is to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days in November. The website for National Novel Writing Month, in case anyone's interested can be located at ...

    http://www.nanowrimo.org/

    To go along with this endeavor I have created a new banner - I think everyone will probably be happy to see a new banner ad in my posts for a change, and this one will be up for the month of November.

    gallery_1248_65_32681.jpg

    In addition I have created a new avatar...

    gallery_1248_65_9729.jpg

    I hope you like it! A review of your opinions on these would be great!

    I guess that's it for now. I'm working on developing a plot, figuring out who my villain is, and developing a support cast. While I won't be posting chapters here as I'm working on it, I may put something up when I'm finished. We'll see how it is first.

    Until then be well.

    Maxx

    THIS IS WHO WE ARE

    gallery_1248_65_2144.jpg

  17. Latest Entry

    Hi! getting the hang of this blog thing!as most of you know (because i have bombarded this lovely board with my attempts) I love to make collages, fan art work, banners etc etc as my hobby. I started doing this when i was about 14 or 15, after seeing some real awe inspiring stuff on a couple of x files fan sites. actualy works of art in my eyes. so i started to play around and it took me a good few months before i created anything remotely acceptable! but i carried on, because however complex (or not) the out come, as any body who has had a go at digital art will know, it is very fullfilling and addictive. this 'skill' has come in handy with my band, as i design the artwork for our CD's and banners etc. up until about 2 days ago i had seen it as just that: a skill i picked up that has only use for the band. but now (thanks to you guys on here!) you have started me off again! be that good or bad, it will sure be interesting. i have been storing MM pics on my hard drive for months now, with the theory 'they wont be online forever, save them while you can' but really its been my subconscious telling me to start doing what i love again. i start with a theme, be it a relationship in a story, a piece of action, an amazing quote or a simple meaningful look. then i work from there to try to visually express my original idea. sometimes they stay right on track.. sometimes they go off into a world of their own.. but thats not always a bad thing!so i just thought i'd share this with you all, and thank you for helping me find my love for digital art again. i am by now means good, but its something i enjoy and am enjoying sharing. i hope more fans begin to share their art too becuase i find it fascinating.below is the first collage i remember making. awww! bless me, aint it cute?

  18. Echelon

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    My trip to Cali. It started out interesting. I took the bus there which wasn't too bad minus the crazy person that kept asking to die. (we pulled over and called the police) But everything was going smoothly till I reached Sacramento. I missed the bus to Oakland. I was stuipd to let an old guy go in front of me. So they ran out of room on the bus. So much for me being nice huh? Anyways. I called Jason to tell him I was going to be late and he was nice enough to come get me in Sacramento! *sniffle* What a nice guy. So I got picked up at like 1:00 pm or something like that. Then we went to a resteraunt to eat. I was hungry but the prices were outrageous! But the veiw from it was nice. It over looked a river I think. So it was really purty =] Then we went to look at some places. It was interesting to see ^^ Finaly around Three we went back to Jason's house. Which is really nice. And umm...well that day is foggy cause I didn't get any sleep. *fast foreward* Then the next day...umm. Don't remember it either...I met Jeramiah one of those days. He's a charecter. Very funny. He does the boom thing. (sound) And he drives like a bat out of hell. I thought I was going to die. Didn't help with Jason yelling. Thanks Jason for that btw. Very nice of you...But Jeramiah is nice even if he needs to learn how to drive under 80 mph. So skipping to the first day we filmed. Getting everything set up was actually faster then what I thought it would be. They're very good at it. I just stood around and watched. Shoni was getting her make up on. Then it happened. Jason was setting up the monitor for the camera to see what the camera saw. And was trying to not knock over a clock that was on the shelf. So Him and jeramiah were arranging stuff and Jason knocked over the shelf. Unfortunitly the shelf landed on poor Jason's foot. =[ And he broke the clock anyways. But he caught the monitor! Go Jason. Save the monitor but not the clock you were trying to save in the first place. Nice one man. I was doing the boom instead of Jeramiah this time...I was horrible at it. I'm on film asking Jason how to do the whole thing...kinda funny heh. You wouldn't believe. I got the mike in the picture. *sniffle* I should of been fired. Its really hard to do though. Shoni did a really wonderful job at acting. And the camera angels were really nice. For about 30 seconds of footage it took about 2 hours to film. Its amazing. But I think its definitly worth it. And we all ate together afterwards. Shoni can really cook a good meal! Then after we ate Jason headed to his computer station(a understatment. Its huge!) and started editing it so we could all see how it looked. (more to come)

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