The Fetal Position

Urgh. I woke up this morning to find my innards were rotting, and spent the entire day in various states of feeling ill. I blame my coworkers, who seem to be rotating sick days lately, and my hermetically sealed office.

As the guy who usually deals with mail in the morning is on vacation, I volunteered to help out in the mornings. It’s amazing how much work you can get done when you bother to wake up before 8:00 am. Waking up was rather painful, however…I don’t know if the tradeoff was worth it.

We had an office meeting today, where word was handed down that my coworkers actually did make their bonus. This bonus was the last one the office was going to have, from what we had last heard; today we heard that the bonus lives on. I later stated my position on the subject to Marin in two words: Good Damn. [This is one of the many Engrish cuss words that one of the other teachers uses in Great Teacher Onizuka, a hilarious manga series.]

The new wrinkle, that convinced my coworkers to give it another chance? This time, the bonus period ends every month! That’s right! That’s it!

I guess they think they can keep up, if they’re forced to run forever. It’s too bad that, to (try to) make their bonus, my coworkers are all-too-willing to forego any other not-bonus-requirement work that might still matter in the overall picture. Ah well; it’s not my problem at the end of the day.

Also amusing was watching Marin discover that the foil to my competence, support-person Debbie, had once again screwed up a setting in the program we use. I still don’t know why my boss gives Debbie the trust he does.

Despite my impending illness and the work-related setbacks, today was still a pleasant day. The weather itself was a saving grace: outside was pleasantly warm, and the whole town was remarkably calm. At lunch, Marin and I stopped by the Clinic to pick up a prescription for Dad; while Marin went to get the drugs, I wandered towards the hospital to try and find a mailbox (Marin needs her PS2 rebate, you see). Turns out there actually is a mailbox in the medical complex—but it’s on the other side of the Neville Building, and across the street from the main entrance to Good Sam. Anyway, my point: I had a nice, short-but-not-too-short, walk in the lazy Corvallis sun, and it was wonderful. (I think that’s the only thing that stopped me from attaining my fetal position destiny this evening.) I usually miss these experiences, what with working most afternoons.

Eh, I’m probably rambling on too much about too little tonight. Guess I’ll get some sleep and hope that I’m not dead by morning. If you want actual entertainment, you might check out this extra-early review of Star Wars III. If you want even more entertainment, then have a look at this brilliant disguise.

Early Starts

I get to head in to work early both Thursday and Friday, so I really ought to be going to bed rather than updating my blog right now. Besides, very little happened today that would be worth my typing out and your reading.

Oh yes: it appears that my coworkers came in just under the wire (or, rather, the wire was repositioned slightly), and so made their bonus.

I heard on the TV yesterday morning that the Department of Defense spent $750,000 to prepare a “terror futures” market. This market would allow people to, uh, “invest” money in various possible terrorist attacks (“King of Jordan assassinated,” “Third Old Man Drives into Farmers Market crowd,” etc.) to try and profit if that event actually happened. [In some ways, this parallels the “buy DJIA put options to profit if another terrorist attack strikes the U.S.” strategy that I invented/implemented in my Risk Management class—but writ much more large.]

Their logic behind the creation of this market? The statement given on CNBC went something along the lines of “well, markets are efficient [meaning that, e.g., the price of a stock contains all information (be it public or private) known about that company] and so if we create a terror market, it too will be efficient and give us a clue as to when and what attacks might occur.” In other words, if “Maui Golf Cart Rampage” suddenly starts trading for $50,000 instead of its average $0.005, there’s a good probability that someone in Maui might use their golf cart for evil in the near future.

Soooo stupid! (Thankfully, Congress universally saw fit to axe the project before another $8 million got spent on it.) Just for fun, two thoughts (though note that my finance theory is a bit rusty, so I might get some of the details wrong):

First: the Efficient Market Hypothesis of finance has three forms: weak (“all past prices are considered in the current price”), semi-strong (“all past prices, as well as all publicly known information, are considered in the current price”), and strong (“everything that anyone knows about this stock is considered in its current price”) The DOD seems to have selected the strong form (the most likely to be wrong form) of the hypothesis to support its theory. The strong form would only hold true, as far as I can imagine, if the people who have insider information somehow act on that information (be it by illegally buying/shorting stock, or by passing that information on to others, who act on it). If those people don’t always act, then I don’t see how the strong form could hold.

Second: a market isn’t efficient simply because you call it a market! One prerequisite is a whole lot of people actively trading in the market—liquidity, in other words. The reason the U.S. stock markets are relatively efficient is because people buy good deals and sell bad deals, and therein settle on an overall price. Any arbitrage (riskless profit) situations that exist in the market quickly disappear because there are a good number of people out there looking for them, and once they’re found they’re exploited until the situation no longer exists. [For similar reasons, other less-active stock exchanges might really not be efficient.] I doubt this terror futures market would have truly been efficient, ’cause I don’t think that many people would have used them.

If this actually interests you, here’s what CNBC had to say about the story. Then again, maybe I don’t have a clue what I’m talking about: The Washington Post (you may need to forge your name and age) has an article by Stanford economics professors with a different perspective.

Damn. I really should have just gone to bed. FWIW, “Brent Drinks Mountain Dew Tomorrow Morning” futures have gone up 50% in the last half-hour of trading.


It’s getting to be the end of July, which can only mean one thing: the Benton County Fair has come to town. w00t. I may actually visit the fair this time, though not to have a near-death experience on defective rides. [I’m still leery of those things…many years ago I took a spin on something that looked a bit like this, except that the platform of seats spun around the star rather than just moving up and down—and my restraint device never locked into place. I spent the entire ride trying to create as much friction between myself and the seat as possible, so I didn’t go flying when the platform crested. Not fun.] This time I would go for only one reason: a chance to destroy Carrot Top. (Odds are you’ll want to destroy Carrot Top too, if you follow that link.)

Yes, indeed, the wanna-be comedian and star of long-distance dialing methods will be in town for our annual fair. I figure this is my one chance to make the world a better place.

…It’s a good thing for Carrot Top (and a bad thing for the rest of us) that I’m as apathetic as I am. Hell, I don’t even really know why I hate the guy as much as I do. I vividly recall having to see the awful box for his (I assume) awful movie, Chairman of the Board, on the wall at the video store Back In The Day. When I watched more TV, I cringed at his commercials along with the rest of the United States. Outside of that, though, I don’t have much on him. (I’m apparently not alone in wondering about Carrot Top, though—even Slate has an article along the same lines.)

In other news…Oh my. What kind of carnival game is this? (Look in the lower left corner.) Damn. Incidentally, I ran across that while trying to find a picture of the actual ride that broke on me; oddly enough, it doesn’t seem to be around any more.

The people at my work continue to amaze me. Yesterday they appeared to be well on course to attain their bonus (at least superficially) before today’s end-of-day deadline…and so they screwed around so much yesterday and today that they didn’t technically make it. A handful of people were still working past 6:00 pm today, the deadline hour and official “we won’t pay you for working later than this, so go home” time. Sheesh.

Mom and Dad took over the downstairs TV to watch Shanghai Knights this evening (they seemed to enjoy it), so I took to fiddling around with my blog layout some more. It may not look it, but I assure you that plenty of fiddling occurred.

I also discovered another reason why Internet Explorer sucks: it doesn’t support the :before and :after pseudo-classes of CSS. Had IE been up to spec, I could have changed my blog so that the date- and time-stamp of each entry were formatted as they appear now (“[date ⁄⁄ time]”) without having to type the brackets and slashes into every entry of my blog. As it is, I had lots of fun copying and pasting. Y’all better appreciate that.

Dan-su! Redux

It’s starting to get Real Toasty ’round these parts again. Ugh.

At work people were generally chatty, which was completely disconcerting; every other bonus period ended with the office universally stressed and grumpy. Though a good deal of progress was made towards superficially looking caught-up, there was still a good deal left to do and people didn’t seem to be throwing themselves at it…I wonder if they’ve already given up. Guess I’ll find out for sure tomorrow, when the bonus deadline passes.

After work I gave Eric a call, and we ate tasty A&W burgers and then took off on a short road trip to Best Buy. There we saw rows of About Schmidt resting in the comedy section; in many ways, it would be more correct to feature rows of Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure in the drama aisle. Anyway, our real task was to pick up a copy of DDR Max, and a cheap dance pad, for Marin’s PS2.

I now know how people have lost weight from DDR. Years of Nintendo have allowed me to develop passable eye-hand coordination; years of Nintendo have also destroyed any eye-foot coordination I ever possessed. [I can sit down for long periods of time, though!] When you can’t get your feet to go where your eyes tell them to, you expend even more energy than you would have to if you knew what you were doing.

I don’t know what I’m doing.

Put another way: DDR didn’t look that hard when they featured it on King of the Hill. I’m here today to tell you that little Bobby can dance. That kid has a Gift. Those people you see playing DDR in public places, such as the MU Rec Center, also have a Gift.

I don’t have a Gift.

[That last statement also applies to my belated birthday present from Brian, which he Did Not mail last Wednesday.]

Ah well…a few more years of practice, and I might not fail the first round of the game. Incidentally, today there was one other addition to the video game TV: a small fan. I don’t think it’ll be going anywhere anytime soon.

The Game Plan

My apologies for lapsing on updating my blog. Recently I’ve felt more like collapsing in a heap than updating my blog at the end of the day, and so things have slipped. I’ve caught up to the present in the last (i.e. next) five entries posted throughout this evening…hopefully that’s penance enough, for now.

