Evacuation Instructions

Instead of bringing you news about how I took all of Eric’s [fake] money yesterday in a game of pseudo-poker, I bring you this message from the Emergency Broadcast System (no, this is not a drill):

Comcast is finalizing the transition of AT&T broadband users to its own Comcast network tomorrow (Monday, June 30th). [Actually, their notices are so vague that I’m unsure if the transition will occur between the 29th and 30th, or the 30th and 1st.] I have no idea what’ll become of the AT&T web pages when they do transition, so I offer you this unattractive, yet functional, method of finding my new site (once I find out where it is):

The Magical Mystery Link

Bookmark this link, if you happen to see this page before it goes offline for good, and I’ll update it once I know what my latest URL is. Email addresses should switch from xxx@attbi.com to xxx@comcast.net, as well, although email sent to the old address is supposed to be forwarded through December 2004.

Yes, getting my own domain name would be easier than all of this. But it would also cost me money. =P


I’m almost definitely sick. I started the day with a 60% chance of tossing my cookies, but fortunately that passed and I was only left with negative energy. This rare condition is when you actively drain the energy out of other living beings (kind of like being a metroid, except that more than just the ice beam and missiles are effective against you). I wonder if Eva hooked me up with this bug. (I have absolutely no proof of that, but little kids seem to infect me more successfully than any other demographic.)

This weekend I had the chance to head to California with Andy and ride some roller coasters, but being sick didn’t really fit in with the plan. When he read why I wasn’t going (this was all via email), as well as who I suspected might have done me in, he responded with “Ha ha. […] You got the SIDS.” This useful phrase (as best I can tell, originating from Something Awful) can be used for all sorts of fatal illnesses, and can frequently be found with the “the” typed out as “teh.” Example: “Ha ha. You got teh SARS.” Macabre humor is the best humor, right? [Sadly, it does get funny after you see it enough times.]

Moving on…I bet y’all haven’t realized that I actually have filler pages up for the //ANIME and //LINKS portions of this site. They snuck up earlier this week, but the lack of comments about how they suxx0r has lead me to conclude that nobody bothers to click on broken links more than once. Actually, they’re still pretty broken—especially the Links page, which I threw together literally moments before collapsing in a heap for the night.

In the hopes that you won’t chase after me for several “nothing new” updates, I’ll toss this little gem of a site at you: Flash Flash Revolution. As the name implies, it’s a Flash-based DDR that you play with your keyboard.

I can proudly say that I am oft in the 99% percentile for suckage in FFR. Go ahead. Beat that.

Low Fuel Warning

I have no energy. It’s starting to go beyond the simple “Brent stays up too late doing stupid things—like updating this blog—and gets up (in light of those late nights) too early the next day” to the more conspiratorial “Brent’s enemies filled a small aerosol spray canister with nefarious virii, installed the canister under the dash of his car, and wired it to the ignition. Marin then drove Brent’s car, and consequently infected him.”

I somehow found the energy to take Marin to Best Buy this evening (or was it the oppressive heat compelling me to take an air-conditioned car ride?). There she stocked up on cheap CDs, including the new Michelle Branch album (Hotel Paper, which I promptly ripped so I could listen to it at work), and (!) Final Fantasy X. Those who know me know that I don’t own a PS2, and those who know video games know that FF X is a PS2 game. This gives me the sneaking suspicion that Marin (!!) will be buying a PS2 at some time in the near future. I snagged a copy of the Cowboy Bebop movie, Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door, to pacify the Karmic Forces of the world. [I saw the movie about a year ago, when a friend of a friend downloaded it and had a movie night. Unfortunately, that doesn’t pay the creators their dues.]

Did I mention that I’m really tired?


Very little new today. It’s starting to get hot over here again, so I’m starting to spend more and more time in my basement. That doesn’t do much for me, however, because Comcast (the wonderful company who bought out AT&T’s interests around these parts) sucks pond scum. I have internet access about 50% of the time, currently, in three-minute intervals. That means I can look at a site, click on a link and wait for it to time out, wait two minutes, and then try again to get to the next page with the next link.

Have I really been surfing the web that much? [No.] Do I really deserve this? [No.]

By now I’m sure y’all have heard of the National Do Not Call list. Right? It goes live around July 1st, and then will allow you to register (for free!) to cut down on the number of phone solicitations you get. I know I’ll be signing my family (including my grandma) up.

One of the doctor’s kids at work has been looking up missing demographic information for patients of one of the clients that we bill for. The terminal program she’s using is featured in the dictionary next to the word “ghetto”; this means that you have absolutely no control over the colors on the screen, or your print settings. The colors on the screen (yellow text on a blue background) print out as white text on a black background. In the last five days (two of them being a weekend) we burned through a toner cartridge. Ouch!

It was the last toner cartridge we had in the office, so I got to go out in the sun, drive down to the local Office Max (yes, I know my above link is to Staples), and buy two more. Using the company credit card (!) and on the time clock. It was a beautiful break from my normal routine. As further bonus, everybody bowed down at my feet upon my return, for I had restored the office to (what passes for) functionality. It’s amazing how much we still depend on getting hard copies of our documents.


Yesterday Apple unveiled its newest tower series, the Power Mac G5. It has been described as both a “cheese grater” and an “electric razor”; as looks are somewhat secondary to performance, in my mind, I think I like it. That’s important, as one of these towers could be the Last Computer I Buy [in quite a while]. When I started saving cash, early in my prolonged college career, I told myself that part of my savings would go towards buying a new computer before my educational discount ends (i.e. when I graduate). The day my educational discount ends is beginning to draw nearer.

