Bad Idea: posting thoughts while exhausted

Just finished watching The Return of the King. Another good movie, though one I’m not going to watch multiple times… Back to the Future is still my trilogy of choice. Yep.

Yesterday, at Andy’s, Nick tried to get me to talk more by asking about my one interest he knows about: anime. While I enjoy anime quite a bit, it just really doesn’t make for good conversation; how do you talk about Azumanga Daioh or Rahxephon (or anything, for that matter) with someone who knows nothing about the topic?

Nick’s (ultimately failed) attempt started me thinking, though: what are my interests, and how many of them are really things you can talk about? I enjoy ballroom dancing and tennis; I enjoy mucking around with HTML and CSS; I want to learn to edit video and program in Flash. None of these things am I terribly skilled at—but that’s OK, because they’re hobbies (or, for the latter ones, intended hobbies). None of them make for terribly engaging conversation, though. (I also stay relatively current with politics, but I tend to be more conservative than my friends… we can make a lot of conversation related to that, but I don’t know how fulfilling it would be for either side.)

On the other hand, I don’t tend to keep up with pop culture—so I wind up being the clueless one on the topics others can talk about.

Or—perhaps more honestly—it’s not so much what is talked about, but who is talking about it. I’ve never been that gifted at storytelling, and perhaps my reduced conversational skill is another effect of that.

The overall effect of this, regardless of the cause, is that it takes people a good while to get to know me—and until then they don’t have much of a reason to try. I seem to get along well with people once they have passed that barrier; I only know of one person who (to the best of my knowledge still) actively dislikes me*. (There are also those whose opinions of me are tainted by my lack of self-confidence, but they’re mostly dance follows from my earlier dancing days.) Truckers and movers also seem to have a natural affinity towards me, which I’m at a loss to explain.

[*I am generally clueless when it comes to social matters, so it may actually be that everyone hates me and I’m too stupid to see it. (I hope not.)]

Katie, a friend from earlier college days, was one of the few people (perhaps the only person) to have figured me out in a short period of time. She seemed not only to know who I was, but also appreciated me for what I was… and (as all people want to be understood and appreciated) she was precious to me, for that. We’ve fallen out of touch since she graduated, but I hope to catch up with her sometime in the future.

Extra detail

Fry’s had a big ol’ 25 (or 36?) TV mega-screen running J-Lo’s “Let’s Get Loud” on infinite repeat. I had to physically restrain myself from dancing a cha-cha, though I think the people who were forced to work in that area weren’t so happy about it. Honestly, I think some of them were starting to get a crazy glint in their eyes.

It’s not like the song isn’t repetitive to begin with. I’ll give ’em that.

This morning I noticed, while looking at the ads in the paper, that Soul Calibur II is now a greatest hits title. For the reduced price, I’m pretty tempted to pick up a copy.

Day trip

Took a day trip to Portland today to visit Andy, Nick, Kevin, and others. Turns out today was Dogg’s birthday, so we had Neil bring a (now-traditional) Birthday Forty. Whereas Andy had gotten Steel Reserve for his birthday, the forty this time was Old Milwaukie; from others’ reactions, I take it that Steel Reserve > Old Milwaukee.

Darn nice to see the gang again. Andy and his crowd started a game of poker; Nick, Lindsey, Nate, Neil, and I sat around and chatted, and others joined and left the conversation as time passed. Though I never actually say all that much (that pretty much holds true no matter what situation I’m in), I’m definitely happiest when I’m surrounded by good friends—and today was no exception.

And, on a completely unrelated note, I wish Get Smart would be released on DVD. MST3K, too—that is, in a way that would let me collect the show without selling (others’) organs.

Blinded by science

Dad picked up an LED flashlight today. That sucker is damn bright; it illuminated the garage of a neighbor across the street from the middle of our driveway. I’d compare its output to the output of my big four-D-battery Mag-lite—impressive, since the LED light was using three AA batteries and should far outlast the Mag-lite.

Unfortunately, the LED flashlight is nowhere near as effective as the Mag-lite at blinding and then beating an assailant. (It’s shortcoming isn’t in the blinding part of the equation.) Nevertheless, I feel inclined to pick up an LED flashlight for myself.

Otherwise today was pretty boring. I scanned another load of paper at work, and then (after clocking out for the evening) made Claude (the plush crab, who is still hanging around outside my cubicle) a Party Hat.

It’s pretty much a poor-man’s Party Hat, at this point. If I’m ever bored at the end of work again (usually when I’m waiting for Marin to clean up), I’ll make Claude a real Party Hat—blue with yellow stars.