Wasting Time with Comcast

Today I got up late, exercised late, and then spent the day trying to figure out why my internet connection only works half the time. As in “I can connect this minute, but not the next” half the time. [You might recall that this issue had appeared earlier, right before the transition to Comcast; it cleared up after a week of pain.] In some ways, a working dial-up connection is nicer than this spotty cable modem connection; you wait for both, but at least for the dial-up you know you’re waiting for something. [Yes, I know that dial-up has its own issues. Please excuse my brief, bitter, excursion into fantasy-land.] This has been another reason for my lack of updates, actually; something about not being able to connect to the internet makes me think that others can’t connect, either. Or, at least, I choose to believe that so I don’t get more bitter than I already am about this whole thing.

Mom’s decided that Marin and I need to start making dinner, so that we can fend for ourselves once we strike out into the Real World. Since it’s been so hot, though, our meals so far have been from the barbecue…hot dogs yesterday, steak today. Yum.

After dinner was garbage-collection (yay), chatting on the deck, and watching some Ranma, and finally getting my blog caught up. Now I get to try and sleep in my too-hot room. Whee!

Anime Impressions

Saturday was rather unremarkable. As my office’s final bonus period ends Tuesday of this (coming) week, a good number of people came in over the weekend to try and make the bonus…essentially making more work for me. I decided to make an appearance as well, just so I wouldn’t be completely swamped come Monday.

In the evening Marin and I sampled two more new shows: Risky Safety, and s-CRY-ed.

Risky Safety is about a girl, Moe (not as in the brother of Larry and Curly; pronounced “Moe-eh?”), who jumps to conclusions about the guy she likes after he (gasp!) interacts with other females, and in moping around calls up a shinigami-in-traning, Risky, to take her soul.

When Moe has a change of heart, though, Risky keels over…and transforms into the angel-in-training, Safety. The interaction between Risky and Safety, who share the same body and find themselves at the whim of Moe’s emotions, is absolutely hilarious. Risky’s Japanese voice is also quite amusing to me.

No, I don’t like it simply because Maaya Sakamoto voices Moe. [Incidentally, I just discovered that Maaya’s actually about my age. Cool.]

This time, you needn’t take it from me! Go to the Risky Safety web site, and find your way to the “Toybox” page (I’d give a direct link, but that doesn’t seem to work too well) to download the first episode. The show has a shorter episode length than normal, so the download shouldn’t be too terribly long—and they even give you your choice of dubbed or subbed.

S-CRY-ed, on the other hand, is an action/comedy. The addition of comedy, and a completely different plot, makes this a heck of a lot more entertaining than the manga was (from the little I’ve read, at least). S-CRY-ed seems to combine nicer animation with a bit of a plot, and holds it together by virtue of its characters. How can you not love Straight Cougar, a man who is (literally) addicted to speed? I’m not completely sold, but it competes quite favorably against the other shows I’ve been trying out—most notably Jing and Eden’s Bowy.

Chilling with Craig

I had an extremely enjoyable evening chatting with Craig on Friday night while wandering around old C-town haunts. Cloverland Park was our first target, where we found that the play structures had been completely replaced with a plastic abomination. The new structure did feature a sort of zip-line that we got to ride, however, so I can’t complain too much. There was an energetic little boy who liked to interact with us, and enjoyed showing us how the various “bouncy rides” (you know, like the pony that you get on and then…bounce/ride) worked. I postulated that the horse featured at the playground was not well-designed for an adult male, and Craig confirmed my hypothesis. I also learned that the famous seniors-only Last Chance Dance held at Harvard was “not sketchy at all”; sadly, I never got around to grilling Craig about toplessness in Greece.

After viewing two slugs post-coitus (it seemed…one’s head was near the other’s backside, so draw your own conclusions. I’ve seen slugs mating before, though, and it involved a hell of a lot more slime than was present in the park), we made our way to the new Riverfront Park. The last time I was at Riverfront Park was for the Fourth—a whole section of the place had been walled off for the annual Red, White, and Blues festival—so I was surprised to find that there’s a big ol’ water fountain in the park. The fountain consists of a wide section of walkway with inset jets that spray water directly up; the pattern of spray periodically changes (both location and strength of the spray), and the water is then drained via grates surrounding the fountain. Giant rocks surrounding the fountain form a sort of primitive stadium seating for the whole event, which I bet attracts quite a few people during the warmer days. The water was chlorinated (ugh), but it was neat regardless.

Craig noted that the benches at Riverfront Park don’t feature armrests every three feet, as they apparently do around Harvard (to prevent homeless people from sleeping on them). We wandered around downtown, and walked by the Platinum dance club; there was a salsa dance there that night. [Damn; I need to learn more Latin dances.] Craig was impressed that Corvallis supported a dance club at all.

Further wandering led us to WinCo Foods, where it’s never night, and the nearby Blockbuster store. I was greatly disheartened to see that the Blockbuster had become part of Beaver Nation, and now featured a giant Angry Beaver Head on the wall to your right just after you enter the store. The employees didn’t even bother to wear Blockbuster’s insipid blue and yellow uniform; it was as if they had been stripped of all pride.

Our wanderings ended where wanderings always end: Shari’s.

The place was rather quiet throughout our visit (we hit it before the late movies got out), but I did manage to see Molly, a gal I had worked with for one of my business classes, in a completely random event. I thought she had graduated, though…graduates don’t tend to like to stick around here. My strawberry milkshake was delicious.

It was definitely good to see Craig again.

Adventures with Niacin

Finally! This is the tale you’ve all been waiting for since last Wednesday!

The office I work in is hermetically sealed. I have three coworkers, give or take, who like to smoke out back. As time has passed, I’ve started having stronger reactions to something in the office—first clearing my throat more and more frequently, and now feeling as if my throat was constricting, which makes breathing a slight bit more difficult. As best I can figure (and as I’m sure my foreshadowing—forebludgeoning—indicated to you), it’s the cigarette smoke getting to me. It’s either that, or paper dust…though I’ve worked around paper dust for a whole lot longer than there have been smokers around, and have never had a problem until now.

Last Tuesday my throat constricted, so I popped some Benadryl to see if my symptoms were indeed the result of an allergic reaction to something. This was quite the daring move on my part, as Benadryl generally knocks me cold for its duration—and it’s not like my job features people with guns shooting at me. Things seemed to improve a bit, save for my impressively drooping head.

On Wednesday, Dad decided that I should try taking some niacin. Apparently niacin triggers the release of histamine (the primary agent behind allergic reactions; Benadryl is an anti-histamine), and—in theory—if I’ve already used my supply of histamine, I won’t have any left to give me grief when I come into contact with allergens. Dad had me take two pills, and told me to expect a slight flush around my head and neck when it kicked in.

Dad had forgotten about the part of the theory where you build up the dosage level, though, and gave me his already-built-up dose. Beginning dosages were supposed to be about 250 mg; I popped 1000 mg.

I turned beet-red. When I say “I,” I mean all of me. My extremities (head, arms, legs) started itching like mad, in addition. [I essentially triggered a systemic allergic reaction…not so cool.] I also got a powerful stomachache (dunno if that was related to the niacin, though), and a massive headache that pretty much kept me from opening my eyes.

Dad laughed at me, while making sure I didn’t react too much, and Marin kept calling me a wuss for not being able to handle two niacin caplets. She claimed to be able to take ’em better than I did, and even went so far as to offer to prove it, but Dad stopped her. That was good for two reasons: Marin reacts much more strongly to most things than I do, and she absolutely will not let an itch go unscratched. Having been through the experience, I can confidently say that she would have been one large scab at the end of it.

After a half-hour or so the headache and stomachache subsided, and I was able to crawl my seemingly-sunburned (and still itchy) body into work. There I started getting damn cold—the beginning stages of shock?—but somehow recovered, aided in part by the ninety degree weather we’ve been having, and made it through the rest of the day.

Needless to say, I’m staying far away from niacin and its ilk from now on. The one good thing out of all of this? I didn’t have any allergic reaction at work. Beyond the allergic reaction I was already having, that is.

Open Response Clarification

It seems that the genius of my open response was initially lost on both Brian and Eric—and so it was probably lost on everyone else, too. What follows are the instructions I provided for Eric and Brian to enjoy my open letter to its fullest:

  1. Read Brian’s open letter to me
  2. Read the GT editorial I link to (“grand scheme of things“) to get an overall picture of the other things I refer to in my setup
  3. Read Kulongowski’s open letter (“thrown down his gauntlet“), which I parallel to Brian’s open letter
  4. Read Karen Minnis’ open response (“Dear Meddler Brian“)
  5. Finally, Recognize (that I’m immensely clever to find a parallel, timely, open-letter situation to poke fun at and use as the basis for my response)

An Open Response

It has come to my attention that my esteemed colleague and frequent political nemesis, Brian, has thrown down his gauntlet in my general direction. At first I was going to turn the other cheek, as I really ought to, but then I decided that, in the grand scheme of things, it would be better if I put Brian back in his proper place.


Dear Meddler Brian:

I am insulted by the condescending and demeaning tone of your letter. I am an equal member of society and do not require lecturing from You.

I want to remind you of something you said just ten days ago: “Most of the time I spent flying around in my chair, which travelled quickly and hovered just inches above the ground. And the town was flooded out in one spot, so I was hovering inches above the floodwaters. Excitement and danger! I often have dreams where I can fly, but it’s difficult to stay up in the air. It requires supreme concentration, body positioning, and luck.”

Sir, what this person has so desperately lacked is consistent concentration and luck from your office. You have said for months that we cannot build trust with women by insisting on ignoring them, yet you and your minions have insisted on extortion techniques that leave no other choice but to distract me further.

