Peter And Paul Killed the Dragon And He Did It With His Bare Hands

I disagree with how vampires live but I like vampires. At least, I prefer them to werewolves. There are more explicit properties about them that I could find appealing, like immortality, romance, the night, their elegance, fair skin, Victorian associations, etc.

I'm not a huge fan of drinking blood, but the focus on blood as being fundamental to life is nice. Immortality is somewhat nice, but I generally see vampire immortality as a form of "easy" perverted Christian immortality. You should be a good Christian and receive immortality, but those who are greedy, exploitive, afraid seek something more certain and palpable, more Earthly powerful, something you know (Earthly "life") over the afterlife. A perversion in near-enough direct contradiction to the immortality you're supposed to seek. It leaves you addicted to blood, firmly bound and dependent upon the Earth for survival.

By opposing, by rejecting, the Christian immortality, it seems like you generally surrender it for all time. You're isolated into a world where anything Godly is anathema to even your health. Life-fueling sun, the Holy Cross, Real Life (you hide in a coffin during the day, where only your Earthly remains should have remained, not your mind), Holy Water, garlic (Jesus loved that stuff!), and even Truth (the mirror betrays you).

To compensate, vampires make the most out of what they do have. They exercise their power, they seduce, they refine and manicure themselves. They enjoy their lot. And they pull others into the darkness with them. Of course, not all vampires are like this, but the best are. Some become savage animals, mindlessly feeding. A different species to be sure. Sometimes a story will focus on one, the other, or a mixture (as in Buffy).

For those who see the bastardisation of vampirism and its perversion, their greatest salvation is by running full-tilt into the Hands of God. Often, it's not quite enough. He rarely intervenes directly. Perhaps he rescues your soul right then. Perhaps the soul is only damned if you willingly embrace the darkness. I'm not clear on this point.

Anyway, the aspect of vampires that attracts me is the degree of order. It is weaved into their refinement and elegance. Though immortal, they are not invulnerable, and must take care if they wish to survive. They need to be able to feed without drawing attention to themselves. They need rules and security, security from the day and those who would hunt them. They need order. Power helps them. Many vampires either ascend to a powerful place in the larger world or flock to one who has. Participating in a leveraged position among the humans helps them control their situation. Yes, they expose themselves to some suspicion, but less than were they totally removed yet known of. Wealth and power enables their necessarily eccentric lifestyles.

This degree of order is contrasted in the Underworld series of films against werewolves. Vampires can be feral, easily. They lust for blood as a werewolf does. Many times, a vampire is seen to transform a little when angered, hungry, or intimidated. They cease to inhibit their more feral tendencies and exhibit the extent of their ungodly power. However, like many humans, they spend a great deal of time denying their wilder nature and establish a lifestyle of control and responsibility. Werewolves on the other hand, when turned under the light of the full moon, are reckless walking slaughter houses. They feed on whatever they can, they scrap more madly than any natural beast known to man, endangering their own existence and those of the people around them. Vampires apply their intelligence to their survival, while werewolves apply their teeth. Werewolves are free of constraint, it would seem, a freedom dangerous to themselves as much as others. Savages.

But of course, who wants eternal damnation and the curse of the vampire, to never walk again in the light of the sun, to eat garlic, to love without death? So, three cheers to the vampire hunters, the vampire slayers, to those who dedicate their lives to researching and exterminating the vampire menace, to those who resist the seduction of a promise so sweet in short-sighted eyes. Here's to the Van Helsings, Buffys, and Glenn the frogs of the world!

Oh, the title is a line from a song by Josh Ritter

Food's War On The Mind

Once upon a time, I would have seen non-sweet peanut beutter as superior and de factoly enjoyed it. It would have seemed rustic and, more importantly, counter my intuition of what should be popular. I would distinguish between what pure peanut butter really was and what how sweetened peanut butter constituted a fraud. But now, I don't care. I want sweet things. I can no longer resist the call of chocolate. I eat a fruit and I go "I wish I had ice cream on the side."