The whole inspiration for a party hat comes from Super Smash Bros. Melee, where you can play as Pikachu and select what type of hat he wears. Pikachu with Party Hat is pretty much invincible, in my experience. Even when I play him—and I suck at Smash Bros.

Powerfully clean

Got a new vacuum cleaner today. Moved from a (fourteen-year-old) seven amp Panasonic to a twelve amp Eureka. The carpet’s fibers are now left completely vertical once they are vacuumed; it gets things that much cleaner. I’m impressed, quite frankly.

Work today was like trying to use a baseball bat against a hummer; I made a dent, but it doesn’t look like much of one. Where my analogy breaks down is in the fact that my rear end hurts from having sat down the entire day.

Watched the first episode of Keroro Gunso; the opening and ending were absolutely hilarious. I’ll have to watch more before I can decide whether or not I like the manga to anime transition… though, I have to admit, Keroro’s voice is just about perfect.

In Real Life, there’s been little new in the local abduction case. I’m glad to see that the story’s starting to go national, as that might help.

Feeling down

This whole abduction thing weighed on me all day. I managed to finish off my special projects at work, leaving me with a mere month backlog of stuff to scan. I went to the weekly ballroom dance practice in the evening, but couldn’t shake my gloom this week. (That’s pretty bad; dance has never before failed to improve my mood.) Danced a salsa with Robin (discovered that it’s Robin’s perfume that attracts my reptilian brain), a cha-cha and a waltz with two random gals, and the last waltz (the hilariously awful—for a waltz—Rainbow Connection, sung by none other than Kermit the Frog) with Kristina. While that might sound like a halfway respectable number of dances, there were far too many songs for four to be significant. I did observe one guy with absolutely awesome cha-cha moves, though; I must learn from him.

And while I was doing all this, time was passing for Brooke. Even my questionably-optimistic 72-hour window (Marin thinks it’s more like a day) is almost up. There are still no leads.

I found myself looking down at my hands throughout the day, wondering what in the world they could do. I somehow feel responsible for this, simply because it occurred in my hometown, and want to make things right. There were so many people willing to help today that some were actually turned away—so I can’t even volunteer to ease my mind. Practically every lamppost on campus has a MISSING PERSON/ABDUCTION sign attached to it; every other street lamp is similarly adorned. I overheard one gal talking about it on her cell phone while walking back from dance. It’s horrifyingly surreal.

My town

If you were to ask me, on a generic day, if anything ever happens in Corvallis, my answer would be “no.” If you were to ask any college kid on campus the same question, at least 90% of them would answer similarly.

Yesterday, something happened. A nineteen-year-old gal, Brooke Wilberger, was abducted from her sister’s apartment complex near campus; she’s a student at BYU who was visiting during her summer break. When her sister left, she was helping clean lamp posts; when the sister returned, she was gone—but her wallet and keys were still there, and her bucket of water had been knocked over.

According to Without a Trace (and, dubious a source as a TV show might be, I have no reason to doubt this tidbit) there’s a window of about 72 hours after a person is abducted where you still have a good chance of finding them alive.

As of right now, about half of that time has passed.

This gives me flashbacks to reading the Barometer on Halloween my freshman year; the main article was on various “scary” things about OSU. Most of it was outright junk (e.g. the fourth floor of Waldo Hall being haunted), but there was one (true!) story that stuck with me all this time. Back in the day (before I was born, and I’m officially old now), a serial killer struck in Corvallis. Quotes from people who were around at the time painted a very clear picture of a campus scared out of its wits; males even formed groups to escort females around campus.

I now know 1/100 of how they felt back then. And I’m pissed as hell that I had to experience this feeling—shit like this doesn’t happen in my town. We damn well better find Brooke, and we damn well better catch her abductor.


Today my coworkers decided that the May birthday people (Joan and me) needed to get their asses in gear for the Last Birthday Luncheon. (In an effort to curb costs, the traditional monthly birthday luncheon is getting axed after this month.) My coworkers soon realized that neither of the May birthday people really give a darn about the whole thing.

Sam somehow implanted the idea that I wanted KFC into the group consciousness, and so the gears started moving towards gathering KFC orders. Once the list was assembled, they tried to make one of the May birthday people place the order—citing tradition, or somesuch.

Except that the May birthday people had decided that, if the others really wanted their food, they’d be willing to place the orders themselves.

This whole incident (I, of course, was the one who realized that Joan’s and my lack of interest gave us power over the others with respect to this lunch—Joan’s not that evil) earned me the honor of having Claude (or, as I like to call him, Crabby), placed at the entrance of my cubicle. Crabby is a plush crab toy, and the official office indicator that the person beyond that point is in a foul mood.