It is time to move forward. I did not take the step that I did today lightly, but did so because it has become clear that meddling persons in Oregon and Iowa will not agree to leave me be unless leaving me be increases my activity level to support—what would be in these difficult social times—irresponsible levels of female interaction.

Your intransigence in all negotiations and your unwillingness to agree to lower, and more reasonable gift prerequisites have not helped the situation. As you have suggested several times in our recent conversations, I will now move my own agenda.




Last Remaining Known Pillar Preventing Armageddon

Details STILL to Follow

Argh. Dealing with my family, combined with a loss of internet access, means that my niacin story gets delayed even further—probably until the weekend when I might have real time to myself. Please don’t cry.

Really. I hate it when people cry.

Dad managed to reach/kill that crazy-fast spider that I described before. That sucker must have been pretty damn intelligent, as spiders go; it frequently hid behind our mirror, and when Dad finally closed in on it, it actually jumped to try and get out of the way. Luckily, it jumped the wrong direction—so I probably shouldn’t classify it as super-intelligent.

Marin got her PS2 yesterday, and quickly made me sick with her inability to manage the camera angle in .hack//INFECTION. [Yes, the inspiration behind my web site naming scheme is finally revealed to the world…odd thing is, I don’t know if I like the anime/game/etc. The hack franchise has good music, though.] Final Fantasy X went much better, for both Marin and me. Hilariously, I frequently had to tell Marin when she could control the character, since everything seemed cinematic to her.

Craig called last night, and so I’ll get to see him this evening. He mentioned something about topless laws here precluding the possibility of the elusive Corvallis Party Scene being able to compete with the Greece party scene…it’s obvious that I’ll have to pump him for information about this Exciting Development. Stay tuned!

Details to Follow

I actually have a decent bit to comment/rant about, but it’s late and I wouldn’t do my material justice tonight. I’ll set aside some time tomorrow evening (and perhaps relatives won’t drop by and then spend the night, further distracting me) to get things chronicled properly.

What’s to tell? My crazy adventure with niacin, mostly.

In more boring news, that I can get out of the way quickly, I got a haircut this morning. Yay! Another news brief: there’s this spastic spider that has taken (temporary) residence in my bathroom. It’s a medium-sized brown spider that actually looks pretty darn mean—and it moves faster than my eyes can track. (“Sheeit,” says I.) I really can’t see its legs move at all, which means that the damn thing jerkily makes progress along the wall while it doesn’t appear to move at all. Imagine a one-frame spider moving around in a Flash animation, on a computer that’s just a tad too slow to make the animation run smoothly. And make that spider mean-looking. And put it in my bathroom.

As if the niacin wasn’t enough for one day. Ugh.

Video Game Madness

Castlevania: Symphony of the Night might just as easily be called Super Metroid 2, where the attractive gal with gun is replaced by an ugly half-vampire. (No, it’s not a fair trade.) I really enjoyed Super Metroid, so…I’ve been playing a whole lot of Castlevania.

Mega Man X6, on the other hand, sucks. The game has the audacity to give you a grade based on how well you play each level—and it had the gall to give my brilliant destruction of the opening level a D. I suspect that was a Gentleman’s D, to boot: when I later lost all my lives trying to jump to platforms I couldn’t see, in a different level, I was also awarded a D.

The nerve of that game.

Of course, I play these things late at night. Combined with how hot it’s been lately, and I’ve gotten very little, and all of it low-quality, sleep. I’m waiting for my old friends, the hallucinations, to come back. The world is remarkably boring when papers never start dancing before your eyes.

So, yeah, my world has been boring lately. At work I started having (slight) difficulty breathing today…I think I’m mildly allergic to cigarette smoke, and the three-plus smokers working in my hermetically sealed building provide more than enough smoke to affect me. It probably doesn’t help that I live right underneath one of the primary vents of the ventilation system; smells tend to collect in my cubby and stick around for a while. As an experiment, to see if my troubles were really just an allergic reaction, I popped some no-name benadryl in the afternoon. I’d tell you how it turned out, but I fell asleep.

Nah, I was just mighty drowsy. (The benadryl seemed to help, if you’re actually interested in how I did.) That reminds me: when I went to Europe, many moons ago, I tried taking a sleeping pill on the loooong plane ride over. That stuff just make me incoherent for multiple hours; I never slept a wink the entire trip over. Benadryl, on the other hand…that stuff knocks me out cold.

Nothing New

I know my normal day is generally rather dull, but this day would have put my normal day to sleep. It’s still hot, I worked, watched a bit of anime, and played a bit of Castlevania. Woot.

At work my boss informed me that my Friday trip to Hell had been postponed, due to a scheduling conflict my arch-rival, support-person Debbie, had. Call it what you will—I know that this was a high-stakes game of chicken (crash scheduled to occur on Friday), and Debbie swerved.

Outside of that small note, work was pretty darn quiet. Fate herself actually had to play a trump card to keep entertained, and so the cameo of the day (in the role of Only Customer Who Walks Through the Door) was The Guy Who’ll Talk Your Ear Off. After enduring a half hour of pointless chit-chat, the gal who minds the front desk finally shook him off, and came back to complain that one of us should have saved her by giving her phone a jingle. Ha.

Ranma was good fun tonight, but only notable because one of the episodes featured a Martial Arts Ramen Delivery Contest. It seems that if you tack on “martial arts” before (and optionally “contest” after) any ordinary activity, things get a whole lot more entertaining.

Who wouldn’t pay good money to see a martial arts clothes washing contest? How about martial arts tennis? These events would be something akin to Iron Chef, except that there would be more metal involved than just a wok.

So I finally did peek at the clock for Castlevania: I only played an hour or so a few nights ago (the clock only tracks when you’re actually in control of the character), so I’m nowhere near as bad as I feared.

OK, here’s the deal: I’ll throw a couple bones to distract you, and then I’ll run away. First, here’s another random blog that looks nice. Second, something almost certainly inspired by drugs.


It’s getting too darn hot around here. [I’m currently in my room, tired and sweating, so don’t expect too much of this entry. My brain is barely functional.] I made mention of the pleasant evenings we’ve been having in earlier entries; during those (week)days, at least, I spent the daytime at work. Though I may have issues with my work, at times, one issue I’ve never had is with their use of A/C—the place maintains a temperature where you could work, if you want to work.

My house is air conditioned as well, but my parents like to hold off on that as long as possible to cut down our energy bill. Though it won’t mean much to you all, as you don’t know how far my parents will try to go without cooling, I note that yesterday we really started using A/C, and today we never stopped it. My house has three levels, though, and the third one (where all our bedrooms are) never gets cooled.

Yesterday was uneventful, as many of my days are. Marin woke me up to tell me about a free-after-rebate CD-RW burner (she had gotten it confused with a DVD burner advertised elsewhere in the ad) offered at OfficeMax; though I didn’t need it, I figured it might be a nice thing to get for Eric. We still have to see if it blows up his computer before he gets it working.

If I didn’t pass out yesterday afternoon/evening, I might as well have for the purposes of this blog; I don’t really remember what I did. (I’m reasonably certain I did sleep for a while…) I do recall watching the second episode of King of Bandit Jing, to see how they converted the second Jing story from the manga to the anime; they kept the story intact, but—humorously, to me—edited out the incidents of underage drinking and implied nudity (totally unrelated to the drinking). The anime story wasn’t nearly as entertaining as the manga story, which seems to be a trend that I’ve begun to pick up on. Chobits and Love Hina are two other titles that seem to have fared better as manga than as anime.

My worry: have I been collecting the wrong thing this entire time? Are manga generally superior to their anime counterparts? Of course, there are cases where the anime is better than the manga: Neon Genesis Evangelion is the one I know for sure, and I wouldn’t be surprised at all if Magic Users Club and Cowboy Bebop fall in this category as well. Perhaps it has more to do with which medium a story was first told in…

Last night I played a decent amount of Castlevania: Symphony of the Night before going to bed. I’m almost scared to see what the clock in the game reads, since there were at least two times when I swore I’d quit at the next save point—and then promptly decided that I needed to accomplish one more thing.

Today I exercised, which was both good for me (in the traditional benefits that exercise carries) and the worst decision I made all day. See, my body seems to become hypersensitive to overheating after I exercise—and today was the hottest day we’ve had as of late. Any time I spent more than five minutes outside found me drenched in sweat…and though I’m out of shape, I’m not that out of shape.

Tonight I delivered the CD-RW drive to Eric, and watched some digital movies his parents had sent him. Most were home movies—including events such as Eric’s graduation, his dog getting a haircut, and his dad’s project to make a surfboard out of wood—that were entertaining in their own right, but one was a hilarious episode of a show broadcast on a Hawaiian local channel entitled Da Braddahs. There were three characters in the episode: two guys who, though technically speaking English, basically needed to be subtitled to be understood, and some gal who sat silently in the background the entire time and tried desperately not to laugh at the other two. The entire episode detailed how one guy just happens to run into his old friend (in front of his friend’s house), they sit down and chat for a while about nothing in particular (imagine this blog as dialogue between old friends, and you have a decent approximation of the import of their conversation), and then the wandering friend plays the guitar. For the last third of the episode.

The guy could play, too.

It’s a shame he can’t talk.

After watching videos, we grabbed “cool treats” from the nearby Dairy Queen and chatted in the one section of the place that wasn’t blocked by chairs. I’m not sure what to think about shutting down the place before the place shuts down…it just doesn’t seem right. Eric informed me that he had seen Phil the day after I saw him, and that Phil no longer has issues with girls not liking him. I think I prefer old Phil, still, just because he was someone I could look down on and pity. [Haha—I’m just kidding. Good for Phil!]

