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Mon, 31 Jan 2005 Programming Projects, Part 4

Hmmm. It has been a few days, and I have not had a lot of time at the computer. I did read part of Paul Graham's discussion of continuations, and ran some little demonstrations under PLT Scheme. More on that later.

I have not decided if I'm going to pay for VMWare, or whether I should give QEMU another shot. The Windows/Linux split is kind of a pain; I've wanted to leave the machine in Win2K instead of Linux so that Isaac can try out the contents of the Retro Gamer Magazine CD-ROMs. They've even provided a game construction set, and Isaac has built a little breakout game. I'm happy to see him doing something on the computer, even if it is mostly following a tutorial. So it stays in Win2K for now.

It would also be useful if I could really non-destructively resize and move all my partitions, both FAT, swap, and ext3. I should see if Knoppix has a tool to do that. I don't want to find out after the fact that it has trashed my drive beyond recovery, though. There isn't anything on the PC that is critical or original data and needs to be backed up, but just getting everything installed and configured is time-consuming. I'd hate to have to start over.

Maybe I should keep it in Win2K and set it up to run Linux under VMWare? Doable, but again, probably very time-consuming to set up. With a little more money I'd just put a second PC next to the first with a switch for the display, keyboard, and trackball. This could be useful if I ever pick up a Mac mini.

But anyway, I'm procrastinating. The projects are still on my radar. More later.

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Nitpicking Tolkien

This article started life as a response to a web site called "The Nit Picker's Guide to the Lord of the Rings," by Phil Eskew. That web site contains an exhaustive, obsessive catalog of all the ways in which Peter Jackson's films diverged from Tolkien's books.

This was marginally interesting to read, because I consider myself a Tolkien fan: not one of the ones who read the Lord of the Rings once a year, but one who has read it at least five times, and who taught a mini-course on the books (and, to some extent, the movies, which were then just coming out), at my son's charter school.

I do need to take exception to Phil Eskew's tone, though. Although he includes a disclaimer stating that he did, in fact, enjoy the movies, his comments are carping and irritable. He refers repeatedly to Jackson's four biggest "mistakes," and repeatedly uses the word "muddled" -- as in "Aspect X of Tolkien's story is muddled by Jackson's rearranging of Y." He refers to Jackson's changes as "forgivable" and "unforgivable."

More significantly, and I think of more interest to a reader, is that this nit-picking activity fails to take into account some fundamental facts. (To be fair to Eskew, he didn't set out to take on these topics; I'm just using his writing as a jumping-off point). These fundamental facts are:

These should be non-controversial. To them I'll add one that will probably be a bit more controversial:

To illustrate what I mean by the difference between the art of the novel and the art of the film, let me point out a few of the more laughable "nitpicks" in Eskew's list:

"Gimli says that he killed 42 orcs at Helm's Deep... Jackson has Gimli end his tally at 43."

(this article is in progress...)

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