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May 2003

PhoenixFeathersComments: Previous Month - Next Month

A red and gold chicken n15

So Sha'am is gone to cause whatever mischief in the university, and we've got an imprinted phoenix familiar?  What kind of a loving surrogate mother calls its offspring an overgrown chicken, anyway?  Um.  Can't be imprinting, a phoenix would never see its 'parent'.  Must be magic :)  --Vitenka

Yozhik (second frame): So, is that a red and gold chicken behind you or are you having a really bad hair day?

(Excerpt from 'PhoenixFeathers, The Outtakes' )

Maybe it's getting confused by /Megaera's hair colour and thinks she's a phoenix? :) --Kazuhiko

Lucky Guess n16

Erm... Not sure about the system here, sorry. I'm jumping the gun a little commenting, so whenever someone initiated in the ways of the system gets around to looking at it, can they just refactor appropriately, and delete this? Cheers, TheInquisitor
*sigh*  I thought I'd made it reasonably understandable/maintainable...  Maybe I'll do a template page or something --Kazuhiko
Oh dear, sorry... I assumed there was some semi-automated wizardry at work, and it hadn't gone off yet. Given that it's manual, I can certainly maintain it myself. -- TI
Kazuhiko declares himself to be semi-automated wizardry... :)

So... There's a poser for you. Two questions, really. The big one being "what is a Tiger's Eye Gating?". And the second being "So... Does the process of taking a familiar need something external?" Since the phoenix appears somewhat bonded anyway (notice it mirror her action in the fourth frame). Either that, or it's just a 'no pets'esque rule. I wonder if one can use the Byronesque argument that "it's a mythical beast - the rule only prohibits mundane familiars...". Oh yes, and the obligatory 'Awwwwww....' -- TheInquisitor

I suspect that you wouldn't get away with that trick twice, and not at all if you weren't Byron....  Phoenicies may well already be Empathic, which would make the question of how bonded they are interesting --Senji
Part of the college argument for letting her keep it would probably go along the lines of 'if we do anything to hurt the phoenix we are going to be surrounded by protesters for the rest of eternity...'.  Phoenicies are, after all, an extremely protected species... --Kazuhiko
Oooh, hugs. I sense romance [like it wasn't plainly going to happen anyway...].
Hmm, yes.  Aww, how shweet - isn't that what we're supposed to say? :) --MJ

I forsee much college council silliness along the lines of "This phoenix is actually a college cat."  As for Utena?  I'm not sure it's a moral, but there's certainly a message there.  Several messages really - though the one I think we should focus on is: "These animators and writers are totally insane"  Slightly more seriously the whole dwelling in the past versus grasping for your future thing.  --Vitenka

I think part of Utena's problem is possibly that it has too many messages.  Each of the characters has a... flaw, I guess is the best word.  Each represents something and gives a message about something.  Each segment also has its own 'theme'. --Kazuhiko

Really?  I'd say that the story was the good part of Utena.  The flaws would be the sickening cutesyness (more d*mn roses!) and the repetitive nature of certain segments (oh look, the inner prince.  Again.)  Though much of the duelling is nice.  Whilst I agree that each character has a problem, which leads to their defeat (thus giving, I guess, the message whatever is bad) I'd think the story of the main characters could be taken as an overall message - showing as it does that their focus on the past defeats many of these problems, but striving for the future defeats the whole scenario.  This reading takes every other character as being a psychological fiction of Utena's twisted little mind.  The school is her crucible, and escape her growing into an adult.  Along the way, she defeats the spectres of her past mistakes, her fear of all things adult and sundry other problems (piano music?  Who knows.)  But defeating them piece by piece is ineffective - only be choosing to stop fighting and move on can she, well, move on.  Of course, an alternate reading of the drowning scenes is that she is already dead, and this is a literal purgatory.  Um.  I read lit crits.  Does it show?  Anyway, I have no clue what Anthy, ChuChu and miss cow are supposed to represent, let alone the elephants - so I'll stop.  Aren't you glad :)  RefactorMe? to whatever Utena page is called.  --Vitenka