In my favor is the simple fact that computers are reaching the point where they are fast enough for any basic task that the Average Joe would ever want to do. My current computer still runs acceptably, running the most current operating system, after 3 1/2 years—which was rarely (if ever) said about earlier computers after a similar amount of time. I suspect that a new G5 tower will last at least 5 years; the only thing really limiting its life span is the inevitable bloat of software. If you download Apple’s QuickTime propaganda (video) about the G5, you’ll witness Photoshop launching completely in one bounce. [The number of times an application bounces in the dock while it starts up is a rough way of measuring the performance of one’s OS X machine.] I have no idea how many bounces it takes to launch Photoshop on my current machine, but it sure as heck is more than one; it takes 19 bounces to start up on a G3 PowerBook, FWIW. I’m intrigued.

Outside of Apple’s news, yesterday was pretty much ignorable.

Today was a different story, though. After exercising and working, I gave Katie a call and had a somewhat stilted conversation with her (it’s been a while). Sadly, the class holding her up from graduating, aside from having to finish the Honors College thesis, is one of the basic pillars of higher education: Health and Human Performance. Happily, that means she’ll be around this summer. I then went over to drop off Back to the Future parts II and III—I had lent Katie part I quite some time ago, and I now have BTTF on DVD. At Katie’s house I met a remarkable person: Eva.

And you though I was going to be talking about Evangelion again, didn’t you?

This one’s name is pronounced “eave-ah,” not “eh?-va.” [I swear, every time I try to say her name I have to spend a second and think about what I’m doing.] Eva is the one-year-old daughter of, from what I gather, one of Rochelle’s sisters. [Rochelle is a house mate of Katie; Brian and Eric will remember the New Years Eve we spent with Rochelle and Connor.] She (Eva) apparently just learned how to walk a week ago, and is now moving all over the place.

Eva’s the anti-Evangelion, and she stared me in the face. Multiple times. Babies tend to do that with me.

It’s hard to think that things be falling apart when you have a baby looking at you. It just doesn’t seem right at all. And then she does this thing where she sticks her (tiny!) tongue out and rapidly moves it left and right, saying “la” with each change in position…you just have to smile!

Katie decided to make Chai Tea, despite not having a solid recipe in front of her (the best we could find in her cookbooks was a list of the typical ingredients, but not their proportions). The others (Rochelle’s two sisters, and Aurora, another house mate) turned on Punch Drunk Love in the living room. Eva checked in on both parties repeatedly throughout the evening. Katie and I later made a quick trip out to Dari-Mart to get some milk, an essential ingredient of chai tea; on the way I solved the mystery of why Katie’s interior lights (speedometer, radio, etc.) didn’t work. [I had had a similar experience one time driving to Andy’s place at night; turns out the Carolla has a brightness knob with a low-end setting of “black hole.”] That was easily my triumphant moment of the evening.

Katie then made the tea while I observed, and we both took a small glass to drink while watching the end of the movie with the others. As Katie later observed, she had put a bit too much pepper in; I was thankful I had a small amount, though I think it would have tasted fine otherwise. The movie was also off; although it starred Adam Sandler, it wasn’t really funny at all. We basically walked in on a scene where Sandler’s character gets into a car accident, gets out of the car with some metal bar, and proceeds to silently knock all four passengers in the other vehicle around a bit. Quite disturbing.

All in all, not a bad day. I’ve been invited to play pool with Connor and Rochelle on Tuesdays, and Katie says I can drop by again (ha ha), so maybe I’ll have a few more people to interact with this summer.

Lazy Sunday

After getting out of bed at a more reasonable hour (note that I said “more reasonable,” not “reasonable”) and exercising (!), I took some time to level my characters up in Final Fantasy 8.

I can’t tell you the last time I was able to level characters up in a role playing game. [Well, logically it had to be when I played Chrono Cross…which was a year and a half ago.] I haven’t had the luxury of doing absolutely inane things in quite a while, and it felt quite nice. I also took a nap and generally lounged around all day. Marin and I made it to the half-way mark in Magical Project S; sadly, the most entertaining part so far was the “Pretty Sammy Omake Theater” (“omake” is something akin to an extra/bonus item), which consisted of a set of three mini-skits. The third skit was a hilarious reference to Batman, made funny mostly because Sammy didn’t have a clue what was going on the entire time. It started out as a somewhat traditional extra of “let’s look at Sasami’s house,” but then Ryo-Ohki, Sammy’s magical talking animal/sidekick, continued to go beyond the parts of the house that Sammy knew about. (“Basement? I didn’t think we had…”)

Oooooh yeah. Just over ten hours before we see what Steve Jobs has up his sleeves for the WWDC. I can’t wait.

About Brent

Yesterday I exercised for the second day, and hurt myself horribly. The NordicTrack must have originally been a torture device; it would be located between the Iron Maiden and that table where they stretch your arms and legs out, and feared much more than either of the other devices. I had to give my poor legs a chance to heal today.

Yesterday evening Eric and I watched “About Schmidt,” which is really quite a depressing movie. It’s about the Real Life of one man who wakes up one day and realizes, too late (or, perhaps, too early), that he’s wasted his life. He, as I suspect many people would, does nothing to change it. Here’s part of what IMDB user The Movie Buff had to say about the movie (some spoilers):

“I was very disappointed in this movie. Jack was good but the movie was not. It wasnt (sic) a story worth telling. A guys wife dies so he goes on a road trip to see his daughter’s wedding? Nothing meaningful happened on the road trip and nothing meaningful happened at the wedding. You know as much about the lead character when the movie starts as you do at the end.”

