Visitor Q

That wonderful freak film director, Takashi Miike, has done it again.

Even though this film has scenes of murder and extreme violence, this is not a horror.

Even though there are graphic scenes of sex and very very abherrent sexual practices, it is not porn.

Even though there are some scenes which will have you splitting your sides in laughter, it is not a comedy.

Instead, I suppose you could call it art. The film shows an extremely broken family, which is brought together by the weird influence of a strange Visitor, Q.

It would be hard to explain the plot of this, as there doesn’t seem to be a coherent one. Instead, there are three stories – the father, the son, and the mother, which are all intertwined.

The father is a documentary-maker who has a bit of a short fuse in the bedroom department. The first scene of the film shows him having sex with a prostitute. We find out later on that the prostitute is his daughter.

The son is being bullied by three class-mates, and takes out his frustrations violently on his mother, who accepts it all. He’s a bit of a clean-freak, and has a collection of whips.

The mother has a self-esteem problem, and is a junkie. With the help of Visitor Q, and plenty of milk (don’t ask), she learns to appreciate herself.

I think the funniest moment in this film has to have been when the father accidently kills a film partner while trying to rape her, then brings her home with the help of the Visitor, in order to dismember and dispose of her. While drawing the “cut here” marks on the body, he gets a bit excited and decides that necrophilia is on the cards. Of course, rigor mortis adds a bit of comic relief to the proceedings.

All in all, I don’t think I’ve seen such an offensive-sounding film that did not offend at all – it’s actually quite touching how they all settle their differences and become a happy family.

using your TV as an external monitor for your computer

This took me a while to figure out. The scenario is that I have a TV in the main sitting-room, and my main computer is in the kitchen (it’s a small house…). I want to be able to watch my vids (video.google.com, youtube.com, dvd backups, etc) on my TV.

The hardware you need is a video card with a TV-out on it (this article uses the nvidia GeForce FX 5500), an s-video to scart connector, and appropriate cables for the audio and s-video connectors.

Connect the video card’s s-video connection to the Scart thing’s s-video (or Video, if that’s the cable you bought), and connect your audio card’s loudspeaker connection to the audio connectors on the Scart thing.

Once the hardware is all hooked up, you need to configure your Xorg to use your monitor as the main display (:0.0), and your TV as a second monitor (:0.1). Here is the content of my /etc/X11/xorg.conf file:

Section "ServerFlags"
       Option   "AllowMouseOpenFail" "true"
       Option   "DontZap"   "True"
       Option   "DontVTSwitch"   "False"
       Option   "DefaultServerLayout" "GeForce_FX_5200_AGP_TV"
Endsection

Section "ServerLayout"
       Identifier     "GeForce_FX_5200_AGP_TV"
       Screen       0 "Screen0" 0 0
       Screen       1 "Screen1" RightOf "Screen0"
       InputDevice    "Mouse0" "CorePointer"
       InputDevice    "Keyboard0" "CoreKeyboard"
       Option         "Xinerama" "off"
EndSection

Section "Files"
	ModulePath   "/usr/lib/xorg/modules/extensions/nvidia"
	ModulePath   "/usr/lib/xorg/modules"
	FontPath     "unix/:7100"
EndSection

Section "Module"
       Load  "dbe"
       Load  "glx"
       Load  "extmod"
       Load  "fbdevhw"
       Load  "record"
       Load  "freetype"
       Load  "type1"
EndSection

Section "Extensions"
       Option "Composite" "Enable"
EndSection

Section "InputDevice"
    Identifier     "Keyboard0"
    Driver         "kbd"
    Option         "XkbLayout" "us,bg"
    Option         "XkbVariant" ",phonetic"
    Option         "XKbOptions" "grp:alt_shift_toggle,grp_led:scroll"
EndSection

Section "InputDevice"
    Identifier     "Mouse0"
    Driver         "mouse"
    Option         "Device" "/dev/input/mice"
    Option         "Protocol" "IMPS/2"
    Option         "ZAxisMapping" "4 5"
EndSection