I was having a blast. I have no idea why I was labelled grumpy, though that too humored me in its own way.

The rest of work was extraordinarily dull and repetitive. I came in to discover that a couple inches of paper covered in small text had been dumped on my desk; the attached note indicated that I was to compare two lists of procedures (one list from the hospital, one generated by our billing system), to see which ones we had never received. So I spent my entire day looking down at my desk, trying to read small text that became progressively blurrier as the hours passed.

I estimate I only have a day and a half of this task left to go. ::sob::

Web hosting

For some reason I’ve just spent the last couple hours looking at various web hosting services. I guess I’d like comments on my blog or something (Comcast doesn’t allow for anything much beyond HTML and CSS), because there’s not too many other reasons to bother. Still, I think it might be fun to have my own domain name and associated website(s).

Doesn’t look like there’s any real widespread consensus about which hosts are good ones, either. (Hence the hours I’ve spent doing research.) I wouldn’t actually need all that much, so I’m looking at the dirt-cheap plans—making things even messier, because I have to sort out the legit from the scams.

Assuming that there are any legit ones out there, that is.

Faked out

I actually started feeling better yesterday evening, so today I tried to do something productive.

Big mistake.

I’m so tired that I’m going to bed Right Now. And Right Now is far too early for me to go to bed.

Mind Candy

Two links (to Ars forum posts) that are more thoughtful than my usual fare:

When did you realize that you are an adult?

Epiphanies in the maturing process

I’ve long suspected that this “adult” thing I learned about as a kid is a complete hoax. Adults are kids with more life experience, who can consequently handle themselves in more situations. The monsters in the darkness never go away; at best, they change shape.

The idea that scares me most of all—far moreso than the idea that I myself will die one day—is the idea that my parents will die someday, and I’ll have to live without them. I’m one who generally dislikes change, and one of the few things that has been constant throughout my life is that my parents love me and are there for me. It pains me something fierce to step back and recognize that my folks aren’t as young as I remember them to be.

Changes in myself have (seemingly) been quite gradual over time; a few months ago I looked at my arms and my legs and wondered how they had gotten to be as long as they are (not that I’m tall, or drag my knuckles on the ground). I’m haunted by the feeling that I am not as smart as I used to be; after discussion with others, I wonder if that’s more the result of not being as curious about things as I used to be.

I suppose I’d argue that “being adult” is something akin to taking responsibility for one’s actions and life; given that definition, I—as I suspect everyone, young or old, is—am a partial adult. I’m occasionally humored about how much more responsible I am than people who are quite a bit older than me; on the other hand, I do still live in my parents’ home.

I also grin like a loon while singing along to Moulin Rouge’s Elephant Love Medley. Some may say that reflects a lack of adulthood; to those people, I write this: =P

And as for epiphanies… I’ll have to think about that, some more. Katie once wondered aloud, on a UHC camping trip, what advice I would give to incoming freshmen at OSU; to this day I’m not sure what I’d say.

Back, but drained

So there I was at the train station, waiting for a bus.

That’s right. My train was four hours late, so they let me hop an Amtrak bus (!!) instead. The ride was rather nondescript (I mostly read the book I had brought along, Dreamcatcher); upon arriving at Portland, I elected to forget the local bus system and just hike to my hotel.

If you ever want to write a fish-out-of-water story, you might consider the case of me inside a Hilton. You see, my preferred dress involves jeans and a polo shirt; the average Hilton guest has a friggin’ suit on, and the hotel itself tries to create a suit-worthy ambiance. Luckily for me, I didn’t care—I was exactly one block away from the test, and one block away from both Subway and McDonald’s. Thus the Hilton put the purpose of my trip, and the sustenance to keep me going, in easy reach. For breakfast I had a McGriddle, which was actually quite tasty.

Lately, I understand, McDonald’s has been trying to give itself a higher-class image. Until visiting the Portland McDonald’s, I laughed at the thought; my local McDonald’s looks like a giant kiddy structure, and the food was meh at best. The newer structure in Portland was quite nice, and did look classier; even the people (both employees and customers) seemed more cheerful. With all that in addition to McGriddles and salads and whatnot, McDonald’s really does look like it could undergo the transformation it wants.

The test itself was much like the practice exams I took; my best-guess estimate for my score, right now, would be 32/40, with however many of the other eight I happen to guess correctly as icing. Though I’m sworn to secrecy about the contents of the exam (or, rather, they’ll beat me severely if they find out I talked), I can say that my darkest hour was realizing I didn’t know a formula I should know—and my greatest triumph was deriving that formula from the stuff I did know.