I then came home to aid Marin (namely by providing her the password, since I am the Password Master of my house) in her quest to secure herself a PS2. That’s right: I’ll soon be able to get nauseated by even more-advanced graphics! Whee!


What a day this has been. I would have been better if I had just curled up into a little ball and hidden in the back of my closet, behind my shirts.

First, I woke up early to try and shower before a contractor showed up to replace a support post on my front deck (yay dry rot), so my head wasn’t firmly on my shoulders. Then I checked my email, and found this image waiting for me, created by my good friend Eric after reading my last post.

Then I received a phone call from my boss, who asked me if I would be willing to join a campaign into the depths of Hell next Friday. It’s a daring mission to wrest some control over our future away from my eternal nemesis, support-person Debbie. [Mission Objective: be trained on higher functions of our new computer system, that we may perform those functions in-house.] My only concerns are that we’ll be facing off deep within support-person Debbie’s home turf, and that I’m the only person on my side who is clearly on my side. I’m also the only person who has yelled at Debbie over the telephone. Despite these reservations, I agreed to go.

Will this be the end of Brent and his blog?

I headed into work, where I was presented with a few hundred refund checks to enter into QuickBooks. I’ve been entering refund checks for a few years now, and I’ve noticed the difficulty of the task has slowly been increased—namely, the ink on the checks gets lighter and lighter. Combine faint print with security patterns, fold into a general headache I developed from getting up too early, and repeat a few hundred times, to see the entire world spin.

To top it all off, then confused music starts playing louder and louder as the computer starts flashing text at me over and over: NO BRAIN/CAN’T THINK/KILL/KILL ‘EM/KILL ‘EM ALL. I don’t recall what happened next, but some guy from the FBI wants to chat with me.

Actually, that wasn’t the worst part of the day—by far. That dubious distinction goes to the events that occurred around 4:00 pm. I, weakened by my earlier battles and thoughts of the boss battle to come, wandered into the bathroom to take care of some business. I there discovered that the person who used the toilet before me (unknown, so I shall refer to him/her as Jackass from now on) failed to fix the toilet that Jackass had clogged. A fierce battle ensued. My battle. Against the creature known as “Jackass’ Toilet.”

I had foolishly left all my equipment outside, and so grabbed the only weapon lying around: a cheap $2 plunger. Although I attacked first, and my aim was true, I didn’t faze Jackass’ Toilet. [The $2 was almost certainly all invested in the wooden handle, I’m afraid—the plunger itself is a real piece of junk.] The toilet immediately counter-attacked with its most powerful move: Eau de Jackass’ Toilet. I couldn’t dodge the spray. At all. [No matter what Mitchum says, my deodorant wasn’t strong enough to skip this day.] I immediately went Berserker, grabbed the Real Plunger from the bathroom next door, and destroyed Jackass’ Toilet.

I then drove home, burned my clothes, underwent an exfoliating shower, and then disinfected everything I had dealt with.


[Note: Marin pointed out to me that I had actually been calling the mystery person who clogged the toilet “Jackass,” not “Asshole,” when I ranted to her at work. To be more true to history, I’ve thus changed my “Asshole” references to “Jackass” references. Also, a point of clarification: this happened at work, not home. At home I’d have advanced torture interrogation techniques that I could employ to determine the true perpetrator—which are sadly not appropriate for work—and thus I wouldn’t have had to resort to generic name-calling.]

I tried to take a nap early this evening, but even failed at that. [I wisely decided that today was not the day to call females.] Marin and I finished off the first disc of Geneshaft, which I somehow ended up enjoying despite everything that’s wrong with it. We then finished the evening off with Hoshi no Koe/Voices of a Distant Star—the 25-minute product of one man and seven months. It really is an amazing feat, and is remarkably touching…you all should search out a copy. Mike Toole was right.

In other news (i.e. stuff from yesterday that I forgot to tell y’all about), Marin has acquired color-changing contact lenses. Her eyes are supposed to be green now, but the overall result seems to mostly be a lighter brown. Nevertheless, it doesn’t look bad or unnatural…. Since these contacts aren’t daily-wear, we went to Fred Meyer’s after work yesterday so Marin could pick up some contact-cleaning solution. I, being lazy, waited in the car with the windows rolled down—which set me up to see a familiar face from the UHC: Phil. As in “why don’t girls like me?” Phil. He’s now sporting a crazy surfer-dude haircut (longer, wavy hair with—what I think gals would describe as—a great deal of volume). He and his friend (male, of course) were each packing a six-pack. I bet they had a better time than I did last night.

And that leads up to now; once again I’m on the back deck with the Powerbook, but this time I’m actually updating my blog while enjoying the evening. The days right now are a bit too warm for my tastes, but the nights are pretty much perfect—especially for stargazing. Knowing how today has gone, though, I won’t be surprised if I wake up tomorrow covered in mosquito bites.

A Legal Oops

To follow up from last time: Uncle Kracker sings a decent Drift Away. It’s definitely not the version I’m used to, but it still gets the job done (which is to say I can sing along to it at work, thereby annoying all my coworkers with my pitch-imperfect not-rated-for-singing voice).

I wish I could say that my absence from the web yesterday was due to various interesting adventures, but that would go against everything I stand for—that’s right, I’m also known as Inaction Man. Yesterday was as unremarkable as they come, save for my discovery that neither Eden’s Bowy (nicely detailed artwork, but no animation) nor King of Bandit Jing (nice animation, but no detailed artwork) is worth purchasing. Jing actually reminded me quite a bit of SoulTaker, in its sense of style and method of animation…but, thank goodness, Jing doesn’t give me the huge headache that SoulTaker does. Jing also features Kir, a comic-eyed bird—with a taste for women, of course—who possesses smoother pick-up lines than I’ll ever have. That annoys me.

Geneshaft’s third episode, in stark contrast, was pretty fun. Half of that, though, was my making crappy pseudo-guitar noises to mimic the actual guitar noise that is used as the opening song. I must say, I’m quite good at mocking crappy music.

It’s a shame I’m not likewise gifted with good music.

Today Marin [discovered that she had been on the wrong side of the law, and understandably doesn’t want the details posted—even though she’s not legally liable. She doesn’t believe in admissions of guilt.]

This evening I started backing up Marin’s computer onto my machine (it’s actually still going as I type this; 20 GB of data takes a good while to be sucked through a 100baseT ethernet network). I spent my time out on the deck with the Powerbook; it was absolutely wonderful out, and I had the pleasure of my cat’s company. Maxi pretty much just stretched out on the other chair and became dead to the world—and there aren’t many sights in the world more peaceful than that of a sleeping cat. Also saw Brian on IM; he helpfully/annoyingly informed me that he won’t send my (belated) birthday gift until he hears news of my contacting Eileen.

Guess I’ll have to get on that. But, first, sleep—I’m not terribly charming when I’m as sleep-deprived as I currently am.

Beautiful Dreamer

Today I had a breakthrough discovery: the song Drift Away wasn’t just sung by Dobie Gray, as I had thought—it was sung by Uncle Kracker featuring Dobie Gray. Ironically enough, the iTunes Music Store had a version of Drift Away by Uncle Kracker, but I never listened to it because it was marked explicit.

The most explicit thing in the song is the name of the band who sang it, I tell ya. Unless there are some swear words out there that I think are decent.

After checking the preview, thinking it sounded right, and plunking down my 99 cents, I discovered that there’s a difference between Uncle Kracker featuring Dobie Gray, and Uncle Kracker alone. The parts where everybody sings sounds about right (and is how the preview fooled me), but the non-chorus lyrics don’t go as I remember them. Drat.

Work had its monthly birthday luncheon today: Izzy’s pizza, and cookies. I had two slices, but they made me feel like tossing my cookies. Ha ha. I scanned while nauseated, which I think is one of the prohibitions listed in the scanner’s manual—alongside gems such as “do not bathe with scanner while scanner is plugged in” and “do not scan pictures of David Hasselhoff.”

I’ve begun re-ripping my CDs into AAC format, again. (I gave up on my original efforts once I got my most-listened-to CDs converted.) Somehow the AAC versions sound better, and take up less space (!; 128Kbps should be the same size, no matter what the encoding method), so it’s somewhat worth it—especially since I got a car cassette adaptor from Amazon today, so my iPod is now fully integrable with my car. Now the only limiting factors are the 2500 songs I can squeeze on my iPod, and the 13 gallons of gas I can squeeze into my tank.

During a CPM sale that RightStuf had not too long ago I picked up a copy of Urusei Yatsura 2: Beautiful Dreamer. It’s a twist on the Japanese tale of Urashima Taro, and one of the holy trinity of anime movies I saw on the SciFi channel on Saturday nights (the other two being Tenchi the Movie: Tenchi Muyo in Love, and the always-entertaining Fatal Fury: The Motion Picture). UY movie 2 was the last of the three for me to pick up (probably because it’s the least fun of the three), but I felt compelled to reassemble them all for no particular reason.

So, while I ripped CDs, I settled in to watch Beautiful Dreamer in Japanese. It really does work better, and the fact that I was practically asleep while watching it recreated the late-night feeling of days gone by. [Sadly, however, the SciFi movies used to begin at midnight, not end before then.] I miss those days, in many ways.