It hurts to have the human condition examined so frankly. [It’s almost physically painful; I really wanted to turn my head away from the screen on a number of occasions—and there were a few key moments where I did shut the image out, but those were mostly due to some less-than-pleasant nudity.] The point of the movie isn’t the story, as The Movie Buff seems to think; in this movie you can see the parts of your self, and your life, that you normally turn away from. The point of the movie is really only to ask a couple questions: what is the purpose of your life? When you die, will you be remembered? What good will you have done? What, in the end, did you do?

My parents hated the movie—I somewhat suspect because it strikes closer to home than they care to think—and I’d bet that 99.44% of college students out there wouldn’t care for it, either. I mean, sure, Warren R. Schmidt lived his life and then found out too late that he hadn’t made a difference; that’s not going to happen to me, though!

Ha ha.

Don’t get me wrong…I don’t have any good answers to these questions, though I’ve thought about them some in the past. Being agnostic means that I don’t have any texts to reference, and so the best I’ve been able to gather is that each person must find his or her own purpose, own cause, own source of happiness. It’s annoyingly relativistic and open-ended. As I joked to Eric, that belief, and the fact that I haven’t really found a good direction for myself, is one of the reasons I listen to Evangelion music so frequently. (Ironically enough, I’m looking towards becoming an actuary; in the movie this was Schmidt’s profession before he retired.)

Today was much quieter. I slept in late, and poked around the internet some. [Outside of leaked specifications of the new G5 towers (hopefully) to be released on Monday, little is new in the Mac scene. In the anime scene, the Fanime con is going down this weekend. Thankfully, no new shows that I care about have been announced as licensed, though Pioneer’s panel is being held tomorrow…] I also poked around for a decent ICQ clone for the Mac, eventually settling on Fire, and took a nap. It’s been a wonderfully laid-back day.

Marin and I watched some more episodes of Magical Project S this evening. I’m pretty underwhelmed, so far; the show has been episodic and has way too few instances of real humor. It’s supposed to be a parody of the traditional magical girl shows found in anime; the only difference I’ve seen, so far, is that Sasami doesn’t want to be a magical girl. That, on its own, isn’t enough to sustain a 26-episode series.

It was particularly funny, however unintentionally, to see Magical Girl Pretty Sammy sell out in episode five. [Keep in mind that she only became a magical girl in episode one.] Sasami’s mom’s CD shop didn’t have enough business, you see, so they held Pretty Sammy’s idol debut on the roof of the store.

No, Sasami can’t sing.


Today Marin overheard that our coworkers are really hopped up on smack. Something about taking “diet pills” that also help you get moving during the day…comments were made along the lines of “I stayed up until 1:00 am last night, and getting up at 5:30 would have been a bear without these.” d00d.

I, instead, opted for a much more healthy routine. After sleeping in late, I got up, exercised (perhaps having to mention whether or not I exercised each day in my blog will be enough inspiration to keep me going this time—so all y’all’s job is to harass me when I fail), and then ate a six-inch Subway sandwich for lunch. (I normally get a foot-long when I eat at Subway, FWIW.) My sore throat disappeared, so Greg may live. Actually, my sore throat returned after I drank some of the filtered water from the accursed refrigerator…I wouldn’t be surprised if the filtered water isn’t as pure as I would like to hope it is.

The sleeping in late routine is partly because I stay up way too late, and partly because, unless you arrive at my work quite early in the day, you can’t find parking until lunchtime. This, until today’s little exercise experiment, gave me plenty of time in the morning to…uh…surf the web. (I’m so ashamed.)

There’s so much I want to do, too! I need to figure out more about cascading style sheets, and web design in general; this stuff is so much fun for me! It’s a more modern take on the layout-designing I did back in high school yearbook, without any of the associated stress. (Actually, that’s not quite true; getting pages to look the same in every browser is annoying, especially with Internet Explorer in the world.) I look forward to this weekend, when I should have plenty of time to start tinkering around with the site again. I also want to learn how to shoot a good photo (a goal made possible by my digital camera, since I won’t be wasting real film and processing costs)…already I’ve made great strides, as I can now use the autofocus to get an acceptable shot. (You can laugh, but—for whatever reason—Canon digital cameras aren’t really point & shoot. Even Andy agrees with me, and that’s a rare occurrence!) Playing some of the Playstation RPGs I’ve collected (video games are much cheaper when you learn to survive a generation behind everyone else) would also be a nice summer-like activity. There’s very little chance for me to play such involved games during the school year, since I work year-round.

Oh yeah. I’ve given up (already!) on trying to keep this website legal. I just can’t stand the new pictures on the Web page…. In Marin’s (exact) words: “why bother having pictures when they look that bad?” Though I don’t feel as strongly as she does, I do agree. So, welcome back to Yomiko, Mahoro, and Chise. On the off chance that the courts will want my first-born, I guess I’ll just have to have one more kid than I was planning on having. (sigh) In other news, I’ve found a blog that actually looks good to my eye: that of Flood, a chronic poster on the AOD forums. Oddly enough, his interests—outside of anime—are photography and day-trading (!).

I’ve recently (thanks to Andy) become a fan of Something Awful, and especially its “Photoshop Phriday” features. As, odds are, it’ll be Friday by the time you read this, you should definitely check it out. The site does get into some more base things (albeit in a tongue-in-cheek kind of way), so be wary where you wander.


Hans Gruber and his friends invaded my office building today and took everybody hostage. Well, everybody but me; I was in the bathroom at the time. Though I’m not a cop, I have played Police Quest before.

So I definitely wasn’t going to fall prey to the attractive speeder’s feminine wiles.

Needless to say, they got their hands on me pretty quick as well. Boy, was I glad I had just visited the bathroom when I walked out and was staring down the barrel of a…really big gun. (I don’t know guns, OK?)

