Javascript countdown timer

Nothing too fancy here, but potentially useful to people. The other day a forum I maintain needed a way for users to add a countdown timer to their posts, so I wrote this bit of Javascript and added it as a new BBCode. Feel free to use it and share it.

The help text

[countdown]year, month, day, hour, min, sec[/countdown]

The date/time must be specified in UTC (GMT). sec is optional.

The BBCode

[countdown]{SIMPLETEXT}[/countdown]

The replacement text

<script type="text/javascript">
(function() {
    var end_time = new Date( Date.UTC( {SIMPLETEXT} ) );
    var countdown_element;

    var els = document.getElementsByClassName("countdown_timer");
    for (var i=0, max=els.length; i < max; i++) {
        if ( ! /has_timer/.test(els[i].className) ) {
            countdown_element = els[i];
            countdown_element.className += " has_timer";
            break;
        }
    }

    var update = function() {
        var now = new Date();
        if (now.getTime() < end_time.getTime()) {
            var time_left = end_time.getTime() – now.getTime();
            time_left = Math.floor(time_left / 1000);

            var secs = time_left % 60;
            time_left = Math.floor(time_left / 60);

            var mins = time_left % 60;
            time_left = Math.floor(time_left / 60);

            var hours = time_left;

            var time_string = "";
            if (hours < 10) {
                time_string += "0";
            }
            time_string += hours + ":";
            if (mins < 10) {
                time_string += "0";
            }
            time_string += mins + ":";
            if (secs < 10) {
                time_string += "0";
            }
            time_string += secs;

            countdown_element.innerHTML = time_string;
        } else {
            countdown_element.innerHTML = "time expired";
        }
    }
    setInterval(update, 1000);
}
)();
</script>

First photo in years

I really don’t like having my photo taken – I don’t generally come out looking well.  But I haven’t had my photo taken in years, so I really had nothing recent, and tonight I rectified this.  After many frames, I finally got an image that I’m not utterly ashamed of, so here it is!  The first photo of myself in many years.

IMG_2464-border

 

Enro

This is a work-up of the religion inspired by Sora Yamauchi.  It is not official, of course, but I wanted to create this as background material for other stories.


UEE ADVOCACY INTELLIGENCE BACKGROUND REPORT

PUBLICATION: UNCLASSIFIED, LEO ONLY

TITLE: CULTS IN THE EMPIRE: ENRO

SUMMARY

  • Name: Enro (遠路 Japanese: “Long Road”)
  • Founder: Benjamin Meitner (Terra)
  • Planet of origin: Terra
  • Central figures: Sora Yamauchi (Saisei); B.Meitner
  • Sacred books: The Log of the Lorinand; The Book of Inifinite Eyes (The Life and Teachings of Sora Yamauchi)
  • Core teachings: Enlightenment achieved through solitary meditation during space flight.  Sanctity of jump points.
  • Number of adherants: est 7 million
  • Activity level: low
  • Threat status: moderate

HISTORY

Born during the political upheavals of the end of the Messer era, Enro is a small but growing religion based on the writings of late 28th century star pilot Sora Yamuchi, published in two primary texts:

  • The Log of the Lorinand – A short work  consisting of the final weeks worth of log entries of Yamuchi’s light freighter Lorinand.
  • The Book of Inifinite Eyes (The Life and Teachings of Sora Yamauchi) – A large work consisting of the supposed personal diary of Yamauchi, along with extensive commentary and additional material by Benjamin Meitner and a few other early Enro founders.

Yamauchi was a freighter pilot from Saisei who eventually worked her way to Terra and established a small but profitable business running light cargo.  She was born the only child of two factory workers and apparently had an unremarkable life, though it is known that she experienced unusual dreams and had an interest in philosophy.  Her ship disappeared in late 2783 while making a routine jump out of the Terra system, but she ejected a log buoy right before the jump.

The logs were recovered almost immediately, but lay unnoticed in the files of the UEE Starflight Safety Administration for several years before being examined by an inspector, Benjamin Meitner, cleaning up and closing old unresolved reports.  Meitner’s personnel files show that he was considered strange by his co-workers, and that he had a large interest in occult subjects and was fascinated by stories of ships disappearing under unusal circumstances.  After reading the logs he became obsessed with learning more about Yamauchi and tracked down her widowed mother, still alive at the time.  He began telling people that he, like Yamauchi, had visions of angels, and claimed that they told him to follow her to the stars.  His increasingly erratic behavior cost him his job, but he also attracted a small following of devotees who were drawn to his teachings.  Meitner is the founder of Enro and his books form the core teaching of the faith, while Sora Yamauchi herself is held up as a kind of saint and holy figure.