Though I’m anything but beautiful, I had a dream of my own last night. This is notable for many reasons, not the least of which is the fact that I rarely remember any dreams. Heck, my most-memorable dream of all time, had sometime in early high school, was only memorable for its (simple) content: playing tennis with swords instead of racquets. With rubber chickens running around the inside of the court. Every time anybody took a swing at the ball, their sword would decapitate some unfortunate rubber chickens, who would run around spewing blood everywhere. (The million dollar question: what in the world did that dream mean?)

Unlike my obscure rubber-chicken-sword-tennis dream, the point of my dream last night was pretty clear: I need to dust off my phone and call Eileen—like I was supposed to early winter term. […]

Wood Shop

My habit of staying up late is killing me, so I’ll desperately try to keep this short.

I’m finally showing work who’s boss—I’m fully caught up on scanning the important stuff, and so I can spend all of tomorrow working on the lesser junk that’s plaguing my cubicle. Still no word on a scanning successor; I think the realization that I was a hair’s breadth from quitting really shook up my bosses, and I’m not sure that that’s really a good thing. Ah well. At least I get to do work I enjoy, for now.

I came home from work to discover a box from RightStuf that contained Alien Nine (“That’s a whole lot of crying for only $22,” says Andy) and the Samurai Deeper Kyo LE box with disc 1. What differentiates Kyo’s box from every other box out there is that it’s made from wood. The show’s logo is burned into the front and back of the box, and there’s a paper obi (of sorts) surrounding the box to add some color to the sides. It actually looks quite nice.

Its only drawback: my basement now smells like wood shop. I had to open the windows to air the place out.

Otherwise, not much is new in my world. To keep y’all entertained, despite the dearth of entertainment from me, check out some fella’s site on things he and his girlfriend have argued about.

Now I don’t have any real experience with this kind of thing, but—in the totally unlikely scenario where I had a girlfriend—I suspect I wouldn’t be able to get away with posting anything like that. I mean, heck, I don’t think I’d like me doing that. Nevertheless, it is funny.

Symphony of My Weekend

The bulk of Saturday I spent helping Brian’s mom set up her new 17 inch iMac. Niiiice machine. I went over expecting to update software and fix preferences; little did I realize that there was also a printer and a scanner waiting to be hooked up. Scanners and OS X didn’t get along for the longest time, so we ended up downloading half (argh) of the drivers off the internet. Hopefully downloading the other half won’t be too difficult, since I kinda missed it the first time through.

Perhaps what was most surprising about the entire experience was how little I noticed the effects of a machine that should be about twice as fast as mine; part of that was because I wasn’t doing too much with it, and part might be the difference in internet connections (modem versus cable), but the final bit—I suspect—was the amount of RAM stuck in the computer. I bought RAM hand over fist when it was dirt cheap, and I think it extended my computer’s useful life something fierce.

The reward for my efforts was a plateful of brownies, which was easily the best payment I’ve ever received for helping set up a computer.

Mom and Dad had gone to Washington for a barbecue featuring my cousin Matt and his new wife, Iris, so in the evening Marin and I had our aunt and grandma over to watch Spirited Away in Japanese with subtitles (we had first watched it with our parents, dubbed in English). The dub was quite good, IMO, but I enjoyed the subtitled version a bit more. My aunt was impressed with how detailed the film was, for being animated (it really is! There’s nary a still frame to be found, unlike, say, Evangelion); my grandma enjoyed hearing Japanese—and she stayed awake and attentive the whole way through. Afterwards her eyes were shining; it was great.

Marin and I then watched the last episode of the first disc of Full Metal Panic, which ended with the most evil cliffhanger ever. (I was so glad that I preordered the second disc the night before. That’ll show them!) We then watched the first episode of Master Keaton, which was oddly slow and featured a much-older animation style. Keaton is an archaeologist, a professor, ex-SAS, and an insurance agent, who goes around solving insurance-related mysteries while critiquing the various artifacts he trips over. It didn’t really do much for me, though some others seemed to appreciate its non-teenage protagonist.

Rather than going to bed at a decent hour, I decided to try out the new video games I had picked up on Friday. Castlevania: Symphony of the Night really does appear to be something along the lines of a more-modern version of Simon’s Quest (Castlevania 2, for the NES), and looks to be an enjoyable way to kill time. The game begins with (what I presume is) the end of the previous Castlevania game, where you get to play a Belmont [the Belmonts are the traditional vampire-hunter family, in Castlevania] and kill Dracula…and then fast-forwards to “present times” where you assume the role of Alucard [Dracula’s son, of course]. Complete with this transition, though, is a complete change in the arrangement and display of the various status bars, as if you really were playing a different Castlevania game at the beginning. I spent quite a bit of time leveling up Alucard (yes, it takes cues from RPGs), only to watch the fish-men mercilessly put the stomp down on him before I could find a save point. Sadly, I did this twice.

Mega Man X6, in my initial testing, far surpasses Nintendo Hard. In fact, it appears to have reached the difficulty level of legend: Nintendo Sequel Hard. Games that define this level of difficulty include Final Fantasy II (J) and Super Mario Bros 2 (J), out in the US as The Lost Levels.

Oddly enough, Mega Man 2 for the NES was probably the easiest Mega Man game ever.

Anyway, you know X6 is aiming to beat you up when it features a whole bunch of spiked platforms that drop down and try to kill you—in the opening stage. [Aficionados of the Blue Bomber will understand that spikes are the most deadly thing in the world to Mega Man; they’re kind of like kryptonite to Superman, or Propecia to women.] I miss the old days, like in the original Mega Man X, where the opening stage’s most difficult obstacle was learning how to slide slowly down the sides of walls.

Once you clear that, you wade through twenty minutes of exposition on an ill-defined plot. The twist, this time, is that Capcom left the original Japanese audio alone and only provided their traditional half-assed translation to get you by. I had to refrain from laughing (it was rather late at night) when I read their translation of someone saying “X!” as something along the lines of “Eh-Ku-Su!” Of course, this is what you hear. Yay Capcom. (One might argue that this was done because that particular cry of “X!” was supposed to be dramatic, but to that one I say “feh!”) Outside of that, the dialog was no better written than the average sentence in my blog, the sun was not as hot today yay.

Today was e-double-x-tremely unremarkable. I exercised (!) in the afternoon, after chatting with Brian and reading the Insert Credit report on Project FF Dog (complete with videos, which can be quite entertaining). Post-shower I collapsed into a three- or four-hour coma, and then awoke to watch two episodes of Geneshaft and the skating arc of Ranma 1/2 season 2.

Geneshaft is a paradox: it simultaneously throws you into the middle of a large cast of characters and gives you a laundry-list of things you don’t know but the large cast of characters refer to repeatedly, and it moves incredibly slowly. The music sounds as if it were composed by a drunk man with a guitar fetish, featuring many guitar riffs punctuating long periods of background-music silence. The ending theme is about a junky camera that the singer is thinking about throwing away.

You see, we’re in the future. Humans have mastered gene manipulation, and built a new society with an ideal ratio of women to men of 9:1. Despite the gene tweaking, men (supposedly) have some predisposition towards destruction, and so the males that are around (and so far I’ve seen three males, and probably not quite 27 females) each have a woman (or is it a robot?) who follows them around. [Yet these followers don’t apparently do anything, ’cause one got shot in the head by the male she was supposed to be watching, without doing a whole lot. I dunno.] Despite the relative rarity of males, they seem to be in charge of everything—I know my ethics professor would find that interesting. Some gals with superb “Skill” levels are being assembled for some “S” mission; one of those gals is disparaged repeatedly for being “white” (they all have pale skin, so this is ostensibly something deeper than racism); there’s a giant ring floating in space; terrorists attack some exploratory mission to the ring; a dog types messages to its owners; the ring creates a beam that destroys a space station and the western United States. There’s a whole lot more going on than just that, and this is all in the first two episodes.

I’m sorta bored, sorta curious what in the world is going on and how things’ll turn out. I don’t think that I’m curious enough to plunk more money down for the next disc, though.

Ranma, on the other hand, was just plain, simple, fun. It was a nice contrast to Geneshaft, and probably benefitted from Geneshaft’s foil.

Ugh. Late.

I managed to pick up copies of Castlevania: Symphony of the Night and Mega Man X6 (yes, Brian, a new Mega Man clone!) at Costco for pretty darn cheap today. I haven’t played them yet, but I have high hopes.

Eric called me up tonight, and so we chatted over my strawberry shake and Eric’s Shari’s Delight, and then watched absolutely horrid movie trailers on Apple’s QuickTime movie site.

Despite the pain, we kept watching one horrid trailer after another. We also stood witness to the decomposition of childhood friends into cold hard cash (Piglet? How could you? The Cat in the Hat? Sacrilege!), and I think I became more worldly by watching trailers (Iraq! Israel! India! Random Legend-Bearing People! Victor!) than I’ve ever been before in my life. And I owe it all to the Cannes Film Festival, which—I swear—makes up an award for every movie that’s entered in the festival. “Winner: Best Use of Discarded TP Roll, Cannes 2003.”

I’ll be sure to thank Cannes, personally, for doling out awards to some of the dullest movies with trailers that I’ve ever laid eyes on…tomorrow. It’s way too late for me tonight. I’m not even sure why I’m updating this blog, since I told Eric I wasn’t going to. Probably best for everyone to just forget this entry, OK?

And, for the love of all that is good and right in the world, don’t follow the links in this post. Treasure the life you’ve been given; don’t squander it as I have.


An urgent telephone call woke me from my slumber at 8:30 this morning. Doc Brown wanted me to pick up the videocamera from his lab before heading to Twin Pines Mall to document his latest experiment. He kept saying that “this is the big one! The one I’ve been waiting for all my life!,” but I have my doubts.