…uh, yeah. So today I worked. What made today different from yesterday? I had a sore throat. If you’ll recall from a few days ago, in a part of my summary of Andy’s move that I completely omitted, Andy’s younger brother Greg stopped by to pick up some of Andy’s stuff. He had—you got it—a sore throat and a fever. If I develop a fever, I’ll have to repay him somehow. Like death.

At work I also had the pleasure of entering a giant stack of refund checks into Quickbooks. Later I would overhear the gal who put together the checks I was entering talking about how, last night, she had been complaining to her boyfriend about all kinds of things…including how she’d “work for the day and come home feeling like [she] hadn’t accomplished anything.” For my sitcom-humor moment of the day, I poked my head over the cubicle wall and waved the multi-hundred check stack at her, chiding her that “this isn’t nothing.” [“HAHAHAHA,” the audience then said.]

Big Tip for the guys: flowers the next day are an excellent rejoinder to your gal’s spending the entire evening complaining about her life. They are not, however, a good thing from the perspective of your gal’s office productivity: I had to turn my iPod’s volume way up (I was listening to Enya at the time, so that might have been part of it) for a good half-hour to drown out all the “oohs” and “aahs.”

This evening I was surprised to learn that the Cowboy Bebop Movie, Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door, is coming out next Tuesday. This is a grievous oversight on my part, made even moreso because I am aware that Ground Defense Force Mao-chan is coming to R1 DVD in late October.


Tiffany responded to my pondering of yesterday: you can only really post an image online if you’ve bought rights to it, or have gotten the artist’s OK. (Makes sense.) If you don’t use an image commercially, however, you won’t be handing your first-born over to the courts as remuneration for your crimes.

Much as I love the pictures I selected for my pages (I think they look quite nice, especially with the layouts), I have neither bought rights to them nor gotten anyone’s permission to use ’em. (It’d probably be quite difficult for me to even try either of those methods, too, as I only know a few sporadic Japanese words…I mean, you try to piece together a polite email asking to use an image when the only words you know are “eye,” “promise,” and “hot.”) As such, and because if I had any artistic talent I’d hope others would treat my work similarly, those images are hereby banished from all but my local hard drive.

I’m somewhat fond of the new blog and anime pictures on the //WEB page, which are pseudo-final (feel free to tell me what you think, if you think); I don’t much like the links picture, but I was grasping for straws for that one to begin with. I’m still debating what type of picture I like for the sidebar on this page, though I think I’ll probably default to a Nature Scene.

Like lions eating a zebra. I think I took a picture of that, sometime.

Today was another day, except this one’s “work” and “not-work” regions both clearly fell inside the “no interaction” side of the Venn Diagram. My heart still isn’t in work—I’m still scanning, for the time being—for whatever reason. Marin, meanwhile, is concerned that the traditional Summer Work Screwing (random doctors’ kids—two, this year—decide they want to work at the billing office, and so are eventually given our work…leaving us with nothing to do) is about to occur. As I’ve already lost my current job, I’m not as worried as she is.

Not-work time was pretty much squandered. Marin and I did officially kick off Anime Summer 2003, albeit in a pretty low-key way: we watched the first two episodes of Magical Project S (alternative title: Magical Girl Pretty Sammy). So far, it’s an odd show. Most memorable line? “What’s a magical girl like you doing in a place like this?” Serious.

Apple’s hosting its annual Worldwide Developer’s Conference in a week, incidentally. The entire Mac community is foaming at the mouth over rumors that G5 computers will be announced and ready to ship immediately. If that doesn’t happen, I hear that we’re all supposed to get our pitchforks and torches and congregate at One Infinite Loop immediately after the keynote for a “burning down the Apple campus” party. (I’m only half-kidding about that, actually…and the part I’m kidding about is the “I hear” part. People seem really hellbent on getting faster Apple towers.) Also, I hear that we’re to meet similarly if the G5 tower Apple announces looks anything like this. Amusingly, some resellers are adding fuel to the fire with ill-advised teasers.

Moving On

Marin read my blog last night, and commented that I was more interesting on the web than in real life. I’m not sure how to take that…besides by making this blog less interesting. (^_^)

Yesterday was a slow day; I tweaked my existing pages (Blog and Web) slightly, and started thinking about maybe adding a links page to replace AT&T’s pseudo-404 page. What I want to do for that still eludes me…. Eric suggests that I should give it a layout akin to that of my blog, to maintain a consistent look throughout the site. While I appreciate that goal, my primary purpose behind making these pages is to have some fun with CSS…meaning, basically, that I want to make every page different. Yet still have some commonality, too. I wonder if the brent//SOMETHING graphics are enough of a motif on their own. I also wonder what image-usage laws are—if I’ve bought a pencil board with an image on it, say, can I use that image on my (non-commercial) website? I somewhat doubt it, as that might be the same argument as “I bought this book, so I can post its contents on the web as long as I don’t charge for it.” On the other hand, however, that seemed to be the way it was for that fabled ultra-expensive cookie recipe.

Eric and I attended Andy and Nate’s post-graduation party later yesterday evening. We got to meet and interact with both of their families a bit, and say ‘hi’ to people who dropped by. Most entertaining of the passers-by was Jane, head advisor for the UHC, who got herself a drink from the keg and then chatted it up with us. Andy’s grandma was great; when Greg (Andy’s younger brother, and a fellow business major) left the party to “help [two girls] pack,” his grandma gave him a hug and these words of advice: “be good…or else have lots of fun.” Ha. Photo-worthy events included Andy’s first-ever keg-stand, Eric posing with a random person’s sunglasses, and Hunt’s. Andy’s keg stand and the artsy-fartsy shot were taken by Eric, while (somewhat obviously) the other was by my hand. Yes, Andy’s face was that red; both he and Nate got quite sunburned during the ceremony.