Since it’s founding, Enro has spread mostly by word of mouth, and usually among pilots and traders, with small groups of followers meeting in homes, ships, and starport rental halls throughout the Empire.

TEACHINGS

Enro teaches that jump points are actually gateways to Heaven, or the “divine realm” as they call it.  For an Enrosha (the term for a follower of Enro, though “Enroist” and “Enrist” are often used by people outside the faith), traveling through interspace is a religious experience and they sometimes book passenger ships simply to fly back and forth between systems many times in a row – as many as the crew and jump station authorities will put up with.  They claim that the temporal and spatial distortions of interspace are the result of the human mind failing to comprehend the true nature of the divine reality, but that through meditation and devotion, one can achieve a spiritual worthiness that would allow one to see interspace as it truly is.

They teach that Sora Yamauchi was a spiritually perfect human, who achieved grace and was allowed entrance into heaven while still alive when she flew through the Terra to Goss jump point. This particular jump point holds a special place in their teachings, and they call it the Gate of Dreaming.  Enroshas study Yamauchi’s life and seek to emulate her, many of them becoming pilots themselves.  But in fact, there is little reliable information about her.  She never married and had no siblings or children, and her parents died of old age in the ten years after her disappeaance.  She did leave behind a diary and dream journal in which she talks about her own beliefs and philosophy of life and these form the core of The Book of Inifinite Eyes, but the authenticity of the diary has been questioned by scholars as it was found more than 20 years after her disappearance.

The general teachings of the religion include an emphasis on solitary meditation and experience of the Universe, with a special emphasis on the stars as an important way to connect with the divine. Stars are seen as the literal eyes of God. (Or Goddess, or of many gods depending on the individual Enrosha.  The original writings of Yamauchi use the Japanese word 神 (kami) which has been translated differently by different Enro scholars, and there is no official dogma on the gender of the divinity.) Enroshas are encouraged to learn to pilot a ship so that they can take a kind of pilgrmmage called the “Journey in Darkness” – a solo flight into deep space for contemplation, reflection and self-discovery.  A key part of the Journey in Darkness is the passage through interspace during a jump, which is considered sacred.  Of course, there are many Enroshas who are not pilots, so in practice they often undergo the Journey with the help of another Enrosha who has a ship, and the Heaven’s Door Foundation (see below) helps to arrange these trips.  The Foundation also owns two small asteroids in Goss where they maintain a retreat that is a popular destination for pilgrims undertaking the Journey.

ORGANIZATION

The Enro community is small and has little central organization.  The closest there is to an overall leadership is the Heaven’s Door Foundation, on Terra, the direct descendant of Meitner’s original group.  The Foundation publishes books and pamphlets, and organizes group flights for the religion’s followers to experience interspace passages together, as well as maintaining the previously mentioned retreats in Goss, but it does not provide any coordination of other activities, and its finances are very limited.  In general, Enroshas either practice their religion alone, or in small informal groups, often consisting only of family members and close friends.

THE CHURCH OF THE INFINITE EYES

There is an underground splinter faction, however, called The Church of the Infinite Eyes, and this group has proven dangerous.  Founded sometime in the mid 2890′s, the Infinite Eyes group claims that jump point travel by non-Enroshas is a sin and that only spiritually cleansed people should be allowed to pass through interspace.  They claim that a non-Enrosha using a jump point is an act of sacrilege which defiles the divine realm and this group has on several occasions engaged in terrorist attacks on customs stations. The last such attack was in 2936 in Nemo, after which several of its members were captured and sent to prison.  The group has been quiet since then, but it is not known if they have abandonded violence or are merely rebuilding and planning new attacks.

DEMOGRAPHICS

Enro is not practiced by large numbers of people, but it does seem to attract an unusal number of independent starship pilots, especially explorers, prospectors, and cargo haulers in more remote regions.  The Enro philosophy seems to have some sort of special appeal for people who spend lots of time flying alone in deep space, which is not terribly surprising given the religions origin.

POLICY RECOMMENDATIONS

While the majority of Enrosha are peaceful and present no danger, the possibility of radicalization into the Infinite Eyes cult means that UEE personnel and employees with Enro ties should undergo extra scrutiny during background checks and security screenings.  In particular:

  • Due to the possibility of unknown ties to the Infintie Eyes faction, Enro adherants should be prohibited from working any position at jump point customs stations.
  • Enro law enforcement and military personnel should undergo semi-annual security screenings to detect radicalization before it becomes a problem.

 

The Infinite Eyes of the Gods

[A small bit of fan fiction for the Star Citizen universe, inspired by a forum thread discussing religions in the far future, and how they might spring into existence.]