After the exam I hiked back to the train station, where I learned my train was a mere hour late, this time. The trip itself was again quiet (although something akin to a plane trip with constant turbulence). As you might surmise from this post—though definitely not from the long gap between this and my previous post—I made it back in one piece.

The delay in posting is due to the eXXtreme fatigue I’ve felt ever since returning from Portland. I’ve been plagued by a constant sense of being tired for the last month or so, and the stress of the trip and the exam just made things that much worse for me. Yesterday I was woken up to walk Yoshi (everyone else was occupied, and he had to go); today Calliope decided to do an all-out assault on my door from 5–6 am. Both days left me with less sleep than I really needed, and I wound up requiring Mountain Dew to accomplish the minimal amount of work expected from me. Today I took a nap in the late morning, and it managed to make me barely functional—a nice improvement over my earlier status of completely useless.

I did brighten up for one moment, yesterday, when I realized that Marin has a copy of Final Fantasy X-2 that I can now play without guilt. I also have manga, anime, dancing, Flash programming, video editing, practicing photography, disc golf (once Brian returns from Iowa), among other things, on my agenda. If I ever get my energy back, I’m going to enjoy the heck out of life right now.

Hopping a train

Third practice actuarial exam down: 30/40. I’ve found one more trick that I should add to my arsenal, that would have given me two more problems; the majority of the others were sundry dumb errors. I’ll never escape those… hopefully I won’t have enough of ’em to sink me on the real thing.

Tomorrow I’m boarding a train for P-town, so I’ll be incommunicado until Wednesday evening at the earliest. I get to assemble what stuff I need tomorrow morning, which should be both easy (since I’m travelling light) and annoying (because the odds of my forgetting something I need will be higher). This’ll be interesting, if nothing else.

This would have been so much easier if the exam was being offered at OSU, like it has been every time except this time.

I’ve been having crazy dreams lately, too. I wish I remembered more of them, ’cause they were more interesting than my usual; all I have, right now, is a vague recollection of a conversation with Steve Jobs. I’m sure there was more to it than that, though.

Okay, so the days weren’t quite busy

The weekend turned out to not be as busy as I had thought it would be. First, we decided not to drive up to Portland today to check out the exam location; this allowed me to put off taking the third exam until today. Then, today, we decided that (instead of driving up) I should hop a train up to Portland, jump on their bus system (which provides free service between where I’ll end up and where I need to go), and then spend the night before the exam in a hotel… which meant that I spent today looking at ticket fares for the train (versus, say, a bus ticket) and for a hotel near the test center.

Which meant that I didn’t take the third practice actuarial exam today, either. Hmm.

To top it all off, I then took an extremely lengthy nap. I’m thinking that this exam is going to be quite fun, if I continue as I am. Still, I’ve recently begun thinking about how life is going to be after I take the test (regardless of how I do); I’ve put off a good number of activities that I’ve been interested in because of this exam, and—suddenly—I’ll be able to actually do these things.


Busy Day

This week’s Movie Night movie, as selected by our crack panel of three disinterested males: Hell House. This is a documentary of Trinity Church’s (of Texas) efforts to put on “Hell House X,” which is—ultimately—an attempt to scare people into converting. (Trinity Church apparently started the trend; by now you might have seen “hell houses” in your neck of the woods.) The video was surprisingly interesting, and—at least to me—seemed relatively free of judgement.

Two highlights, for your amusement: one guy had eyebrows so thick that we started to refer to them as noribrows (think Amarao from FLCL); one line that people were practicing saying dramatically was do you really want to be your own sister’s mother??!

I dunno, perhaps the second line was funny only because of the cut done (think something along the lines of going from a scene involving people talking seriously to a scene where a guy is holding a sheet of lines and belting out that line)—but the noribrows were inarguably comedy gold.

Oh yeah—and then there was the last-minute panic about finding something that could be used to cut a throat in one of the scenes. A Christian-school teacher, who just happened to have a straight razor in his desk, came to the rescue—leaving me laughing at the “we’ll be careful!” comment said by one of the actors, and Nate wondering why in the world this guy had a straight razor in his desk.

Looks like today will be a busy day (some way to spend a birthday, eh?). I need to take the final practice actuarial exam, which will drain me of four hours and my will to live, eat cake, and then attend OSU’s ballroom dance in the evening.

(Yes, this constitutes a busy day for me. Why do you ask?)

My horoscope in the paper says that I’m in top form today, and will be viewed through rose-colored glasses by others—and consequently I should begin things that will lead to long-term happiness and prosperity. ::grin::

If only horoscopes meant something.