[For an indeterminate amount of time (now passed), you may find the more-or-less complete works of the UHC picnic and the Last Poker Game online, courtesy of the psychotic amount of disk space OSU provides to each student. Be warned that these pages link to the pictures taken directly off of my camera, and those files are pretty big (~1 MB each).]

Andy called me at 9:30 this morning and asked for some help packing, so I spent the morning prying posters off of walls and throwing knick-nacks in boxes. We—including Nate, who had been waging his own battle upstairs—eventually broke for lunch and met Darren (another one of Andy’s circle of friends) for a burger at Clod’s. That bar has quite a different atmosphere during the day. It was actually quiet, with waiters taking orders and serving food (and not just “liquid bread,” as Nate’s dad fondly called beer). Of course, you can still tell that a gajillion Party People have crowded into the building and consumed far too much alcohol at some time in the past. Despite this, at the table to my right lunched John Byrne (former president of OSU) and his assistant. [I, sadly, was the only one in the group who recognized him. Fame is so fleeting.]

The lazy days of summer are nigh unto me. I spent this evening doing all sorts of menial recordkeeping, but last night put half an hour into Final Fantasy VIII (yeah, yeah…I figured I might as well get the “worst” FF out of the way before the others, to maximize my enjoyment of them all), and tonight was eyeing the Anime on DVD forums with thoughts of actually reading the posts again. I’m easily falling into my routines of last summer, it seems…and everybody else has moved on.

Fun and Games

Manalive. So much to write about, and I have no idea where to begin. Oh, wait, I do.

I would title this entry “It’s all fun and games until Eric calls the frickin’ cops on you,” but that proved to be a bit unwieldy.

So Friday was Andy’s blowout Poker Bonanza day, where he estimated he’d have enough people to keep two tables going for most of the day. As I suck at poker, I elected to collect my chips the ol’ fashioned way (“I went to work”). Andy had informed me that he would have a keg at his place, and I’d have to stop by sometime that day to see it, if nothing else.

After taking care of some odds and ends that evening, I headed over to Andy’s place about nine. I expected it to be mostly poker and a small amount of chit-chat, so I didn’t bother calling Eric. When I arrived—contrary to my expectations—I found not only a poker game, but a posh social environment: Nick and Kevin had driven down from Lake Oswego, Joel and Tammy and others were over, and a subset of the group was about to watch Super Troopers. As I knew Nick and Eric are good friends, and I knew that Eric had expressed an interest in watching Super Troopers, I decided to give him a call. His line was busy, ostensibly because he was on the internet. I confess that I never really bothered to memorize his new email address, preferring instead to let Eudora do my heavy lifting, so emailing him from Andy’s (Andy doesn’t have Eric’s current email address (?)) became difficult. We (Nick, Nate, Neil, and myself) decided that a brief Road Trip was in order.

Now, you must understand something about Neil. He weilds the most ferocious door knock I’ve ever heard, and (appropriately) calls it the Cop Knock. When we arrived at Eric’s, the rest of us naturally stepped aside to let Neil work his magic.

He did.

From inside, a panicked Eric shouted out “who’s there!?!” Nate and I had pretty much stepped back to see what comedic magic the others could work—the setup was pretty damn perfect—unfortunately, Nick and Neil didn’t work much of anything. Hell, they didn’t even say anything. Neil knocked a few more times, and then Nick tried a “professional” knock. Inside we heard Eric talking, but couldn’t make anything out. After a decent chunk of time had passed, I (finally) came to my senses and realized that nobody else was doing anything either funny or useful (i.e. getting Eric to come watch the movie), and so identified myself through the door. Eric then opened up, and then cleared things up with the 911 operator he had called. (?!)

Eric then asked us which one of us had knocked. We pointed to Neil; Eric walked over to Neil and hit him a handful of times. We were then invited in, and took this picture of the prankster and the pranked. Apparently Eric’s porch light had temporarily died (it worked when he tried it later, but seemed to have difficulty starting up), so all he could see through his peephole was some shadowy figures. Also apparently, Eric was completely unaware of Neil’s specialty knock.

It was pretty damn funny, especially because we got to go back and tell the poker players (in grandiose style) how Eric called the cops on us. At the end of the day, though, I had mixed feelings about it. As I explained to Eric later that evening: I didn’t care that he had been scared, but did feel bad that we had wasted the 911 dispatcher’s (and ostensibly an officer’s) time. Nick commented that I would make a great politician with comments like that (saving resources, etc.). Was it overreaction on Eric’s part? I’m not sure.

The rest of the evening, in a nutshell: Super Troopers was a hilarious movie. Eric stole some of the ice from around the keg to use on his hand, which he had injured punching Neil. Later in the evening, as the group was sitting and chatting, Andy bursts in the front door (I hadn’t noticed that he was gone in the first place), excitedly explains something about giving girls a ride to Clod’s, and then leaves again. Andy and Rob return a bit later—Rob happy that some cute gal in a dress had sat on his lap for the ride over, Andy happy that gals had been in his car. Rob harbors hopes that these gals will come back to him, and leaves to pursue them; Andy recognizes that they’re gone and mopes on the couch. Rob later returns, dejected. Nick impresses some with a “find the selected card” magic trick, and then impresses again with a physical card trick: spread a deck of cards across the table, and then use one card to pry up an end and then support a “wave” in the cards that you can move back and forth at will (somewhat difficult to explain, but novel to all of us around the table). In general, though, it was just a big social hour—probably the last one like it we’ll ever have. I got home around 4:00 am, but it was easily worth it.