When you’re on a slow burn heading out to a jump point, turn off the lights in your ship.  Turn down the display panels and indicator lights too, and let yourself sit in the dark.  Watch the stars.  Did you ever wonder what they are?  I don’t mean giant balls of plasma – that’s the easy answer.  What are they really?  Why are they there?  Why, when you are sitting in the great Silence and Dark of deep space do the stars seem to look at you and stare through you right into your soul, stripping away all pretense of skill and mastery of the world that we humans so blithely ascribe to ourselves?

The stars are like the eyes of billions of gods, all looking at you, daring you to seek them out and join them and yet also judging you for having the hubris to try.  Yet we must try.  The stars call to us and we must heed their siren song, for it stirs the depths of our beings and awakens unquiet visions that pervade our waking thoughts and fill our dreams at night with images of things just out of reach of literate description.

And the dreams!  The dreams one has, while floating in the deep.  Turn off the gravity while you sleep sometime.  Turn it off, turn off the lights, and net yourself up next to a porthole so that you sleep under the watchful stars.  The dreams I’ve had when doing that are like nothing I’ve ever experienced before – time warping and bending while light dances over my body in shimmering waves that resonate with the slow pulsing of the rhythms of the galaxy as it wheels away in the terrible, beautiful void of space.  Sometimes, while piloting through Interspace, it feels just like these dreams.  You seem to be going forward and backward at the same time, and you can never quite tell what is happening right now, what has happened already, and what is going to happen in a moment – in Interspace time and position seem not to obey the normal rules, but they do seem to obey the same laws that govern us when we dream. Is Interspace where we go when we sleep?  Do our dreams actually carry us to other worlds in fact, rather than simply in thought?

I’ve seen things in Interspace.  Things that frighten me and draw me to them at the same time.  Ever since I was a child, I’ve had dreams of an “angel” as I called her – a winged being of light is how I’ve normally described it to anyone who would listen, but that is a very paltry description and until I grew up I gave it no importance.  Three years ago while jumping out from Terra on a cargo run, I experienced a star pilot’s nightmare: my nav computer failed right as I entered the jump point and I had to grab manual control again to pilot my way through by hand.  I’d never done that before and I was terrified.  I could see things – rocks?  asteroids caught in Interspace?  some exotic matter of some sort? – whatever they were I was trying to dodge them desperately and make it through to the other side.  But the distortions in space and time made it hard to do.  There was a large object in front of me, and as I tried to go around it, it seemed to turn in ways that I just can’t describe.  It stayed in front of me, and I could also see it behind my ship as I was flying away from it, and it was also coming at me from above and to the right – nothing made sense and I panicked and let go of the controls, my ship spinning out of control.  Just as I was about to crash, time seemed to suddenly flow … sideways?  I could see myself cowering with my arms up.  I could also see myself a moment ago still with my hands on the controls.

And I also saw my angel.

I’m sure it was the same being that I’ve dreamt of for so long, she radiated such a feeling of familiarity.  But also coldness. She seemed to coalesce around the obstacle about to destroy me and she opened up her wings wide, covering the whole thing.  When the ship reached her it felt like time suddenly froze completely in the chill of her being, and in that utter timelessness I knew and experienced the entire jump point passage at once as if I were in all places simultaneously.  And then that eternal now ended and I was on the other side of the obstacle, my ship racing away from it, my hands once more firmly on the controls.  I came out into normal space again shaken and unsure of what had happened. I immediately put into port, of course, and had my systems inspected and repaired. Naturally, the ship’s logs recorded none of what I experienced: the flight recorder shows that I was fully in control throughout the transit with no obstacle and no angel.  But I can’t believe that.  Every since that day I have only flown that jump point by hand, never using the autopilot, and each time through it’s as if I know exactly where everything is, was, and will be.

I know, now, that the angel of my dreams is real, and that Interspace and the land of dreams are one and the same.  The stars are the eyes of my cosmic angel, and she watches us with a cold light all of the time, but it is not an unkind coldness.  It is the coolness of distance and separation both unwanted and unwelcome.  Her arms are spread in welcome. Her eyes call to us and beckon us to find her and join with her.

She is waiting.

And I am coming.

Sora Yamauchi

Dec. 30, 2783

Last log entry of the captain of the freighter Lorinand, recovered from a log buoy ejected just before the ship activated a jump point leaving Terra. The ship never emerged from interspace and was presumed destroyed.

Balmora Apartment


The Elder Scrolls III
Morrowind:
Balmora Apartment v1.2

By Eris Caffee (Moriel) <moriel@eldalin.com>
Official Site: http://eldalin.com


Download: Moriel_Balmora_Apartment_1_2

Screenshots

     


What it does?