Actually, the reason for the phone call was that LaserFiche, the document imaging software I stare at all day at work, wasn’t working. This resulted in mass hysteria and a complete inability to accomplish any work (surprise, surprise).

What was wrong? I’m not sure that it was anything that big; the server just needed a reboot to the head.

The bright side of being called into work was that I actually worked most of the day, and so I’m now actually current on one of my responsibilities. Tomorrow I’ll probably catch up on another of my responsibilities. I’ve never been current at work, so this is new territory for me.

On the anime front: I like Full Metal Panic. It’s not just because the show is nice to look at (Kurumi doesn’t look too bad, either, but did nothing for me), and the plot hasn’t really kicked in yet…so it must be that I just like the characters.

[Two hours later] Wow. I guess my neighborhood pissed off Pacific Power, ’cause we just lost electricity something fierce. I, like Brian, save my work fairly regularly, so the above entry was almost completely intact despite my sudden plunge into darkness. I was also chatting with Brian on IM at the time; I’m sure he now believes me dead, since I never came back online. (Thanks to his prodding, though, I finally ran spell-check on my blog…the results were such that I’ll be running spell check every time before I post. Ouch!) Though I might have been able to jury-rig an internet connection using my powerbook and a dial-up connection (if I knew what phone number Comcast uses), I had no great need to connect to the internet during the blackout. I’m not addicted to it or anything. I can stop whenever I want.

The lack of juice did cramp my plan to watch the fourth episode of Full Metal Panic tonight, however. Poor me; my DVDs are reduced to frisbees when there isn’t any electricity.

As it was a pleasant evening outside, and the moon was (we decided) 7/8 full, my entire family—including the cat—congregated on the back deck and chatted. In the distance we heard the screams of young girls, twice. Just as in a horror movie, we never heard them scream again. A bit later we heard a male psychopath’s laugh (sounding quite a bit like that of Jinnai, from El Hazard). I laughed equally loudly when I heard that laugh, so everybody else must suspect there are two loony people around them. If they only knew.

My neighbors up the street unwittingly became involved in a technology race with my family; they were the first to employ the use of fire, but we beat them cleanly to flashlights (and, therefore, electricity). To show up the cocky bastards, once and for all, we demonstrated our propane heating technology by firing up the barbecue—just because we could.

I should have made some toast while we were at it.

After the neighbors unconditionally surrendered […no, we didn’t really light the grill], I began my own personal STI project. What is STI, you ask? The Search for Terrestrial Intelligence, of course. I was only armed with a Maglite, which hampered my ability to send messages effectively…despite the paucity of equipment, I repeatedly flashed out into the darkness. I grew hopeful once or twice, when there were what seemed to be flashes back…but they never responded a second time, which leads me to believe it was entirely coincidence. No communication actually took place. STI was a complete failure.

Those SETI guys have it rough.

Cash Prizes

Lotto fever struck my office today, and so everybody who’s anybody threw two dollars into the company pot in the hopes of being able to give a two-week notice tomorrow morning.

Sadly, as I just verified on my photocopied lottery tickets, we didn’t even win $1. As a math major, I made a point of telling people that the statistics were that we were more likely to see money by sitting down and working than by buying lottery tickets…I hate it when I’m right.

The loss of $1 (Marin provided the other dollar for our position in the group lottery) doesn’t bother me too much, however. Yesterday I received my index-tracking fund quarterly report in the mail: in the last six months, I’ve seen a 16% return on my money. I bet you didn’t see that kind of return in your checking and savings accounts. (I sure as heck didn’t see it in mine.)

Annualize that, and you’re looking at a 32% return (APR). Considering that the average return of the stock market is 12% (APR), and the average EAR [i.e. the rate you would use to compound by if you were to leave your money invested in the market over many years] of the market is a mere 8%, I’m doing pretty damn fine right now.

Of course, this is all paper gains. Nevertheless, it’s pretty neat stuff.

The result of this success? I want to put more money in. I’m also kicking myself for not having put more money in, earlier (ha ha—actually, I’m irritated I didn’t dollar cost average over each month, like I had intended to when I began this experiment). Sadly, these feelings are the exact opposite of what I should be feeling; now might actually (though I’m just a dumb college kid, so don’t act on my whimsy) be a time to get out of the market—especially if the averages do hold into the future.

Ah well. Perhaps I should start dollar-cost averaging now, and then not open next quarter’s account statement. The whole point of my investment (and the method I chose to invest) is to let the market work its magic, without my interference.

Yesterday also saw the arrival of my Full Metal Panic box. I like it, but Marin says that’s just because it’s shiny.

I have to admit, I do like shiny things.

Work Grind

Stupid no-good lousy (in both senses of the word) people working on the neighbor’s house decided to start making big pieces of wood into small pieces of wood at 7:30 am this morning, and thereby destroyed any chance I had of actually getting an entire night of real sleep. I outwitted them, though: I shut my window and went back to sleep for another two hours. Heh. Stupid early-bird workers.

After exercising, and then discovering the only new thing on the web was this dance tutorial, I gave in and went to work. There I discovered that the scanner, my faithful cubicle-mate of a year and a half, was starting to make odd grinding noises.

I guess you might liken it to the way people start to snore (or snore worse) when they get older.

I then had the distinction of representing my place of employment to the people who sold us the scanner. I asked them if they had any idea what might be causing my scanner pain; though I (tearfully) demanded the best drugs money could buy, they only shook their heads and turned away.

In stark contrast to my scanner’s slow decline into oblivion, Real Bout High School took its own life this evening—right in front of Marin’s and my eyes. It was a stupid, yet entertaining, thirteen-episode show. Much like a kid in a candy store, however, it opened up twenty different crates of candy and then couldn’t clean them all up. The eleventh episode was noteworthy for being a recap (!) episode [Marin: “It hasn’t been long enough for us to forget all of this!”] that seemed oddly inspired by the legendary “Kenshin drinking tea” episode in the third season of Rurouni Kenshin.

One of the extras consistently included on the RBHS discs were dub cast “outtakes,” which means you get to listen to VAs say “Hiten Mitsuruugawd damn,” and then laugh at themselves, multiple times. [Only the dub cast for Magic User’s Club seemed to fathom the True Power of outtakes: they’re a chance to deliberately go off script, to serve one’s own ends!] Oddly enough, however, the final outtake of RBHS (I need to believe) was in the deliberate vein of those from MUC. The outtake? “Damn that whore priestess.”

Damn that whore priestess, indeed.

Britney’s Dance Beat

Today was pretty quiet, as summer days tend to be. At work I actually got caught up on one of the categories of things I scan, which hasn’t happened in at least three months. Otherwise, meh.

After work Marin and I snuck into Costco (though they check that you have a Costco card at the door, they don’t check that the Costco card belongs to you) so she could collect information about what PS2 games they carry. I counted 44 copies of some boxing game, and exactly one copy of Britney’s Dance Beat. Britney’s worth 3 1/2 stars at Amazon; because I went to the trouble of learning that, I also learned that there are only five songs in the game—that’s only $8 a song!—and ten dance patterns to learn. [By way of comparison, the PS2 Dance Dance Revolution has 60 songs, and has the same MSRP.]

Amazon’s product description totally smooths over the game’s minimal playlist, noting that “Britney’s Dance Beat includes your favorite Britney songs, such as ‘Oops…I Did It Again,’ ‘…Baby One More Time,’ ‘I’m a Slave 4 U,’ and others.”

I totally wish I had picked up that copy.

After infiltrating the compound and sabotaging the enemy’s nuclear laser visiting Costco, Marin and I watched the third disc in the Real Bout High School tetralogy. The series continues to be rather entertaining, once you understand that “plot” is simply a four-letter word that is to be used and discarded at whim. It, so far, really doesn’t deserve the bum reputation it has; I’ve watched other shows that treated their plots similarly, and yet were an absolute bore to watch. Anybody remember Garzy’s Wing? I didn’t think so.

Post-RBHS, I decided to implement some CSS techniques I learned creating the //Links page on this ‘ere //Blog page. Successfully doing so meant that I worked around a rendering bug introduced in Safari’s 1.0 release (i.e. I could enjoy the way my blog looks), and that an annoying horizontal scrollbar would no longer appear in IE:mac (thereby making the page more friendly for at least a third of my original readership). Making the change was rather trivial…except that windows IE wouldn’t play along. At all. I fought it for hours, and it’s the only reason I’m up so damn late tonight. (Again! This late-night thing is killing me.) I did succeed in the end, I think.

I so should have been practicing my moves on “…Baby One More Time” instead.

Zombies Over Chicken

Had quite an enjoyable time at Andy’s this weekend. I left about 2:00 pm yesterday, had an easy drive up, and was greeted by Andy yelling down from his window. Greg let me in, and I headed upstairs…although I had parked behind a white Carolla, I didn’t quite put two and two together until I saw Matt fiddling with Andy’s “MePod.” Matt gave me one of his new business cards; turns out he’s working for some company that has come into existence because of HIPAA (a health insurance privacy law, which has started to make itself felt at my work).

After more iPod fiddling and watching Andy get kicked, and then kick back (all pretty quickly) in Warcraft III, Matt took off. Sometime here I had some watermelon with Andy’s family, and the discussion somehow turned to chicken feet. Andy and his mom were discussing how some people would (!) fry ’em to gnaw on; Greg then interjected from the couch, “but they’re chicken feet!” Andy then made a comment about how the business major had finally figured out the topic of discussion; I pointed out that Greg had, in my opinion, found the relevant points of the topic.