Email storage theories

While I was on my powerbook, I poked around at the latest release of Mozilla Thunderbird. I’m impressed by what little of it I saw (it doesn’t seem to import email yet, so I never got to see how it dealt with a bunch of messages). If I didn’t have years of Eudora—which features an archaic interface, but a sensible method of storing emails and a lightning-fast search—under my belt, I’d be quite tempted to try Thunderbird. Anyway, this new email client trial reminded me of some thoughts I had, long ago, when I chose Eudora as my email program:

It seems that email can be stored in one of three ways. The first way, which Microsoft Entourage uses, is to store all messages in one massive database; this is a pain for backups, as one new message means the entire database needs to be backed up again. It also means that if that one database file gets corrupt, you lose all your email.

The second way, which I first saw in the now-dead Claris Emailer, was to store each email in its own individual file; while ideal for backups, I didn’t care for the mess it made for the OS (probably just a personal thing).

Eudora struck the perfect balance, for me, by creating a file for each mailbox you made. (For example, I have my “inbox” for all new messages I receive, and I also have a mailbox entitled “inbox (2003)” for all email I received last year. These two mailboxes are stored in two files: “inbox” and “inbox (2003).”) No real file system mess, but no putting all emails in one basket, either. Backups are manageable this way, too, since archival mailboxes don’t change too often and so aren’t backed up every time.

Yes, back in the day I actually thought about all this. I don’t know what theory Thunderbird uses… maybe I should look into it more.

If you found this exciting, just wait for the day I feel like ranting about the stupidity of prescription drug importation! (This will, sadly, be rehash for Eric.)

You only think I’m kidding.

On a lighter note

You might note a difference in tone between this post and the one I wrote earlier this evening. (Reading that one first should give you half a clue what I’m talking about….) That difference is entirely due to this evening’s ballroom dance practice, where I was able to get away from things and enjoy myself for a while.

I feel strange, being able to switch between being hella mad and quite mellow in the space of a few hours…. It sounds hypocritical, and in a way I guess it is. The truth of the matter is, though, that these things will weigh down on the back of my mind for some time to come; this evening is the brief respite before the inevitable. But, for now, the respite:

Lots of people at the practice this evening, which made it much more fun than last week; got to dance with all of the usual people, and a few less-usual ones. Learned that Mandy didn’t need to have surgery on her ear (lucky!), and had just heard that OSU is willing to pay for her graduate study in the fall (lucky again!).

Saw Kristina (usually of my workplace) at the practice as well, which was a first. She’s an amazing dancer. As the traditional Last Waltz cued up, she asked me if I wanted to dance (I had stopped to say ‘hi,’ earlier); before the first step, I could tell that she was a cut above.

You see, the frame formed by your arms is the mechanism by which a lead tells a follow where to move. In introductory classes, everybody is pretty much limp-armed and can only dance together because only a few moves are known (and are thus assumed to be the Next Move). As you progress, the amount of tone in your arms becomes much more critical—are you going to do a cuddle, or are you going to do a turn?—and people eventually figure out that they have to hold their arms somewhat firmly. (I’m squarely in this camp.) Kristina’s frame was absolutely rigid compared to mine, and she also positioned herself further away and to the right than the people I’m used to dancing with.

I only write this much detail because I’m fascinated by the difference in skill levels, and how quickly the difference was apparent (I mean—before the first step!). I definitely haven’t danced with a follow of her caliber before.


(I’m disgusted that I feel like I should pollute my nice, happy blog with these thoughts, but… damn it.)

I don’t have enough humanity left in me to lose while watching the decapitation of Nick Berg. The text description (link also includes a link to the video, if you’re so inclined) was more than enough, for me. Key description:

The screaming and gagging is nightmarish. And it’s not quick.

What I’ve seen of the “torture” of Iraqi captives (Eric rightly points out we haven’t seen everything related to that) pales in comparison to this. And while that type of treatment is wholly unacceptable (one thing I’ve always wondered: who the hell was holding that camera, and why the fuck didn’t they do something?), and those who are guilty deserve everything that’s coming to them, it’s an entirely different ballpark from hacking up civilians and hanging their charred remains from a bridge.

Civilized methods only work with civilized people. And while I trust that the majority of the Iraqi population are “civilized people,” those errants—be them Iraqi, or, in the case of Berg’s killers, Al-Qaeda—also deserve what’s coming to them.