Section "Monitor"
	Identifier   "Monitor0"
	VendorName   "Monitor Vendor"
	ModelName    "AOC Spectrum"
	DisplaySize  320	240
	HorizSync    30.0 - 72.0
	VertRefresh  50.0 - 160.0
	Option	    "dpms"
EndSection

Section "Monitor"
       Identifier   "TV"
       VendorName   "Phillips"
       ModelName    "TV"
       HorizSync    30-50
       VertRefresh  60
       Option       "dpms"
EndSection

Section "Device"
       Identifier   "GeForce FX 5200 AGP"
       Driver       "nvidia"
       Option       "UseEdidFreqs" "True"
       VendorName   "GeForce FX 5200"
       BoardName    "GeForce FX 5200"
       BusID        "PCI:1:0:0"
       Option       "NoLogo" "True"
       Option       "TVOverScan" "1.0"
       Option       "NvAGP" "3"
       Option       "ConnectedMonitor" "CRT,TV"
       Option       "RenderAccel" "true"
       Screen 0
EndSection

Section "Device"
       Identifier   "GeForce FX 5200 TV"
       Driver       "nvidia"
       Option       "UseEdidFreqs" "True"
       VendorName   "GeForce FX 5200"
       BoardName    "GeForce FX 5200"
       BusID        "PCI:1:0:0"
       Option       "NoLogo" "True"
       Option       "TVOverScan" "1.0"
       Option       "NvAGP" "3"
       Option       "ConnectedMonitor" "CRT,TV"
       Option       "TVStandard" "PAL-I"
       Option       "TVOutFormat" "COMPOSITE"
       Option       "RenderAccel" "true"
       Screen 1
EndSection

Section "Screen"
    Identifier   "Screen0"
       Device       "GeForce FX 5200 AGP"
       Monitor      "Monitor0"
    DefaultDepth     24
    Subsection "Display"
               Depth       24
               Modes       "1680x1050" "1280x1024" "1280x960" "1024x768" "800x600" "640x480" "400x300"
    EndSubsection
EndSection

Section "Screen"
    Identifier   "Screen1"
    Device       "GeForce FX 5200 TV"
    Monitor      "TV"
    DefaultDepth 24
    Subsection "Display"
               Depth       8
               Modes       "1024x768" "800x600" "640x480"
    EndSubsection
    Subsection "Display"
               Depth       16
               Modes       "1024x768" "800x600" "640x480"
    EndSubsection
    Subsection "Display"
               Depth       24
               Modes       "1024x768" "800x600" "640x480"
    EndSubsection
EndSection

download it here

When you restart your X server, you should see your normal desktop (otherwise, somethings wrong – fix it, and comment about your fix!)

When you run into your TV room and change channel to your AV channel (usually 0 or below). You should see a pretty plain desktop. Note that my setup above is specific to Ireland (PAL-I), and other countries using the above may see their desktop in black and white, or broken up and flickering. If it’s in black/white, then change the “-I” in PAL-I to whatever your local format is (BG, DE, etc). If it’s flickering madly, you probably need NTSC instead.

Okay – it’s all set up!

There are two main ways now to use this – piping the video onto display :0.1, or using the :0.1 desktop directly.

To use the desktop directly, you can use x11vnc, which allows you to export the desktop to a VNC session, which can then be connected to and used from another machine. Anything you do on the local VNC client will be shown on the TV as well.

To do that, open a console window using the desktop user’s account, and type:

x11vnc -display :0.1

The other way is useful if you’re sitting in the sitting-room with a laptop on your lap, and want to play a video without going through the whole VNC thing.

Open a console on your laptop and ssh to the main computer, logging in as the desktop user. Then find the video you wand to display, and open it like this:

DISPLAY=:0.1 mplayer -fs "/archive/films/t/they came from beyond space (public domain, 1967).avi"

That’s quite a good film, by the way – download it here.

I hope this was useful – it’s probably the longest post I’ve written!