It seems my experience with food, my reactions to it, are less determined by my philosophy and more by my palette now. Hmm.


Testing. Ah.


Google has web master tools. I'm using them to detect broken links here. There were four that are now fixed.

There's also a new Code Poem up:DJ Aqua. It's a plugin for Rhythmbox that uses Speech Dispatcher to speak aloud a track's name and title at its start and its end. 0.1 release.

It still has some issues and isn't the best packaged. But ah well. There's other stuff to do, too.


Lack of Updates

There is no lack of updates. This is not a "Lack of updates" post. You only post those to audiences. You don't post them to yourself and two friends. "Lack of updates" posts are obliged to claim that there was a special reason for the interruption but that All Good Things Do Not End and things will resume shortly. Then after another half-hearted month, they die. The guilt filling the posters' souls from lying like a parent about dogs' heaven (dogs don't go there, only old dead conservative people do) paralyses them. The wrath liars caught in the act face (and isn't it always severe and spectacular?) ensures that All Good Things Turn Bad And Whimper.

I have microwaveable cake mix. It's a delightful theory. Experimental trials will be conducted this evening.


Migratory Season

Hello. I've migrated across the world to New Zealand in the last month. I've seen quite a few sites and sights.

I'm now well situated and will hopefully resume employment shortly. Unemployment is nice in that I finally have time to accomplish the myriad goals that accumulate throughout my days. It's bad in that money only goes out and it has a finite supply.

For instance, I now have a workable version of Icarus, a command-line PicasaWeb uploader that I used to upload photos quickly from Nautilus (using Nautilus actions). It's been an important exercise in programming in Vala. I really hope that its bindings get well documented at some point.

I also have improved the oft rewritten GenderGuesser. The current incarnation is written in C with GLib and GTK+. It now also makes good use of GIO and LibXML. I originally disliked the LibXML API. At least, the help files that ship with it are a mess and not easy to follow. I suppose Vala and LibXML both make me miss the wonderful documentation the Java API has.

I've been walking up quite a few hills out here with my girlfriend. There's lots of good exercise to be had. I've also found an ideal electronics store nearby. I was afraid one didn't exist. I'm trying to make a better effort at letting technology make me more, rather than less, productive. I've reorganised my Google Reading habits. I've also removed from the list one of the most prolific feeds: TreeHugger. Its propaganda quotient was also getting a bit high. Slashdot's sensationalist rating is as high as ever, but I'm a pretty good filter, and I'm not aware of an adequate substitute for my needs.

I'm also using an application called Almanah Diary on GNOME for logging my thoughts and activities. I do too much to post it all here on my public blog. I also like keeping data local.

I've been paying Google for additional web space in PicasaWeb for a while now. However, I hadn't gotten around to uploading much because

  • there isn't an uploading solution that I'm aware of that fits my needs (surprisingly)
  • there isn't per image privacy settings
Icarus solves the first problem, but the second requires Google. Often, I will have a set of photos, and 90% of them I feel comfortable making public. Sadly, it's all or nothing with PicasaWeb it seems. Temporary solutions that I've explored include:
  • Making two separate albums, one with both the public and private photos, which I keep private, and a second with just the public photos, which I make public. This sucks, because I end up duplicating that 90% of public photos.
  • Make two separate albums, one with just the private photos and one with just the public photos. This sucks, because then the private photos are out of context from the public ones.
That reminds me, sometimes context can be difficult to retain because I've had issues trying to sort by both name and date, where date didn't seem to use the EXIF date but rather the files modified date, or something weird. The names were an issue because they weren't named in any particular order.

I like PicasaWeb so much, but there are all these "small" things that prevent me from really embracing it. At least it's much more compatible with my needs than, say, Flickr or facebook.

For now, Cthulhu Arborus:


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