Tried a Fire-Grilled Salad from Burger King for lunch today. It was a good size, and pretty darn tasty; I’ll be back for another. That I am writing this is pretty amazing, actually: I hated salad when I was younger, ever since I choked on a piece of lettuce when I was three. (That’s a long time to hate salad!) I actually owe my salad-eating ways to Brian’s folks, who served me a small salad every time I ate over… after a while, I got used to it.

Saw a coworker who had gotten into an accident (with an unlicensed, uninsured illegal immigrant who ran a stop sign) over the weekend. Informed her that I was glad it took more than a car wreck to take her out.

Later watched a preview of the new Zelda game (link found at BuzzJive). Thought it would be nice if 3D games didn’t make me hurl chunks, because that one looked pretty darn cool.


I just noticed that, for whatever reason, my freshly-installed FTP client insists on binhexing every file I upload…. In short: while I thought I had updated my blog last night, I really hadn’t. Sorry ’bout that.

On the bright side, you now get twice as much update in a single sitting!

Old-School Video Games

Nothing worth noting happened today. I was barely awake to face the day to begin with, so I’m not too surprised that I don’t recall anything to write about.

I shall once again cover for my lack of excitement by linking y’all to somewhere else. This un’s a shockwave-based isometric version of the original Nintendo classic, Metroid, appropriately entitled Metroid Cubed (link first seen on Insert Credit).

The real problem* with Metroid Cubed, as I see it, is that the isometric perspective completely destroys the first major puzzle of Metroid: to get anywhere in the game, you have to first go left to get the ability to roll into a ball. That little twist threw Cameron and me for a hell of a loop, back in the day.

You should remember, once upon a time, that games were all two-dimensional. Many had all the action occur on one stationary screen (e.g. Donkey Kong), and a few actually scrolled (e.g. Super Mario Bros.)—but always scrolled to the right. Once you moved right, frequently you couldn’t move left again. It was in that world, in that time, that Cameron and I were stymied.

It’s weird to think that there is a whole new generation of people who play video games, but don’t know that they should love the Power Glove, [because] it’s so bad. These people have never been exposed to the idea of Nintendo hard. They didn’t cuss out Kid Icarus for jumping down and committing suicide simply because you pressed the down button one time too many. They didn’t become Ikari Warriors, nor do they have any idea who Lolo is or why his pushing blocks around a screen could be called an adventure.

I spent too much time playing Nintendo as a kid, as you might guess. I stopped playing most video games when they went 3D, though, as they almost universally made me motion sick. That was one of the best things that could have happened to me, as I am no longer susceptible to the siren song of video and computer games. (I don’t have enough time for my life as-is; I don’t want to think of how bad things would be if I still wasted hours away in front of a console….)

All of this doesn’t change the fact that kids these days don’t know their roots, and that’s a damn shame. Poke around the last link’s site, the NES Games (Rating) Archive, and see how many of those games you remember.

[*4/29/04 Update: After receiving a (pleasant!) email from the creator of Metroid Cubed, I realized I was technically incorrect, and was being a bit harsh and/or unclear in my choice of words. The issue of seeing Maru Mari is less an issue with the isometric perspective, and more an issue with the zoom factor—the initial zoom displays more than one screen of the game. Furthermore, it’s not that big of an issue—especially when you consider it’s actually billed as a “tech demo,” not a complete game—and so my word choice (e.g. “the real problem” and “destroys”) is a bit much. I originally linked to it more because it was darn cool, not to actively critique; my writing was more to segue to the rest of my ramble….]

Weekend Update

My computer is now up and running again, with (I hope) all my files back on it. A few straggling preferences probably remain to be addressed, but I can deal with ’em as I run into ’em.

Held the second weekly Movie Night event on Friday evening, which is a start for making it some sort of tradition. We were already suffering from similar selection to the previous week, though, which implies that a downward spiral in the quality of our movie selection is eminent. Indeed, this may be the case: we watched League of Extraordinary Gentlemen this time around, and it definitely wasn’t as good as Master and Commander. I’ll enjoy a movie if I think it is really good, or hilariously horrible, but I’ve become more harsh of movies falling in the middle ground. That said, I wasn’t impressed with LXG. Nate mentioned that it varied from the graphic novel quite a bit (apparently Sean Connery should have been in opium withdrawal, and the movie added a character—with major relevance to the plot—that wasn’t in the novel). The deleted scenes were entertaining, though: Captain Nemo in the front seat of a car, looking over his shoulder at his squabbling comrades, was a priceless moment—as was (in a different scene) Connery intoning “the boy has become a man.” [Think about that for a moment—it’s actually pretty funny, if you imagine it right.]

Retook the second actuarial exam on Saturday. My score, as fate would have it, was identical to my retake of the first exam: 34/40. I’m nothing if not consistent.