This adds a small apartment above Caius Cosades’ place in Balmora which you can rent on a monthly basis. To get started, read the notice on the door.The apartment features:

  • Good storage. There are only regular containers, but unlike the containers in most in game locations, these will not mark your items as stolen.
  • Realistic lighting. I prefer realistic lighting, so the interior is intentionally fairly dim, lit only by a flickering chandelier. To lighten things up, you can add candles and lanterns that you find or purchase.
  • Reasonable rent. At 150 septims per month, it’s cheaper than staying at an inn by far. (You might even get a discount as a professional courtesy, depending on your faction memberships.)
  • A small working oven if you have Necessities of Morrowind installed.
  • Rats.  It is, after all in a rather run down part of town and you live upstairs from a skooma adict.  Every now and then, you’ll have a rat show up in your apartment, but this is not necessarily a bad thing.  I mean, you could just kill the rats, of course, but an animal lover should be able to find a happier solution. You could try talking to it, for example. See the SPOILERS file for details if you need help.

Why this mod?

For a long time I used the very similar Apartment mod by Grumpy and was very happy with it. Recently, though, I finally upgraded from my creaky 32 bit Windows XP to 64 bit Windows 7 and was able to take advantage of all my RAM for a  change, so I loaded up a new game with lots of mods, including some big graphics overhauls. Suddenly, the apartment stood out like a sore thumb and looked really out of place: it didn’t use the new textures. It turns out that there is no building in the construction set that was quite the right shape, and Grumpy’s solution involved a custom model with it’s own custom texture that doesn’t get modified by graphics replacers.

At first I thought I could just update Grumpy’s mod for my game, but then I realized that it really lacked a few things that I wanted, and this was the perfect opportunity to make my own mod. So I did, adding the monthly rental requirement,
changing the lighting to be more subdued, adding storage, and making it NOM compatible. I hope the result is pleasing and useful to others.


Installation

If you are upgrading from a previous version you should be able to just install the mod normally.  It should not invalidate your saved games.

Recommended procedure:

  • Use Nexus Mod Manager (NMM) to install the mod. This will give you the Necessities of Morrowind (NOM) enabled version.
  • Ensure that NOM (if you are using it) is loaded after this mod. To do this you can use the large green up and down arrows on the left side of the Plugins tab in NMM to either move this mod up or move NOM down.

Manual installation (NOM version):

  • Open up the zip file and copy the contents to your Morrowind installation folder. If prompted to overwrite files, say “yes”.
  • Activate “Moriel_Balmora_Apartment.esp” from the Morrowind Launcher.
  • Ensure that NOM (if you are using it) is loaded after this mod.  I have set the file date on my mod to be from 2003, so you are probably OK.
    If you have to change the file modification date, I recommend using Wrye Mash, which lets you easily change the date of an ESP file among its many other functions useful to managing your game.  You can get it here: http://wryemusings.com/Wrye%20Mash.html

Manual installation (no-NOM version):

  • Open up the zip file and copy just this one file into your Morrowind/Data File folder: Data Files/Extra/Moriel_Balmora_Apartment_no_NOM.esp
  • Activate “Moriel_Balmora_Apartment_no_NOM.esp” from the Morrowind Launcher.

Requirements

The NOM version (the default) requires Tribunal and Bloodmoon to be installed. It should, however, work fine without NOM installed. (Without NOM you will see the NOM foods, ingredients, and a few special items, but they will only be decorative, not functional).

The no-NOM version requires Tribunal, but not Bloodmoon. This version is slightly different than the default version in that there is no oven inside the apartment.


Compatability & Conflicts

Obviously, this mod conflicts with Grumpy’s Apartment. It will also conflict with anything else that modifies the space above Caius Cosades’ place. The new interior cell is called “Balmora, Apartment For Rent”.


Credits

The late Grumpy, of course, gets the credit for the work that inspired me! You can see all of his mods at Emma’s Edler Scrolls Site: http://lovkullen.net/Emma/grumpy.htm

NOM compatibility provided by the excellent work of Taddeus and Nymeria. You can find more information about it at Wrye Musings: http://wryemusings.com

NOM is available for download from Planet Elder Scrolls: http://planetelderscrolls.gamespy.com/View.php?view=Mods.Detail&id=8707


Version History

2013/12/01 Version 1.2 Fixed bad addtopic call in script MorielScBalmoraAptNotice.

2013/11/23 Version 1.1 Added rats in apartment.  Identified to other mods in game by MorielGBalApt = 2

2013/11/02 Version 1.0 First public release.