Andy and I then went out to find a copy of the Bebop movie—he had tried to pick up a copy at Fry’s earlier, but they were apparently sold out—as well as some foodstuffs to throw on the barbecue. After striking out at Fred Meyer’s, whose electronics department layout is mirror-opposite that of the Albany Fred’s, we won at Circuit City. The Cowboy Bebop movie was not in the anime section, however; it was in action. Right next to (the anime version of) Chobits.

Circuit City also uses double-wide receipts, for no discernible reason.

After securing our evening’s entertainment, we hit WinCo Foods. The store layout is almost exactly identical to my local WinCo, which really threw me for a loop. (“I didn’t just drive north for an hour and a half to arrive back home, did I?”)

We returned to find Nick trying to get into Andy’s garage to find some charcoal briquettes for the barbecue. After lighting the flame, we kicked back in the kitchen; Andy and Nick had a beer [to which Eric says “!?”], and then started chanting “drink drink drink” to try and get me to drink one, too. I instead pulled out a “Tropical Sprite Remix.” I gathered it wasn’t too popular in L.O., as it was the same Tropical Sprite Remix as had been available at graduation.

The doorbell rings, and Andy comments that he hopes it’s Tammy, so they can repeat their chant for her. It was Tammy, and so Andy and Nick started up their chant again; I joined in for kicks. [It seems that Tammy’s appearance was also related to Matt’s disappearance earlier, FWIW. Breakups aren’t fun.]

Talk ensues, from the fact that when Rascal (Andy’s large dog) naps you can pretty much do anything to him—illustrated by Andy repeatedly lifting up and dropping one of Rascal’s paws—to Nick’s lawyer-ish work. Andy makes some comment about “if [Nick] keeps this up, [Andy would] be libel to slander him.” Only Andy laughs.

Nate materializes quietly at some point, and Kevin and Lisa show up soon after. We sit out on the back deck and chat as Andy puts chicken on the grill. Nick says that he and Neil were thinking of going to see 28 Days Later, the new zombie movie, sometime Sunday. He then goes on to say that the worst criticism of the movie seems to be that “it doesn’t advance the zombie genre.” We then discuss what might “advance the zombie genre”: Nick suggests that it might be the zombies becoming more picky about what brains they eat—”grr! not smart enough!”—and Kevin adds that the Grade D brain would be relegated to prisons and schools. I had a different train of thought, though, and have a brilliantly simple way to advance the zombie genre: Zombie Shakespeare.

Just think about that for a minute. It’s hilarious.

Andy’s barbecue chicken sandwiches were delicious, and the company was exquisite. After dinner we went upstairs to watch our hard-won Bebop movie, which looked really nice on an HDTV. It’s a fun movie, and people seemed to enjoy it.

People started drifting away after the movie, and soon it was just Andy, Nate, Tammy, and me. Some ice cream and a game of Hearts sprung up, and despite my eating 20 points the first round and dishing the queen to myself on a couple occasions, I didn’t lose. Andy and Tammy both went out in the same hand, and Nate silently whipped us all.

Tammy bid us adieu after her defeat, so we fell back on the PS2 and played some Capcom vs. SNK 2, followed by Guilty Gear X2. As the two games have almost no controls in common, the switch threw us all. I’m happy to say that Andy’s Jam is no longer the top of the heap; my EX-May handily trashes all comers. Heh. I even defeated Potempkin with Axl, which had to be embarrassing for Andy.

Greg had his girlfriend Rachel over as well, and so (as they retired long before we did) Rachel took the guest room and the air mattress that I usually use. I got to sleep on Andy’s floor, which actually wasn’t too bad; his room has a ceiling fan, and that kept the air circulating nicely.

This morning we discovered that it was Greg who pilfered the air mattress and guest room (Rachel used Greg’s room). Ah well. Andy’s parents made a nice breakfast for us all, and afterwards Andy and I played a bit more Guilty Gear, took Rascal out to run around in the grass, and then visited the Washington Square Mall in search of a new hat for Andy. (His old one was lost last weekend—you might recall the California trip I had been invited to join—on the first roller coaster he rode.)

Portland department stores, and by extension Portland department store patrons, seem to favor Oregon over OSU. Inexcusable. Suncoast had a sizable collection of anime DVDs, almost all marked at retail; Electronics Boutique had (per Andy) a plethora of used Harry Potter Gameboy Advance games.

Once we declared defeat in our quest, and just before I headed home, Andy showed the Azumanga Daioh Very Short Movie (which is kind of a five-minute remake of the first episode, with a heavy coat of gloss on everything) and an episode of Azumanga Web Daioh. Yes, Web Daioh does exist! The episode I saw was a film of the class, created for a time capsule, and so was entirely shown through the lens of the camera—a fun twist.

I love Azumanga Daioh.

Headin’ to L.O.

Well, I’m off to go visit Andy for the day. Get to eat barbecue and chat with friends, and then watch the Cowboy Bebop movie. (^_^)

Brian has keenly observed that my SaiKano fears are still rather unsubstantiated; I have no real evidence that it’s been licensed, and even if it has I have no evidence that the license would be announced at Anime Expo.

The early Truth, though, may be that Brian’s right. It appears (from their website) that Funimation has licensed Detective Conan, a 300+ episode series about a 19 year old man transformed into a little kid who goes around solving mysteries. Murder mysteries. Complete with bodies and gunshot (or whatever) wounds shown. It’s like Scooby Doo on steroids. Kinda fun, actually.

Given that, maybe Funimation doesn’t have SaiKano. Also given that, it probably doesn’t matter who licenses SaiKano; now that both Hikari no Go (an anime about playing the game Go) and Detective Conan are both coming over to the US, the End Times are nigh upon us.

Anyhoo, no update tonight. If I survive the Interstate, and the End Times, then I’ll probably be back sometime Sunday. Enjoy your weekend!


In the great words of Bill Pullman, “Today is the day we celebrate our Independence Day.”

I personally celebrated by looking for updates from Anime Expo (essentially no titles were licensed that I care about, so there’s no need for the mass linkage I had feared earlier) and taking a nap. It was quite patriotic.

It was more an independence day for my wallet than anything else, in light of the dearth of interesting licenses; the fewer titles the studios release that I care about, the more money I have. Yay! Most disturbing is what wasn’t announced today: SaiKano, which I blogged about previously. Apparently none of the major studios (Pioneer, ADV, Bandai, Media Blasters) have it; by process of elimination (with a small amount of guessing), one arrives at the conclusion that Funimation must have it.

Funimation, if you were unaware, is the fine company that brings us DragonBall Z.

Actually, to be fair, they’ve done a few other series as well—including the highly regarded Fruits Basket—and the only issue people have had with those releases is with their translation (namely it being too stiff, as I understand). Considering the show is in a foreign language, though, that could be a pretty big problem. We’ll see, tomorrow.

This evening Eric and I did the Only Thing To Do In Corvallis On The Fourth Of July: go out to the bridges downtown and watch the fireworks. The show was nice, if not similar to the show every other year, and even included some new types of fireworks. (Though they were different enough to register as “new” to me, they weren’t different enough for me to bother remembering what was different about them. Well, that’s not quite true: there was a giant yellow sphere, a giant sphere with many colors—red, blue, green, yellow, etc.—and a white one with many little mini-fireworks that all spun around in tight circles.)

More notable than the show was Riverfront Park; it is now quite the pleasant place to hang out. There were a large number of families with young children roaming along the wide path that’s been constructed along the length of the park, and a good number of elderly people who had staked out parts of the nice, green, grassy fields that run alongside the path. The path even continues under the two bridges in and out of town; it’s rather creepy to be underneath an old wooden bridge when a car drives on it. The bridges weren’t as crowded as they have historically been, simply because many more people elected to stay back and sit in the park.

For those of you who don’t know, Riverfront Park used to be a sea of cement and dirt. You would typically see at most four people in the park, all of whom would be slack-jawed skateboarder types. Ordinary folk didn’t spend too much time there, and especially didn’t hang around when it got dark. The change has been dramatic, and definitely for the better.

Eric and I did note, however, that the college-age demographic was sorely underrepresented in our non-scientific survey of the people. The giant speakers by the river blared out, before the show, such patriotic tunes as the Bangle’s “Walk Like an Egyptian” and Thomas Dolby’s “She Blinded Me With Science.” (The fare became more traditional once the fireworks started flying.) The group of kids—yeah, I’m now old enough to call some people “kids”—to our right had some type of minor popping firecracker, and were throwing them at each other in between making various references to boobs (“If one of those hits me in the boob, I’m gonna be pissed” “Nah, boob’s too soft for [the firecracker]”; “show [cars passing by] your boobs!” “don’t tempt me, ’cause I will!”; etc.). The guy and gal behind us constantly oohed at each firework, especially once they noticed the (quite nice) reflections that the fireworks had in the river. A quartet of ducks passed calmly underneath the bridge. The people behind the Super 8 kept setting off illegal fireworks that sometimes rivaled those of the Jaycees.

The Corvallis Police Department sent a couple guys to tackle the offenders, who were quite drunk and belligerent about the entire ordeal. Everybody else just laughed.

Okay, I made that last part up.

Extreme Pain

The Tin Man in The Wizard of Oz moved better than I’m moving today. My body is making sure I pay for the exercise I put it through yesterday, and consequently stairs (going up or down) and chairs (getting out of) are somewhat vexing.

I guess that means I better exercise again tomorrow. Bwa ha ha! Take that, body!