Woke up this morning to Dad making noise in front of the TV. Apparently Fox News reported that, before we invaded Iraq, British intelligence intercepted a call between North Korea and Lybia. In this call there was concern expressed that, if the US invaded Iraq, it would find documentation about Lybia’s use of Iraqi nuclear scientists in Lybia’s creation of nuclear weapons.

Then we invade Iraq, and—out of the blue—Lybia announces that it’s giving up its nuclear weapons program. Hmm.

Odd thing is that we haven’t heard word one about this after that first report. Either it’s false (though, usually, news shows repeat false information a few times before being corrected), or it’s been deliberately pulled. I dunno, but—if true—it’s definitely interesting.

Had a Coldstone Creamery strawberry cake for Mother’s Day, which was quite tasty, and then this evening we watched The Last Samurai. It joins Lost in Translation as a movie I’ll definitely be picking up in the future. (No need to spend lots of money for it now, when I won’t watch it again for a while anyway—right?)

Return of the G5

G5 came home today, and is now much quieter. I should no longer go insane listening to it chirp incessantly. As various forums noted, the problem isn’t completely solved—if I really want to, I can still hear a chirp—but it is so much better that I can’t really complain.

Now I just need to get all my files back on the sucker.

Stupid, stupid people

Wow. Eventful day, just not for myself. (Lesser people might title this post Headlines!) Former Oregon governor Neil Goldschmidt stepped down from his position in the state board of higher education today, first citing health issues… and then, later in the day, admitting (registration required) that he had had a sexual relationship with a fourteen-year-old in the late ’70s. Good Damn. What the hell was he thinking? Can’t people keep their pants on? Am I the only one who looks at college freshmen (college freshmen) and thinks “damn, they’re young”? This is the Oregon mini-equivalent to the Clinton scandal, except replacing “lied under oath” with “statutory rape.” Jeebus.

Speaking of scandals (I am a master of the segue), people in my town are paying $2.24 for a gallon of gas, and $2.50 for a gallon of milk. (How is milk more expensive than gas?) If we invaded Iraq for oil, as many still seem to think, then I at least want a piece of the damn cut. Bump being persecuted for something (from my vantage-point) we’re not doing.

And speaking of that war on terror, police today arrested a Portland attorney for having ties to the Madrid bombings. Though the CNN article doesn’t elaborate, local TV news was reporting that authorities found his fingerprints on a bag containing bomb parts—in Madrid. Nice.

Yeah, so I’m feeling somewhat caustic and bitter right now. That’s good, in a way, because feeling that way takes energy—something I’ve been lacking for the last few days. I woke up in high spirits (and I’ve already mentioned that being happy is typically a draining experience for me), though admittedly still feeling a bit spacey. I think I’m (finally!) starting to beat down this bug.

Cinco de Mayo

Here I am, sitting in front of my powerbook (yes, I still don’t have my G5, dammit), while everyone else in the world is partying. Even the ballroom dance practice was practically deserted; the only person there I really knew was Mandy, and that’s because she’s in the same already-graduated-but-not-doing-anything-else boat that I’m in.

The document scanning program we use at work has been acting up the last few days, and it seems to be doing that because it has too much data to track. So I’m now trying to burn DVDs, which is a painfully slow and annoying process, while the backlog of things to scan grows even larger.

In short, this is day four of the doldrums.

I think I’m just going to go to bed and hope that tomorrow is a better day. I have to get over this bug sometime, right? Oh, I did add a few more sites to my overly-stale Links page. I haven’t had to do annotations since high school, and they’re as time-consuming as always… even if these are for fun, and so aren’t annoying.

The doldrums of life

Ever have a set of days where you just can’t get anything done? That’s me, from Sunday through today. I’ve also been unseasonably grumpy lately, which has made things 1000% more fun for those around me.

It’s gotten so bad that I was hoping to get my computer back today, so I could be ever-so-mildly productive by reinstalling software. Of course, that was a big no-go. I should be back to full computing power tomorrow, though (results courtesy of on-line repair tracking). Of course, tomorrow is the one day of the week I set aside to be social in the evenings.

I wound up taking a good three-hour nap in the middle of the day, which was enough to stop being irritated and be able to actually smile again—it’s nice to be able to smile—but wasn’t enough to get rid of this persistent sense of tiredness that’s been haunting me. At this rate, I might as well just assume that feeling tired is normal.

I don’t have any interesting link of my own to pass along, so I’ll “borrow” one that Brian passed along to me: the Kingdom of Loathing. This appears to be a free online RPG with minimal graphics and plenty of sass; even if you don’t play (I haven’t, myself, yet), the introduction is an entertaining enough read on its own.