Today was much less eventful. My aunt has come down from Alaska to see my grandma. Today she (my aunt) needed to type something up in Word and fax it, so she came over and had the honor of using the old fax machine we bought from work to send a $5 fax. (As that’s the second fax we’ve sent using the machine, which we bought for $10, I figure it’s fair to amortize the fax machine’s cost over the two faxes.) Marin and I later wandered the countryside to find an elusive copy of X: [five] with (this time extra-) Limited Edition slipcover. Usually LE items aren’t that big of a deal, but in this case Marin has a box designed to hold the DVDs with slipcovers, and to miss one would not only look bad but also free the discs to knock around some in the box. We eventually succeeded, but not before my rear fell off from sitting too long in a car seat. This evening Andy and Nate came over, as they had cleaned their carpets and needed to pass some time while the carpets dried. We finished off the fifth episode of Rahxephon, which we greatly enjoyed despite (because of?) the numerous Evangelion references we saw, and then watched the first two episodes of FLCL. Andy took FLCL pretty well, I’d say.

Cleaning the Fridge

Short update, since I need sleep. No toga party, since no energy. Instead I watched part of the first Tenchi movie (in Japanese, no less—though it was rather disconcerting to hear Megumi Hayashibara [Lina Inverse] as Achika, Tenchi’s mom) while paying my health insurance bill and filling out some rebate requests. Damn, my life is dull. Why do you bother reading this blog?

Did I mention my house is getting painted? [Insert advanced-type “watching paint dry” joke here.]

At work I had the distinct pleasure of being the first to notice that there was some diluted-Coke-brown water leaking out of the fridge. After recruiting my office manager, we delved into the depths of the machine to discover a massive pool of icky water sitting at the base of the fridge.

Right about that time an ominous voice rang out from all around: “Go Back.” After refusing the voice’s request multiple times, the pool of icky water vaporized and assumed the form of a MIST DRAGON.

I had to attack it repeatedly with my Dark Sword, while my office manager unleashed her secret Jump attack.

As you might guess, you can’t attack a water-based beast without getting wet. Icky-water wet. Ick. Ick. I later had the distinct pleasure of going home and showering for a second time.

Now I just need to unwittingly raze a town with fire, and do some other stuff, before I can become a paladin.

No Sleep ‘Till Brooklyn

I can’t sleep. Last night was a toss-n-turn affair (which set me up beautifully for my multiple-choice final this morning), and I spent an hour in vain trying to take a nap after my exam. It’s not that I’m not tired (I’m practically hallucinating at times), nor is it that my brain is constantly revved and won’t slow down (I’m currently duller than a butter knife—and I’m not talking about my personality).

My final probably went all right, but I had to urinate quite badly throughout the second hour, on top of watching the test do a mambo on my desk…so I didn’t really double-check everything like I should have. I didn’t really double-check anything, actually, and the second half of the exam is more of a blur than the first. Ah well. We’ll see how well/poorly I’ve done once those little letters pop up on my transcript in a week.

The day was rather dull. Not even my hallucinations were interesting. The evening was better, as I got to go hang with Andy, Nate, and Tammy for one last time. I’m saddened to think that these halcyon days of chillage are coming to an end. How else will I learn about the existence of Azumanga Puzzle Daioh?

Of course, things don’t end without a bang: Andy has informed me that Bremmer is holding a Toga Party tomorrow night. Not sure that I’m all about getting dressed up in a toga and then getting sloshed, but it might be a funny picture opportunity. Then Andy is holding a Day of Poker on Friday; though I’m not in for the poker, I’ll stop by to see the faces. Word on the street is that Andy will have his very own keg at this event; I suppose I’ll have to document Andy and his keg. Sunday, of course, will be the graduation bash.

…damn I’m tired…

Prelude to Battle

Tomorrow morning a final and I will enter an examination room. Only one of us will walk out.

Of course, finals don’t walk. Heh. (Unless we’re talking about the hallucinations I saw while taking my financial institutions final on Monday…but I’ll drop that, as it weakens my implication.)

Today, outside of my Puny Cram Session—re-reading seven (relatively) short chapters during the evening isn’t all that impressive, especially once you consider it was a business text—was rather uneventful. I spent six hours at work, where, unlike Brian, I listened to music 100% of the time. I mostly listen to anime music and ’80s/’90s pop, though, so I have no pretensions of having “refined taste.” Or any taste at all, for that matter. I mean, hell, I listened to the Eva “Vox” album today.

Since nobody out there, save Andy and Nate, have heard Vox, I’ll quote a few proto-rap lyrics from “Prelude to Battle”:

Step to me, and I’ll crush you like the bitch you is

You’re a can of soda, without the fizz

You’re a bottle of brandy, without the alcohol

You’re a shopping center, without the mall


Now, perhaps, you begin to fathom the depths of my lack of taste.

Semi-victory! Number Two!

I believe I passed the “Good Enough” threshold for my banking final. (^_^)V pi-su!

This victory did not come without cost. I was up until 4:00 am cramming as much factual (“this’ll be on the exam, even though we didn’t cover it in class”) information as I could on a single sheet of paper, and then (much to my annoyance) I was up again at 8:00 am, when the dumb painter working on my neighbor’s house decided to fire up the ol’ compressor. I ended up seeing more hallucinations throughout the day than dreams in my sleep. I hope I answered the real exam, rather than the one that occasionally started dancing around on the desk.

I didn’t go in to work today because my one true rival, support-person Debbie, was visiting. Rather than defeat her while I was both physically and mentally exhausted—and thus unduly shame her family—I decided to delay our battle until more usual circumstances arose. I’m a nice guy, in that regard.

Day of Study

Well, looks like I’ll get to spend all of today working on that banking study I put off yesterday. Monday finals aren’t much fun, but at least they get out of the way quickly.

So, since I’ll probably be panicking about my final about the time I’d normally update, I might as well update now. Unfortunately, not much has changed since late yesterday evening.