I thought about Utena when I was writing the wibble, and I couldn't think of a single overriding message (I suppose there are a lot of minor ones to do with the individual characters). I may just have been missing stuff, but when watching all I could feel, sort of, was the story itself. Some things don't need messages. It could be 'cause I've recently been watching NowAndThenHereAndThere, which most definitely has an agenda - SunKitten

Personal Questions n17

A no...  If we end up inside the BlackJewels universe, I'm going to run away... --Kazuhiko
I never claimed PhoenixFeathers was totally original. I've lost track of the ideas and things I've dragged in from elsewhere. But I wasn't going to go down the BDSM route, so don't worry ^^  - SunKitten

I misread the text as Piously the first time round --Emperor

I think we may be able to conclude that the college rule on "No familiars" is just that, and doesn't extend to pets - note the large glass case with what looks like sawdust or similar at the bottom. And is that my imagination, or is that CinnamonTheTrainedSleepingSnake in there? - ChrisHowlett

I think we should run a sweepstake on how many strips it will be before those two officialise their status.  Entry costs one OrangeBowl sized chocolate.  They'll be safe in my hands, honest... --MikeJeggo
Any such sweepstake on the Wiki would have to be kept encrypted, since we know SunKitten can change what's going to happen based on comments on here... and even the Signature Server is probably logged by MoonShadow. Keeping things on the Wiki secret from its sysadmin is generally difficult ;)  --AlexChurchill
I don't log the signature server. Not that anyone'll believe me :) The rest of that stands, though. - MoonShadow
We could - horror - run it somewhere other than the wiki, where I can keep the details safe from SunKitten from the pov of strip editing to get the chocolate :)
Sure.  Doubtless any of the WikiZens? would be willing to donate server...  Hmm.. I see a pattern of problems emerging.  --Vitenka
Since entry costs an OrangeBowl-sized chocolate, and in the absence of any device for transferring this through the Internet, it could be argued that (*draws deeep breath, prepares to mutter heresy*), we could use SnailMail?? --MJ
What?  You mean the work on the CTP still hasn't been completed? - Kazuhiko (ChocolateTransferProtocol?)
Well, chocolate goes into the programmers and is never seen again.  The coders have classified this bug as 'Will not fix'   --Vitenka
A chocolate the size of the OrangeBowl?  Even I would have trouble eating that... - Chocoholic Kazuhiko
*sigh*  I'm not sure whether to bite and explain what I really meant, or merely to copy/paste your comment onto NokkyQuotes/WikiQuoteIndicator... --MJ

Waiting with Caffeine o01

Two things to say:
Three things to say, I have three things to say...

Oh no... NoNoNoNo...  /Sylvai's love interest is one of the committee...  *shudder* - Kazuhiko (jumping to conclusions since 1977)

Personally, I like the comment underneath - "I was discussing injecting Drosophila eggs with my unofficial advisor". Now, either those are very large Drosophila eggs, or a very small unofficial advisor... - ChrisHowlett.

/Rin, caffeine may be a very poor substitute for sleep, but it's better than the alternatives. (Oh, and /Rin looks really cute in frame three...) --Senji

I suppose we also discover that /Rin is acquainted with the /LoveCommittee.  Was there any suggestion during the /SnowBall arc that she knew them?  --AC, who can't take time to reread the whole arc right now, much though he wants to

*Kazuhiko screams in horror and pain...*  Please don't link the LOVE committee to the BAIT page  *shudder* *twitch*
Eeek.  Okay, as of o02 my misunderstanding of the names of the two different committees has been corrected.  Your pain is understandable.  ..  ...Although... did we specifically know who the LOVE committee were until Friday 16th??  How did you know?  --AlexChurchill, suddenly suspicious
*redirects suspish elsewhere*  Hmm, not sure how.  I knew vaguely what the /LoveCommittee was from the comic mentioned below (and hence knew it wasn't the same as the /SnowBallCommittee (which is, of course, entirely unconnected from BAIT :) ))  I guess when Miss /FluffForBrains turned up (she of the many love letters) a number of little things clicked into place :) --Kazuhiko (who promises, on his honour, that he gets no insider info ^^;;;)
MoonShadow didn't get insider info on this one either, astonishingly, but assumes it was inspired by the similar committee in whatever-anime-it-was-that-had-one, where the members even did a little cameo every time the name was mentioned.
FruitsBasket (Wai!) --Kazuhiko