I either did you a great favor, or a great disservice, by not telling you to watch NBC’s 10.5 this evening. I mean, it features Fred Ward and Beau Bridges as buddies (linked movies are the ones I most closely associate with the actors), where Bridges is actually POTUS. It has horrible overacting, an overly contrived plot (female scientist with non-standard theories that might be correct? Check! Idiotic daughter? Check! Heroic self-sacrifice for the greater good? Check!), and the primary special effect appears to be really bad camera work.

Actually, the “shake the camera for instant earthquake” formula wasn’t all that ineffective. It was definitely better than watching toy cars fall off of a fake Golden Gate bridge.

Nevertheless, when a movie about earthquakes drags in nuclear bombs (I <3 NUKES!), you know you have comedy gold on your hands. My entire IM with Brian last night, after I realized that 10.5 was on, consisted of lines such as:


Brian didn’t seem to be as amused as I was.

No progress

You know, poking at HTML is more fun when you can also listen to music, and I have a pretty limited music selection on my powerbook. Even overlooking that, there’s the slowdown associated with running iTunes, Safari, and a basic text editor at the same time—it causes just enough pauses as I type to drive me crazy. (To be fair, the powerbook should have enough power to do all three… but it only has 192 MB of RAM, which is a bit low for running a modern OS and multiple applications.)

And then my parents came down to watch a movie. So, um… yeah. I have darn near nothing to show for this day. It’s odd to think about how closely tied many of my interests are with my computer (HTML, flash, video editing—the latter two to be more actively pursued after the actuarial exam) or the DVD player. (Dance is my social saving grace, but dances don’t tend to be held on lazy Sunday afternoons.) With my G5 in the shop and the DVD player in use, I drifted throughout the day. My folks eventually found me finishing a book I had started ages ago; they missed the pseudo-nap I took on the deck in the sun.

I don’t read books these days, and I really should. But, given all the things I should be doing but am not, I doubt that’s really going to change anytime soon.

Oh! desu

Took the first actuarial exam for a second time, as I had pretty much forgotten what all was on it and I wanted to make sure that I really could do the problems. Of course, the second time doesn’t really count, but I did score much better: 34/40. One wrong answer was a differential equation problem that I’ll never get (there seems to be one on each exam, and I’m just writing it off), and a second was a dumb mistake (I doubt I’ll escape those, either). The other four are the ones I now get to look at seriously.

Tomorrow I’ll take the second exam again. Not so much because I’ve forgotten it, but to make sure I’ve gotten those problems down. Then, in a climactic barroom brawl, I’ll face the third exam—my one remaining legitimate exam—sometime this week. (From the first two tests, it seems like I should be able to get at least 30 of the 40 questions right, with ones above and beyond that becoming more and more questionable….)

After trashing my head, I trashed my legs (i.e. I got stuck taking Yoshi on his evening walk). I took my iPod, which was the smart move I made; the dumb move was to let Yoshi lead the way. We got thoroughly lost in the back roads around my house (their layout gets pretty darn messy, actually, and I’ve never had reason to get it all straight in my head), and emerged on 29th Street some hour(s) later. Once there—a location I did recognize—I started making the decisions about where we headed.

(Sadly enough, until I got my bearings, Yoshi really was the better bet between the two of us. I managed to get thoroughly lost in Paris, four-ish years ago, courtesy of my lack of memory and sense of direction.)

Rounded the evening out with a few episodes of Fruits Basket (where a sick Tohru said the title of this entry). It’s still a really nice show.

Movie night #1

Just finished Movie Night #1; the numbering is in the hope that we’ll continue to get together to watch movies on future weekends as well. Nate, Eric and I watched Master and Commander tonight: good movie, and (for once!) a good use of surround sound.

I wasn’t sure I’d live to see the day I heard a really good 5.1 audio track that wasn’t from an animated feature (and thus had no problem faking sound from behind, since they’re faking the sound in front as well). The odd truth I discovered after I got rear speakers is that you mostly only care about the sound involved in what the camera is showing you; that there aren’t too many instances where there would be all that much sound coming from all around you (i.e. the camera).

Nightmare on Elm Street supposedly features a 5.1 audio track; the most I ever heard out of the rear speakers for that movie was a bird tweeting. Not unreasonable, but not movie-experience-altering, either.

Not so with Master and Commander, though. There are boards creaking and ropes groaning all over the place when things are quiet—and all hell breaks loose once a cannonball strikes. It really did make the movie more engaging, I thought.

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