Marin did, however, find a site on Japanese smileys. How is it that they do our things one step better?

Time to move out. Goooooo, Brent! o(^_-)O paanchi!

An Odd World

Um. Yeah. So that whole “getting kicked in the shins” incident at work was apparently supposed to be more of a pseudo-promotion than a “you suck at your job” meeting. So I guess I’m not quitting, for now. Oddly enough, everybody was willing to just write off my outburst as a bad day; I didn’t even get questioned about the unsubstantiated (in the cold, hard, fact sense) accusation I wantonly hurled at Debbie. (I hear that the higher-ups had a chat with Debbie about avoiding Marin, after I had stormed out…not sure what happened there.)

In other news, I saw the Best First Episode I’ve ever seen in an anime series: that from Saishu Heiki Kanojo (She, the Ultimate Weapon). It’s not released yet (Marin managed to acquire the first episode somehow), but it’s joined Rahxephon as a Will Buy Even If Broke series. Ask John has a much better summary of the show than I could give here…he calls it “one of the finest anime series ever produced,” and I’m leaning towards agreeing with him.

Marin and I also sampled the first episode of Ai Yori Aoshi last night. Unfortunately, we did it after watching SaiKano, and it fell rather flat.

Later in the evening I headed over to Andy’s. There I lost to Andy in War (yes, the card game) while waiting for Nate to find a save point in Xenogears, and then joined them on a walk to Safeway (we’ve been having 90 degree days and 50 degree nights; very nice!) to acquire ice cream. Andy has informed me that he’s divided the cost of his education between two items now: a $15,000 black cap, and a $15,000 beer glass. Nate argued that Andy should also consider the ($10,000) “free beer” coupon that Andy received but did not use, and Andy had a hard time arguing against that. Nate and I played a game of War over ice cream, and I handily trashed him.

Carl then came over and played Andy in Guilty Gear XX, while Nate and I had a War rematch. This match will forever be known as The War of Legend. I originally had the upper hand, and had managed to steal all four aces from Nate; we got to the point where we had a war when Nate had four cards remaining in his hand (i.e. he used every card he had), and he won it. From there he made a dramatic comeback, and soon I found myself staring loss in the face. Undaunted, I turned the tables myself and regained control of the game…only to lose it to Nate, again. By the end of the game, Nate had made four comebacks from death. I made three. You can do the math as to who won in the end.

Our War rematch went on for at least an hour. We obviously deserve a place in The Guiness Book of World Records. Hell, in 1989 (my latest copy) they didn’t even have an entry for the game.

Partway through the tense struggle, I heard/saw a car pull into a nearby driveway. (Since it was so hot during the day, we had opened all the doors and windows in the apartment to cool it off.) This car, as many college cars, had music blasting. The music? “I’m All Out of Love,” by Air Supply. I never thought I’d hear that blaring from a car. Nate and I kept it light the rest of the time by repeatedly commenting to Andy about what a game of skill we were involved in. I also spread my Voice Actor knowledge whenever (in)appropriate; did you know that the VA for Baiken in GGXX also was the VA for Kenshin? How about that the VA for I-No was also the VA for Belldandy, as well as that weird S+M queen in Miyuki-chan in Wonderland?

The last real highlight of the evening was when Andy and Nate faced off (in GGXX) with Jam and Chipp, respectively. (This battle occurred in the middle of Andy’s quest to win 20 consecutive times with Jam, rotating opponents between Carl, Nate, and me. Nate finally was able to put Andy down after Andy’s 18th win…I, sadly, could only repeatedly get close to defeating Andy with Bridgett, the guy-dressed-as-a-girl.) Jam had Chipp pinned in a corner, but both attacked (at least, the best I could figure out) with the same level attack at the same height at the same time, resulting in a lightning flash. The match quickly devolved into a button-mashing affair, and Carl and I stood witness to about thirteen rapid-fire lightning flashes before Andy caved. Alas, Andy defeated Nate in that battle, in the end—nevertheless, it was a clear moral victory for Nate. I’ll never see that many consecutive lightning flashes again in my life…we all found it pretty funny, but it was also pretty late.

Today was a much lower-key day. I primarily decided that I wouldn’t study for my banking final, like I really ought to. Instead I took a nap (ostensibly to allow myself to stay up this late to type this overlong blog entry). Later I had an enjoyable evening with Eric, beginning with dining on the coveted Arby’s “Five for 5.95” special. We then watched some Rahxephon (featuring what might be the second-best anime opening I’ve seen), the Fist of the North Star-inspired episode of Excel Saga (the only reason that I’ll ever appreciate having seen the Fist of the North Star movie), and the said opening episode of SaiKano. I then got to show Eric the pictures documenting my European Vacation of the Gods. I had it so good back then.

I Quit, but

That Big Temper that I’ve alluded to (and, if you’re lucky, that you’ve never seen) made an appearance today, after lying dormant for the last year or two. I tried working, and just got more and more irritated for no real reason (outside Tuesday’s news, that is). Then Marin came over and commented that Debbie, a gal from the support team we’ve hired to assist us with the new billing program, seemed to be busy quite a bit whenever Marin called—including the latest attempt just a moment ago. A few weeks earlier Debbie had been “already out of the office for the day” when Marin called, yet was there just fine when Sarah called a moment later…so I decided that I’d call Debbie today. Oddly enough, she was there and free when I called and introduced myself to the secretary.

I let her have it.

Once I had handed the phone to Marin, Laura poked her head over the half-wall and made some comment about never having heard me swear before. I looked her straight in the eye, and then let loose with the standard cuss words. I then went to the time clock to clock out.