Last night I stayed up late to watch the animated end of Rurouni Kenshin. (Kenshin is the tale of a assassin/swordsman, Himura Kenshin, in Meiji-era Japan who had killed many while fighting for the Meiji reformation…and then swore he would never kill again. From that time on he wielded a “reverse-blade” sword to protect those people around him, as penance for those he had killed.) There are three major pieces of animation in the Kenshin world (there’s also a movie, but it’s rather unimportant): the first OVA (consisting of “Trust” and “Betrayal”), the TV series, and the second OVA (“Reflection”).

Trust and Betrayal tell the tale of Kenshin as an assassin, and the sorrow that brings to him; it’s the setup for the rest of the story. The TV series tells of Kenshin’s redemption through helping others; its message seems to be that, no matter what you’ve done, so long as you live, you can work to atone your sins.

Reflection’s message seems to be that, even if you spend your life seeking atonement, your sins will always haunt you. Although it’s probably the more realistic of the two views, I much prefer the TV series’ more optimistic slant.

I fear Reflection’s view, actually. I have enough stuff that haunts me when I’m lying in my bed not sleeping at three a.m., despite the fact that I’ve lead a pretty darn clean life. The idea that some of this stuff might haunt me until I die is rather unsettling; the idea that I might do something else that haunts me until I die is even moreso. Taken to the extreme, I could see how these fears might become paralyzing.

Of course, not doing anything fails to be an option. I have more than my fair share of demons plaguing me simply because I didn’t do something when I, in retrospect, probably should have.

Aw, heck. Regardless of my own issues, the Rurouni Kenshin TV series is a great show; I highly recommend it.

In more amusing news, convention-goers at Anime Expo report that the various studio booths are pimping warez for titles they haven’t announced they own. Good money is on Bandai having Wolf’s Rain and a bunch of other titles I don’t care about. Media Blasters probably has Gunparade March, which I know absolutely nothing about. Central Park Media has Narue no Sekai, though Tempy didn’t think much of it in the end.

Many of the official announcements come tomorrow, so y’all can look forward to a link-filled Fourth of July post at some point. I’m sure you’re thrilled.

I’m a fool

I actually jogged on the treadmill today, rather than my norm of fast walking. As a result of this folly, I’ve ascertained three things: 1) You can’t read a book while jogging 2) Yes, I am that weak and 3) I am a fool.

I completely countered my exercise by eating lunch at A&W, where—I’m sad to say—the guy at the register seemed to recognize me. I’ve only eaten lunch there three times, but those times the joint had been pretty quiet, and so I must have stood out. At least, I hope that’s all it was.

Work seemed like any other day: a random project was given to Marin, who passed it off on me; I scanned more pages than I want to think about (I’ve used up 86% of the scanner’s life, as measured by the scanner’s counter and when it’ll roll over to 0 again); I found an uncashed check in one of our “scan and toss” piles…the usual. When I went to the break room to get some water, though, I noticed an odd man out back sunning himself in front of a vast field of pea plants (which most certainly had not been there earlier), and occasionally jotting some data into a notebook.

The odd man then noticed that I had noticed him. His eyes glowed a bright orange, and what little hair he had stood on end; behind him, the field of pea plants erupted as a field of pea plant monsters unearthed themselves.

It was then that I realized what was going on: one of my numerous enemies had acquired DNA from the Austrian monk Gregor Mendel, and used it to bring the man back from the dead—this time with dreadful special abilities.

I’ll spare you the gory details—I really hate peas—but I wouldn’t bet that ol’ Greg will be updating his blog anytime soon.

Okay, okay, so I made that last part up. Actually, I didn’t really make it up so much as embellished on the premise of the first half of the first episode of Read or Die. The plot (no joke!) involves a mysterious enemy bringing people back from the dead, with “dreadful special abilities” that relate to that person’s life work. Ha ha. Dreadful special abilities. Despite, or perhaps because of, this, ROD looks like it’ll be a lot of fun.

Tonight I got sucked into a message board thread about plasma TVs. Since I aim to be a college graduate in under a year, and ostensibly will be fending for myself soon after, I’ll need a TV of my own of some sort…and the small size of plasma is rather tempting. Also tempting is a projector, which would be even easier to transport. And costs should come down some before I’d really need either, so…. I guess I have more in common with the average raccoon than I’d like to think. Oooh. Shiny! It’s a good thing I’m much more susceptible to drooling than to actually whipping out my credit card. It also helps that my credit limit is such that the card is programmed to melt if I even think “$$$” while the card is in my hand.

This weekend brings much to fear. Anime Expo—one of the bigger anime conventions—will be held in Anaheim, California, and all the studios are sure to have a handful of new acquisitions to announce there. So far, this year, there haven’t been that many new titles that I’m interested in (and so I’ll have more money in the bank, which is good). With any luck in the world, that will hold over this weekend.

I guess I’ll head down to the bridge to watch the fireworks on the evening of the Fourth (hopefully Eric will be game, if no one else is), and then Andy wants me to watch the Cowboy Bebop movie at his place on Saturday. Road trip to Portland! [Yes, Eric, you’re invited too.] Perhaps I’ll have something that actually happened to write about by then.


All righty. Things are moving along well, which is nice. I’m getting close to having hope that I’ll be caught up with my job soon (it’s a sad statement, but it’s the truth), and life otherwise is just moving along. Sadly, I destroyed my right forearm when I moved many just-too-large-for-my-hand piles of paper on Monday (I’m such a weakling); now I have the options of using my right hand and experiencing pain, or not using it and letting the sucker freeze up on me. Considering that I can barely do anything with my left hand, I’ve pretty much been forced to just bite the bullet all day. Yay me.

I’ve updated the Comments links in my blog with my new email address, and the changes involved in implementing the blog archive don’t seem to have destroyed any browsers. That, when considered with the fact that the moon is in the fourth corridor of the sign of Tripoli, can only mean one thing: the //LINKS page is up! Go—click-click! click-click!

The number of categories is rather limited for now; I’ll be adding to the page (and perhaps creating a “new links” section at the top, if/when I add links to already-established sections) as time passes.

Marin has decided that we’ve been too slow in watching anime, and so is making a greater effort to be ready to watch more each evening. Today we took in a disc and a half of Real Bout High School (putting us at the end of disc 2, with what we watched on Monday), and so far it hasn’t been anywhere near as bad as everybody had said it would be. The seventh episode was pretty darn entertaining, actually; how can you not like the (long-rumored, never verified) Secret Flower Arrangement Club revealing themselves (and their oddly ninja-inspired moves) to interfere with Ryoko’s bento-creating K-Fight with Azumi? How could you not laugh at the poor fools who try to eat the lunches that were created and end up foaming at the mouth, falling over, and leaking more gray liquid than the human body can possibly hold? Of course, this was immediately following the episode where everybody had to fight off an infestation of giant crabs in the shopping mall. I suspect that episode would have reminded me of Dawn of the Dead, had I seen Dawn of the Dead.


Wow. Lots has happened, but almost all of it is behind the scenes. There’s still plenty to do, too, but I’m all tuckered out for now. (I’m feeling mostly healthy now, hence my use of “tuckered out for now”; if I were still sick, I would phrase my state as “currently near death.”)

Repeat readers will note that the blog page is much more svelte than what it used to be; I’ve hacked old entries up by month and cryogenically frozen them for all time. A more permanent link to the past can now be found at the bottom of this page.

The transition to Comcast was rather painless, especially when compared to the switch from @home to ATTBI a year and a half ago. Back then we were given very slight notice that things would change, and the change itself was rather harsh—every internet setting was different overnight, and I never got any email sent to my @home addresses after the day we were switched over to ATTBI. [AT&T really didn’t get along with @home, or vice versa.] This time all that I had to change was my email settings, and any email sent to my ATTBI addresses gets forwarded through December 2004. Another perk of having completed the transition is that I have constant access to the internet again (that, or else the times between connections are small enough that I don’t notice them), so I retract my earlier statement that “Comcast sucks pond scum.”

I spent this evening updating every online site that I’ve given an email address (it’s annoying when you buy lots of stuff online), as well as the one mailing list I subscribe to (Tidbits, a good source of Macintosh information) and other assorted doodads. It takes forever, and there’s always another place that you didn’t think about updating until something catches your eye. Now I just need to work on my friends, as well as the comment link for this blog…but those will have to wait until I get some sleep.

While updating sites, I discovered that a company that sells (what is reputed to be) a good iPod case was having a blow-out sale on their first- and second-generation iPod products…so I picked up a case and a car-power adaptor on the cheap. I guess it’s good to be on the trailing-edge of technology sometimes…you occasionally pick up some nice scraps.

Marin and I finally finished off Magical Project S over the weekend. The show finally reached ludicrous speed sometime during the second half of the series, and so became a hell of a lot more entertaining to watch. They managed to finish off the Main Bad Girl six episodes before the end of the show, and so they create a whole new subplot where Sammy’s mission moves beyond correcting minor annoyances in her neighborhood to saving the world. This, almost needless to say, involves Sammy taking her battle into space. It’s much more entertaining than the early episodes gave it any right to be. And then, after you’re done, you get to watch the fake movie trailer for Magical Girl Pretty Sammy: God Boys vs. Magical Girls. This is by far the funniest thing in the entire show, managing to condense the funny and the stupid-the-first-time, hilarious-the-next parts of the series into a gut-wrenching three-minute tour-de-force. It’s a shame that you really have to watch the entire show to appreciate the trailer, as it truly is a work of art.

Now that Pretty Sammy is over, Marin and I are moving on to a show that had a hilarious (to me) first episode, but apparently (to everyone else) was awful in the end: Real Bout High School. With any luck it’ll be enjoyable from a dumb-fun perspective.

Coming soon, once I finish my odds and ends: the true Links page! Otanoshimini!

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