*recovers slightly* /Rin doesn't know them as such, she found them on a newsgroup/webpage/something when looking for references to the /SnowBall committee I believe...  Will try to find the comic later. --Kazuhiko
That would be [Secret Research], I believe - SunKitten

mmm... that makes sense.  I recall the comic, /Rin saw the "Who was that man?" posts.  On the subject of recalling comics - are there any image searchers on the web that do OCR?  If not, can we make one?  --Vitenka

'Our hopes, our dreams' o02

Sorry to distract you by linking to Freefall, but it's good, isn't it? --M-A
Yes. Very more-ish. I'm trying to avoid getting into it at work.. - SunKitten

Erg. Vile vile Yesterday pun. *thwap*

'Just as bad as they are' o03

Hmm, more cute /Rin shots --Senji
How on earth did /Sylvai find out his blood type?

And the big question, of course (ignoring the irrelevancies-to-PF below): who is it who /Rin's "just as bad" about?  Is it Kevin?  Is it in fact the same guy who /Sylvai obsesses over?  Is it even someone human?
I got the impression it was in fact our third Committee member (whoever that may be...) - she was thinking about him, and details of him, with no suggestion of the MED being relevant. Besides, there's the whole 'idiot girl from Shojo manga' line from earlier. -- TI (Oh yes, and "If your enemies are this cute, who needs friends?")
I meant the discussion about HTML anchors down there --v  ^^;;  --AlexChurchill
I know. I was pointedly ignoring it, and discussing the strip. I note with amusement that the PhoenixFeathers/RinFanClub has acquired a motto. Oops. ^_^;; -- TI.

Re: The comments below about mail filters - what on earth are you doing accepting any HTML email at all?  --Vitenka
I don't. Ask MoonShadow :) What's wrong with the last two links at the top of the page, by the way? Is it because the names have quote marks? - SunKitten
Some friends occasionally send HTML email and refuse to be educated. Setting up exceptions for them has always been more trouble than it's worth, although this is beginning to change as the volume of spam I'm getting is increasing. Oh, and no - apostrophes don't get pulled into anchor name tags. - MoonShadow
Apostrophes weren't the problem, but the comma did interfere.  In fact, I'm guessing it cuts off at the first punctuation it hits, but cleverly manages to ignore the initial apostrophe --Kazuhiko
Hm. It's certainly meant to cut off at the first punctuation it hits (so you don't end up with weird evilness inserted into your HTML; consider what could happen if, say colons, brackets and double-quotes got pulled in). Not sure why it's ignoring the initial apostrophe - will take a look. I may have left the ^ off the start of the regexp, which would mean it searches for the first group of valid characters and uses those. - MoonShadow
Don't change it!  That's a much better way of doing it, otherwise you couldn't anchor something like the above... --Kazuhiko
Thanks for fixing the links Kazuhiko. --Senji
Yeah ^^; The whole feature is still quite ugly, really. The main thing that's annoying me currently (and causing problems like SunKitten's) is the fact that ignoring just some of the characters in the heading makes it hard to predict what the anchor tags will be called, and so to link to them. I don't want to just number the headings because that would mean changing links that point to them whenever headings are inserted or removed. What do people think - how much of a problem is it currently? How about if the preview displays the corresponding anchor name below each heading? - MoonShadow
It's not very transparent, but now I know how it works I can remember that.  Doing stuff to the preview might be confusing, but it might also be helpful, I'm not sure. --Senji
That could be quite useful (it would save me reading HTML source code if I need to work it out anyway ^^;;) but it's not a big thing once you know the general rules... Of course, you would be better off getting the opinion of a non-HTML person --Kazuhiko
Sue them.  That's a flagrant hack. --Mjb67
Nah, scratch that.  Prosecute them under the Computer Misuse Act for "unauthorised modification of computer material".  Unfortunately I bet the high tech crime unit won't take you seriously :-( --Mjb67
Who's the "them" here?  The people who send the anti-filtration spam?  (AlexChurchill has also received a number using this trick, and been quite irritated by them)
Yes, I meant the people who send the anti-filtration spam.  ISTM that they know you don't want their mail, and that you have a filter, and they are hacking your filter to get their mail on to your system.  Therefore they are making an unauthorised modification to your system.  Unfortunately to be an offense it has to be with intent to damage.  But you could probably get an injunction or something against them.  You can't do do it through SmallClaims? (which only costs 100-200) unless you could think of something to sue them for, but if you can get the Met's High Tech Crime Unit to prosecute (under Computer Misuse Act) for you then you're laughing. --Mjb67
OTOH if you can get the Met's High Tech Crime Unit to prosecute then you're a better man than I. -- Senji
(PeterTaylor) ISTM no HTML e-mail has any business including comments. Could you just filter anything with a text/html part containing <!--[^-]*--> ?