After trying to calm down in the break room, I went to my office manager and told her that I was quitting. She asked for my resignation in writing, so I (to give me a little time to be slightly diplomatic in how I wrote my resignation) went home and typed something up. I returned to the office, and ran into Marin before I found my office manager; Marin dragged me home a second time to let me really calm down.

I don’t know. Marin had chatted with the office manager while I was typing my letter, and…I guess this was supposed to be a sort-of kind-of promotion. I don’t know; it really felt like I had been slapped in the face. My office manager didn’t want me to quit, and later the boss called me and let me know he feels similarly. I get to chat with him more tomorrow. In some ways I feel bad, because my boss and office manager are some of the best people at my work—and I didn’t make today nice for them. (I know that might read oddly, considering what happened Tuesday, but…office dynamics are rather complicated.)

I keep identifying with Shinji throughout this experience. (Already I tend towards being antisocial and using a portable music device to separate myself from reality.) Today would either be episode four, when Shinji runs away but is brought back, or episode sixteen-ish where Shinji quits after watching Toji be attacked, but then returns when he realizes that he has the ability to do something.

The one thing that I do know is that everybody dies at the end of the story, and I’m not so keen on that.

Summer Fun

Today was the annual UHC spring barbecue. Only replace “spring” with “summer,” because it was that friggin’ hot out today. Food was good, and company was fun. I managed to drag Eric out of the Eric-Cave by mentioning the free food (“UHC picnic” actually piqued his interest the most, but it’s more entertaining to say it was the food), so he got some sunlight today. [Eric can feel free to contest my libel by starting up his own blog, where he could note humorous anecdotes—e.g. discovering that the anti-bacterial wipes we found at WinCo contain the active ingredient of the spermicide of Trojan condoms—in addition to countering my blatant lies.]

Highlights included watching Andy take multiple rounds in the face (courtesy of Ruth and Misty), and entrusting Eric with my camera (with the express mission of taking humorous pictures) only to watch him stand and chat with Jane instead. He would later comment that there were many attractive females, in not quite as civilised a tongue, at the BBQ. Once I retrieved the camera, I actually took some nice pictures this time. They were much improved over my photos from a year ago, despite my not having that much more experience. Yes, folks, there’s Real Content here today!

Things pretty much went as they go every year at this function, until Joel brought out a box of squirt guns. By that time the heat had gotten to the heads of a select portion of the UHC community, and All Hell Broke Loose. I also figured out that I should use the “action” preset on my camera, so the ensuing flurry of shots are still more in-focus than my attempts at pictures last year, despite the Intense Action.

Tangentially related: is your dean this cool? I didn’t think so. Keep in mind that this is the same day that the GT printed an article about how he won the Clark Tibbitts award (self-described as “the pinnacle of [his] career”).

Yesterday, in contrast, sucked. I got called in to chat with my bosses at work, and was told that—effectively—I hadn’t been keeping scanning up-to-date enough. The solution (no warning given to me, incidentally, that there was any issue)? Hire a permanent position to do my job in a more timely fashion. Some lucky schmuck is going to get the easiest job in the world…and (I bet) he or she will mess it up. Scanning, when you want to be absolutely certain that everything got in correctly, takes more concentration than most people would suspect.

Rather than finish me off, though, my bosses have elected to keep me on as some weird proto-assistant to them. It really sounds like a half-assed plan where I’ll be frequently left in the lurch. The reason behind all of this, I believe? There was some organizational meeting earlier in the day, and people complained that scanning was behind (never mind that there are a couple of people in the office who’ll complain about anything). Truthfully, I had been behind—though I was pretty darn close to caught up, as of yesterday—but a good degree of that was the result of a gigantic cram session preceding the cutoff date for the latest bonus. On the other side, my office manager has some tasks that take too much time (and involve delving deep into the new crappy software we’re using), and my boss has some odds and ends that I can do for less than the person currently doing them can…combine the two, and you get a “kill two birds with one stone” scenario.

My pride wants me to walk away. Practically, though, making money is better than not making money—and I’m not likely to use my time for anything beneficial if I were to quit. For now, I guess, my attitude will be “I can always quit tomorrow.” I’m not sure how that’ll affect my performance, though…I’m already pretty damn bitter about work as it is.

It’s for reasons like these that I’m thankful for evenings like this one.

‘Bout Damn Time

Gents (I wish there were ladies reading, but I’ll be realistic for now), I’d like to introduce my latest mess of HTML and CSS: the WEB page! Please click on the //WEB link on the left side of your screen to see how badly I’ve whipped your Puny Earth Browsers this time. [Warning: I haven’t really tweaked link colors yet, so those—especially the “visited” color, won’t look so hot.] Sadly, there isn’t much content on the page—it’s just a portal, after all—but it’s certainly taken me enough time to get it to look (work?) even slightly right. Never forget that your “position: absolute;” attribute will position an element in relation to the box surrounding the element’s nearest ancestor that does not have a position (implied or explicitly stated) of “static.” That nuance, gleaned from the W3C pages this very evening, could have saved me several hours of fiddling…and, consequently, given me several more hours of sleep.

Life might be looking better. I took it upon myself to whip out some text for my group banking paper, and so (after three hours this evening) we have something to turn in on Wednesday. Maybe I’ll even look at it tomorrow and see if I failed to end sentences or include verbs. I do that, sometimes. More often than that, even, I’ll try to form complete sentences out of em-dashes and parentheses. It’s a curse.

(()(—))(—))())(——))()—(—(. See?

I’m still jealous that Brian has images he owns to legally use on his web page. In that respect, this web site is just a hack job in comparison. I’ll have to dust off my camera and learn how to take pictures, as I doubt my drawing ability would sustain the site; stick-figures (regardless of their high quality) can only carry you so far in life.

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