Doctor Frog's Pontification Pad

things to do, people to avoid.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Old Age Fear Post 1

Twenty-nine and on the plus.

You know you're getting old when your farts begin to sound exactly like your dad's.

Scatalogical bonus!


Tuesday, April 10, 2007


So it's years later, the stock market is doing things that have nothing to do with my success or failure, and I now live in a forgettable town called Fairfield.

I shall start blogging again.

I have no internet access.

But there is a library!

I will blog from the library. Also known as the computer place where kids play runescape and adults watch youtube. And rent DVDs.

Monday, March 06, 2006


so i was sitting there listening to some music, thinking many times, "now this is a good song to drink to," when i suddenly realized that it's pretty much all good to drink to, in general.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

The Arx Diary: Day 2

Arx Fatalis: The Arx Diary

An excerpt from my first attempt at this immersive, atmospheric game.

(day one has not been written)

day 2: visited a human outpost, in the mouth of a huge cave, on the border of the goblin domain. i was shocked to find at the entrance, two dead men, men like myself, only clad in what appeared to be uniforms, covered in a tough chainmail. The doors to the outpost were flung open, and a badly wounded man, barely holding onto life, had only one message for me: go upstairs and see his commander. As I searched for the commander, I found no living soul, only more dead soldiers, or their body parts scattered about, and everywhere, the splatters of blood — fresh, not like the caked-on blood on the walls of the goblin prison.

The commander was in little better shape than his underling, with an apparent wound to the chest. He told me of an attack by beings called Ylsides, warriors who could move at high speed and with strange armor, and that they were responsible for the slaughter that I beheld.

He thought I was a mercenary sent to help. I suppose I might have looked it, with this leather armor, and the buckler that I found. But all I want to do is figure out who I am and get out of here… that is, if I’m not supposed to be here.

But he insisted that I help, that my mission was of utmost importance. The king of these humans must be warned that the Ylsides have committed an act of war. He would not accept no for an answer. He gave me a gemstone license, to pass myself off as a merchant, so I could travel freely through the goblin realm. It’s a rather plain piece of paper, and I hope it convinces the goblin lord at the gated entrance to the prison area to let me through. After scouting the area for supplies, and leaving the man, who is apparently the captain of the king’s guard, some wine, bread, and fish, I went off.

On my way out, I noticed a man impaled directly into the stone wall of the fortress. The message of disdain and violence was quite clear. I also noticed a small vegetable garden, lit by a strange looking gemstone in a sconce. Some sort of magical growth device, perhaps?

Before leaving, I scouted the area for supplies, finding a few gold coins, which I took, and a mortar and pestle. These latter objects strike me as being particularly useful. I also noticed some objects on a natural stone shelf some distance away, far out of reach, a few chests, locked beyond my meager ability to open, and an artificial section of wall with no apparent means of opening it, on the second floor of the outpost.

The captain had mentioned a tavern of useless folk nearby. I found it down a corridor, past large locked metal doors. I tossed a scrap of fish to a dog, milling about outside, and went in.

From deep within the walls I heard a strange music, of some sort of wind instruments and the hollow pinging of wooden blocks. The barmaid was friendly enough, but refused to serve me, as she was cleaning the tavern dishes. Apparently, she runs the place alone. She said she thought I was a member of this Traveller’s Guild my fellow prisoner claims to belong to. A barfly was tossing back a mug of ale, but he was generally as useless as the captain had said, knowing only a few vague rumors about goblins and Ylsides. Polsius, on the other hand, was more helpful. Yes, the goblin was sitting nearby, not yet drunk. He told me what I had already learned from the goblin captain’s note: that the human priest of a god named Akbaa was purchasing humans from the goblins for the purpose of sacrifice! To his credit, Polsius seemed to be somewhat disgusted with the practice, although he seemed more afraid of the growing power of whatever cult follows this Akbaa, perhaps a fear of the growing power of the god itself. I left him there to enjoy his drink, and his freedom.

The upper floor of the tavern housed another drunk, who muttered of a missing friend, or enemy (perhaps a victim of Akbaa?), a seedy gambling wheel where I lost some coin, and a self-assured, well-weathered man sipping from a bottle of wine. He also mistook me for a member of the Traveller’s Guild, and upon informing him that I had no memory (something he seemed surprised that I would be so foolish to disclose so easily), he told me about the cold world above ground, and the necessity for tough, well-trained men to travel between cities, bringing news, and who knows what else. I thanked him for the information, and moved on, back toward the goblins’ realm.

Monday, June 27, 2005

An excellent name: Patrick Kilpatrick. It’s like being born with instructions.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

“As the Americans learned so painfully in Earth’s final century, free flow of information is the only safeguard against tyranny. The once-chained people whose leaders at last loose their grip on information flow will soon burst with freedom and vitality, but the free nation gradually constricting its grip on public discourse has begun its rapid slide into despotism. Beware of he who would deny you access to information, for in his heart he dreams himself your master.”

Commissioner Pravin Lal, “Librarian’s Preface”

(a fictional character of ~2100 AD from Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri, 1998)

Friday, April 15, 2005

Wanted: Folder Art Collector Software (Free, of course)

I wasted some time late last week picking custom icons for some folders on my Windows XP box:

Custom Icons

Avoiding actual work, I headed over to my games folder and started doing the same:

Icons that can be automatically selected

And I noticed something. Mostly, to pick an icon, you go to the only .exe in the folder, or the only .exe with an embedded icon, or the only .ico in the folder, and select it as your folder icon. It is a repeated, mechanical process, something that can be handled with a fairly simple program.

Such a program can be sent to crawl among a top-layer collection of folders, crib the most likely icons to be used for the folders, and present them to the user for approval, similar to Album Cover Art Downloader. If no appropriate icons are found, the program can offer a standard selection of icons from a specified .icl or folder full of icons (I'm partial to foood's delicious icons, as shown above).

All of the icons in the second image above exist in their respective folders, and are, in most cases, the only icons in the folder. They'd be ideal for this program, since they can be automatically assigned. If there are other icons in the folders, the program can just pick one and present it, along with alternate icons, for approaval, similar to Album Cover Art Downloader. I keep a bunch of general-purpose icons in a folder, and Windows of course has its Shell32.dll. If no icons are found to autopimp the folder (
hey, hey! great software name!), these resources can be presented to the user to hand-pick an icon.

The following logic can be applied to automatically pick the 'correct' icon:
  1. If there is only one icon available (.ico, .icl, .exe), use it. Otherwise:
  2. Use the icon with the highest resolution, most colors, etc. (This avoids picking an icon from a .exe that isn't the main program in the folder, since icons designed to represent a program usually contain multiple resolution and color depth versions, and 'helper'programs are often given a more generic icon.)
Does something like this exist? And, am I the only one who thinks it should?