Motion lines

Lots of things going on right now, but I’m too busy to really be able to comment on it all. Situations like this are actually the ones that would give this blog true meaning to me (when I’m in the mad panic I’ve been in the last couple days, things slip my mind rather quickly), and are ironically the very situations where I’m forced to skimp. Hrm.

But, reality is staring me down: I’m taking this exam on Thursday. Or else it’s taking me on Thursday. Either way, Thursday is the appointed day.

I worked some problems over the weekend (!), and I did reasonably well on them: ten problems an hour, with 23/30 of the problems answered correctly. (Random guessing on six problems might raise that score higher.) This might not sound hot, but… my practice exam scores on the first exam were roughly around 32/40, and I did quite well in the end there. My speed should improve further once I actually have the equations I need memorized, rather than trying to pull them from the black hole that is my short-term memory.

Oh, and the day after this exam, Brian and I will be headed to visit a friend in California over the weekend. Fair warning: this place could well be more dead than usual for the next week. Much like I will be.

Gaming Drivel

My (future) PSP is starting to fulfill the promise that Andy and I saw for it, long ago. Already there’s an early SNES emulator for it, and today Sony confirmed (though I’ve only heard about this second-hand, if not third-hand) that it can act as a wireless controller for the upcoming PS3. The PS3 will apparently be backwards-compatible with both PS2 and PSX games, which makes me happy.

(For some damn nice footage of what the PS3 is supposedly capable of, scroll to the bottom of this GameSpot article. Of course, keep in mind that Sony sorta exaggerated the capabilities of the PS2 before it was released… but that shouldn’t stop you from clicking on the FF7 technical demo, and drooling.)

The grapevine has also said that the Nintendo Revolution will be backwards-compatible with the Gamecube as well, which also makes me happy. No other news on that front, yet (well, aside from the fact that the console’s dimensions are supposed to be something around the measurements of three stacked DVD cases), but that should change tomorrow.

[Yeah, and Microsoft’s announced the XBox 360… but I’ve never been that interested in that platform, for whatever reason. Probably because it lacks any killer game for me—the me that gets motion-sick from first-person perspectives, that is.]

In continuing game-related news, I’m still sorely tempted by the Final Fantasy OSTs on the iTunes music store. Now that it’s gotten through my head that these CDs cost 50-150% more than their equivalent downloads—if they’re available at all—and since I’d hazard that 8-bit video game bleeps don’t stress a 128 kbps encoder, I’m thinking they might be a decent deal. If I want to relive my glory days of saving the world from evil, at least.


Eleven Ten days until this next actuarial exam. Took a look at some sample problems for two hours today: I looked at thirteen, found answers for eight, and was correct on seven of those.

My best guess is that there’ll be some twenty questions on the actual exam (though the exact number isn’t specified anywhere, as far as I can tell)… which means I need to beef up something fierce in a hurry.


An unexpected post

[Unexpected only in that it hasn’t been a week since my last post.]

Today I discovered that the iTunes Music Store now has the complete set of Final Fantasy OSTs listed. I think Apple’s just figured out its newest way to squeeze a buck out of me.

Inspired by this new development, I poked around and discovered that the Chrono Cross OST will be re-released at the end of June. Yay! I no longer need pester people hawking bootleg copies on Amazon’s marketplace.

And if you think I’m crazy for being modestly excited to find access to these old-school tunes: you’re right. I am. But listening to Golbez, Clad in Darkness still sends a bit of a chill down my spine, and Kefka still pisses me off by being both the most evil, and easiest to kill, enemy ever. Much more recently, the Zanarkand theme still strikes a chord in me—even if, as Andy says, most of the Final Fantasy X soundtrack is rather bland.

RightStuf had a Tokyopop sale recently, which means I just got up-to-date on the GTO manga (“Great Teacher Onizuka,” for those of you not in-the-know). Hilarious. I had heard that the story kind of falls apart later on, but—given a half-year hiatus between story arcs—I haven’t found that to be true at all. I stayed up late last night reading, and found myself crying, trying to simultaneously laugh out loud and not wake up the rest of my house. I know of no other story that so easily (and repeatedly and hilariously) crosses The Line, yet maintains its heart of gold throughout.

I never really watched the Amazing Race, until these last two episodes (spoilers eventually follow)—I’m not much for TV, and especially not interested in reality shows. And, actually, for the last two weeks it’s more like I join my family in watching NCIS (a surprisingly witty show), and then don’t bother to wander off afterwards. Anyhoo… it didn’t take long to figure out that there was the team of questionable ethics, the team of infighting, the team of old people, and the team of (for lack of a better term) Onizuka. I mean, these guys were steps away from the finish line (and therefore Cash Money) and they stopped to beg money off of passers-by to be able to pay their cabbie. This was the team that tried to help the old couple out, when the old couple decided (stupid! stupid!) to take a “brawny” task rather than a “brainy” task. They consistently kept their integrity, despite the obvious temptation to do whatever it took to win… and they won anyway. Boo yah.

The onion-chopping detour was pretty stupid, though. Amazing? Hardly. Race? I guess.

…And I’ve just discovered that this was actually the seventh season of The Amazing Race. Which means I didn’t know that The Amazing Race even existed for six years. GG, marketing guys.


Series Finale of Third Watch: If five-odd grenades made this the most explosive Third Watch ever, then I’m glad I never watched the rest of this show. The only thing keeping me from being bored to tears was the fact that I was browsing the internet rather than actually watching the TV.

Kyo Kara Maoh episode 1: This anime starts by flushing its protagonist into an alternate dimension (yes, flushing; down the girls toilet, even), and then surrounding him by poorly-animated pretty-boys. And then Skeletor flies in and grabs the protagonist with his feet. Hmm.