No broadband p01

I like the sweatdrop on Daedalus when she suggests writing runes on it :-)

I can just see images of a long suffering HouseCat? being held down and scribbled on by my little sister now.  Places without broadband, the horror...  (MagicTheory? is like latin in its teaching practices then?)  --Vitenka

/Megaera is some kind of scary 'Natural' then... -- Senji
Not necessarily - she's just somehow got into Uni without having taken theory lessons.  She's probably taking "Quantitative Methods For Developmental Biomages" alongside her studies, instead of Mathemagic for Natural Philosophers A or B, or whatever.  She must have been bright, and done well with her schooling (home tuition, perhaps), and the Uni let her even though she lacked basic theory.
I thought, from a previous comic, that her course doesn't require much in the way of magic?  Or, at least, doesn't require its students to do much in the way of magic? --Kazuhiko

And, mmm, /Rin desktops... -- Senji
Actually, I'd rather like a PhoenixFeathers desktop theme.  Invocation icons, evil wizards do be beaten into submission - and, of course, pine.  Mmm... [pine for windows] Opera mail has lost my respect recently.  But pine doesn't do fitering.  mmm...

[Does so]. ;) - MoonShadow
Somewhat primitive (though good enough for sorting mailing lists to seperate folders) ... what do I do to merge multiple pop accounts into a single inbox? I'll be going back to wonderful text-only land soon.  Yay me!  --Vitenka
Don't think there's anything specific. If you're bothered enough, you could set up filters to shove all the incoming mail into one place and then more filters to filter it from there. Or you could use folder collections to group your inboxes into a separate namespace from your stored mail. But it'll probably speed things up if you keep them separate so it doesn't try to connect to half-a-dozen servers at once; and it'd mean you could do funky things with roles, like "call me Vitenka when I'm in this inbox, but call me Fox and use this sig when I'm in that one". As an aside, one niggle I do have with Pine is it takes ages to time out if it can't get hold of a mail server when it wants to, and it locks up completely while it's waiting :( - MoonShadow
Mmm.. I could set up a proxy mailserver?  Just I really don't like having to look for new mail in umpteen different places.  --Vitenka (getting really fed up with random ;'s appearing.)

Re the desktops, I've added in [the Me0w image] as one of the 20-30 images from which my Windows desktop gets randomly selected every hour.  I wouldn't mind having some PF images in the list which were actually designed for it, though :)  It'd be cool to have a coloured image of a /Phoenix.  (...And if there happened to be an image starring /Rin prominently, well, so much the better ;) )  --AlexChurchill

Random Error
For some reason, on viewing the previous coupla episodes (try going back three), I noticed, that you get two copies of the last one when pressing the advance arrow - one of
pf01.htm, one of strip.htm (is this a bug, or a feature)?
A feature. I can take it out, if you want - SunKitten

History assignment p02

There seems to be a complete absence of 'Ooh! There's a phoenix on the table!' from those two - which is odd (She took pains to conceal Daedalus previously). See ongoing discussion at PhoenixFeathers/GateRanking, too. -- TI
That was a particularly entertaining typo.  "Deadalus - the Phoenix Zombie..."  --AC
It's a Deadite!  Uhum.  Yes, this seems a bit odd, I guess those two must have been introduced to it off camera.  --Vitenka

I thought that (about the absence of surprise) but then, from the previous comic, /Megaera has had /Daedalus around in lectures and the like for a while so we seem to have skipped that part, which is a bit of a shame. --Kazuhiko
Point. Ah well... -- TI

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