Legal

For questions about this mod, please contact moriel@eldalin.com

Mod contents copyright 2013 by Eris Caffee (moriel@eldalin.com), except for portions copied by permission from Necessities of Morrowind which are copyrighted by their authors, and except for portions copyrighted by Bethesda Softworks.

Permission is granted to all to freely distribute and use this mod for non-comercial uses only, so long as no changes are made to it and this readme file is included.

This mod is also governed by the terms of the Morrowind End User License Agreement (“EULA”), which supercedes any terms herein that may conflict with the EULA.The Elder Scrolls, Morrowind, etc. are properties of Bethesda Softworks.

Terrible RV lessons

When I left work I noticed that there seemed to be a thunderstorm coming in.  A real thunderstorm, not just light rain.  We’ve been having a lot of really hot cloudless days lately, so this was quite a surprise. As I got closer and closer to home it became obvious that the storm was actually passing right over the area where I live and that started getting me worried, because I’d left the RV awning set up to shade one side of the RV to help keep it cooler during the day.  As I started on the final few miles, the wind came up incredibly strong, the rain became so intense that I couldn’t see more than about 40 feet in front of me, and I that the power went out all throughout my town.  I feared what I was going to find when I got home.

Sure enough, the wind had ripped the awning support arms off of the side of the RV and the awning was draped over the roof.

Well, at least the wind had died down by then, so I climbed on the roof and got the awning down.  The fabric and the roller are OK at least, but parts of the support arms are broken and the arm mounting hardware needs to be replaced.

*sigh*

Since the power was still out I switched over to generator power – that at least worked, though it was frustrating because the power cord wouldn’t come unplugged from the external source at first.  Once I pried it loose I saw that the prongs were corroded, so I sandpapered them as clean as I could before plugging in to the generator.

By this time I was in tears from frustration and fear and anger at myself.  I had read that awning damage like this was possible, but I assumed that I would know in advance when bad weather was coming.  This freak storm took me completely by surprise.  From perusing online parts suppliers it looks like it will take about $500 to fix, which is money I don’t have and won’t have any time soon.  Making things worse, I need to move within the next couple of weeks, but the awning is no longer secureable to the side, so it’s not safe to drive because the awning could suddenly fall off while I’m driving down the road.  I have no idea how I’ll deal with this.

Adding insult to injury, the carbon monoxide alarm went off while I was trying to meditate before bed!  I can only assume that it was set off by the candle and incense I was burning, but I really don’t know.  Could it be the generator?  I’ve run the generator a lot more than I’ve burned incense, so unless the generator suddenly developed a problem I can’t see it being the cause.  In any event, the alarm had a very painful and fear inducing sound (I am extremely sensitive to loud and piercing noises – they terrify me) and the alarm had no way to turn it off!  Eventually I paniced and started smashing it with a Mag flashlight since I couldn’t figure out how to open the cover.  That didn’t reveal any switches, so I gave up and used some wire cutters to cut the power to the thing!

Silence and peace returned.

I’ll have to get a new carbon monoxide alarm, but I can get one that is battery operated and that has an on/off switch.

 

This has been a really rotten day.  Something happened at work that sent me into a minor depressive mood, my RV was damaged by a storm, and then I had a pain device screaming in my ear while I was trying to relax before bed.  Ugh.

 

An unexpected benefit of divorce

Just a few minutes ago I was sitting and meditating and it occurred to me: I can meditate again.

I used to meditate every night before bed many years ago.  I had an altar set up and each night I would light candles and incense, put on some quiet contemplative music – some of which I’d written myself – and I would meditate for a half hour to an hour before going to sleep.  That stopped when I got married.  Wendy – my ex-wife – was and is a very slovenly person who also has no sense of personal boundaries and she would constantly set down her trash everywhere, including on my altar.  After we got together I found that I no longer had any clean place to sit, her personal items, like her purse, would end up on my altar knocking other things over, and she would walk around making noise while I tried to meditate, so in short order I just had to give up meditation altogether and take down the altar.  I resented it, but there was simply no way to continue my practice while with her.  I tried to accept this as just part of being married.

But now I am no longer constrained, and without really thinking too much about it I had set aside a little place in my RV for a candle and an incense burner to provide a little cheer.  Then last night I was feeling very restless and decided to try meditating to help me relax and get to sleep.  It worked very well and I had one of the best night’s sleep I’ve had in a long time. So tonight I decided to do it again, and as I sat there I suddenly realized that I actually can meditate again because Wendy is no longer around to interfere.  As much as I hated the divorce, this is a pleasant benefit of it.