Otogi Zoshi episode 1: Unlike KKM, this anime was actually animated—and had a nifty air about it, to boot. It’s set in the past, with multiple story threads put into play rather quickly: the protagonist is on a journey to recover something, helped by a one-eyed swordsman while being hunted by many other creatures; a lord is poisoned, revealing major political intrigue; a wandering entertainer drifts into (proto) Kyoto, and seems to be more than he appears. My sense is that it’ll be a damn interesting ride… but, of course, this is all from the first episode.

The Incredibles: Yes, I only got around to seeing this tonight. Y’all probably don’t need to be told how much fun this movie is, because you’ve already seen it. Heck, your grandmother’s seen it twice. I know.

iTunes Music Store “iMixes”: Actually useful, now that (finally!) you have the ability to search for iMixes by their name. Sorting by rating or creation date was all well and good, but it certainly didn’t help me find new West Coast Swing songs.

Dancing: Fun, as always. I didn’t realize until Connie mentioned it in passing, but the two of us have a tradition of dancing the last waltz of the evening on Wednesday nights. Nifty.

Hot chocolate whipped-cream application: More complicated than you might guess. You will be doomed to a bad end unless you create a gasket (actual term!) of whipped cream around the edge of the cup prior to piling it on top.

Becoming friends with the people behind the counter at the Beanery: priceless.

Studying for actuarial exams: Overrated. Tedious and boring. Time-consuming. (Yet, paradoxically, studying has not consumed enough of my time!) I think I can take this second exam down by concentrated study on the topics that appear to be tested; I’ll let you know how that all works out.

With apologies to Blue Velvet

Mac Mini? Fuck that shit! Revised iMac!

I’m quite impressed by Apple’s new offerings; I’d even go so far as to posit that they’re the best deal that Apple’s ever offered… especially that low-end model. (Damn! If only these had been around when I was looking to upgrade…)

Hell, I’d recommend one to my neighbor’s dog. You hear that, Casey?

…and this is the most profane recommendation post ever. I should be paid proud.


Every time I think I’m about to lose my mind, I eventually reach a day where I can take a break and go dancing. And every time, dancing makes all of the troubles of my world fade away. Wednesday featured a dance practice where I danced more than not (rare!). Mandy made an appearance, and during that appearance made a hilarious discovery: the Obviously Gay Guy, who was/is overly friendly with both males and females (including Mandy, who didn’t think much of it because the guy was Obviously Gay), isn’t actually gay. She pointed out his ex-girlfriend, and his soon-to-be next girlfriend (I was already aware of all of this, but had been unaware that Mandy didn’t know), and commented about how uncomfortable around him she now felt.

Thursday’s west coast lesson featured a Very Nice Looking pair of moves (it’s too hard to describe with words: you end up putting the follow’s arm behind her back, in both a normal and whip step, and then spin her out at the end) that I can actually do, and can actually see myself using in the wild. w00t.

Once again, I’ve not been getting enough sleep. I know this not because I’m hallucinating, but because my arms are becoming exceptionally weak. As in “I’m not sleeping enough for my body to repair itself” weak.

Thursday night I had a caffeinated beverage at Jessica’s suggestion (we all passed, incidentally: the Beanery staff knew our names, and we knew theirs), and joked with Brian that I’d be up until 3:00 am because of it. (“Joked” because my Mountain Dew regimen has rendered me immune to the effects of caffeine.)

Except that I was up until 3:00 am that evening.

I didn’t stay up that late because of the drink, however; rather, it was because I was oblivious to the fact that Ars Technica’s review of Tiger was 21 massive web-pages long. Or, rather, was oblivious until about 2:30 and page 18… and at that point, why bother stopping?

Incidentally, that review is hands-down the most authoritative look at Tiger (Mac OS X 10.4) that you’ll see. I learned a hell of a lot from it, and appreciate my new OS much more because of it.

Speaking of new OSes: Friday night I stayed up late doing a clean install of Tiger on my G5. Six hours from start to finish (excluding time for backups, which I made earlier in the day), and I had a clean OS install on a freshly formatted hard drive, with all of my files and settings back where and/or how I wanted them. [I figure a fresh install for each OS upgrade isn’t all that unreasonable; it makes sure the OS is fine, cleans out the cruft I’ve accumulated, and gives me a chance to make sure all of my programs are up-to-date.]

That’s pretty impressive, to me. Clean installs used to be a huge pain in the ass back in pre-OS X days, mostly because I’d wade through the Extensions and Control Panel folders and weed out all the unnecessary things that were cluttering them up. Another huge reason is because computers Back Then were quite slow compared to computers of today. (I mean: this computer has dual 2.0 GHz processors! I’m old enough to remember a time when computer people had no need for the “giga” prefix—even to describe hard drive capacities….)

For all that time spent installing 10.4 and getting things just-so, I haven’t actually spent any real time beating on the new features of the OS. Yesterday evening Dashboard allowed me to—without moving more than a finger—inform my father that it was 55 degrees Fahrenheit and cloudy outside; Spotlight generously allowed me to build my own search query to find (on a whim) all images on my drive that were more than 1000 pixels tall; Safari 2.0 was just effing fast. These aren’t exactly deep nuances (with the possible exception of the custom Spotlight query) of the new technology at my fingertips.

Tonight, before watching more video game run-throughs with Brian, I discovered (I know, I’m slow sometimes) the Wikipedia Bad Jokes And Other Deleted Nonsense page. Check it out, if you don’t already know of its existence; it’s like the big brother that always wanted.

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