Work was work is work will be work. A coworker has started to grow a mustache and goatee. Only the knowledge that he is extremely religious prevents me from referring to him as the dark form of himself. If I were to grow such facial hair (which would be a crime against all seeing creatures), you might choose to refer to me as Dark Brent. I know I would.

Played tennis with Renee for an hour and a half in the late afternoon, which gave me, oh, an hour and a half of exposure to the sun. (I should have enough Vitamin D to last months, now!) It took me a good while, but I’m starting to get some control over where I hit the ball again. Slowly, slowly, I am putting together the pieces of my once-decent (for me, at least) tennis game.

Most notable, though, was that I received The Package in the mail today. Yes! I now own Azumanga Daioh volume 1! Hahahhaha! Now I can relive Number Two! whenever I want. (This is important, dammit!)

Right. Marin wanted y’all to know that she found a humorous link that played off of my name: do as Nanbara commands, and click-click! click-click! (Yeah, I’m too lazy to actually try to incorporate the result into my blog like they’d want.) If you don’t find it mildly funny, then you need to imagine the least athletic person you know and then pretend that person is named “Brent.”

And how about that Google IPO? …Right. Check out the SEC filing, if you want; the Ars Technica forum-types noted that it features a “Letter from the Founders” and other peculiarities; this (apparently) isn’t your run-of-the-mill IPO. Still, as I told Eric, I doubt they’ll be catering their daily lunches once general business forces start acting.

Perfect night

It is abso-frickin-gorgeous out tonight. Not a cloud in the sky, and warm enough that you don’t really need a jacket. I took the opportunity to wander around campus for a while and enjoy the pleasantness.

Many years ago, before Suzanne was married and Jeremy hated my guts, the three of us would go on many night-hikes through various parks and the outskirts of town. We wound up doing these in the spring (when the nights were still almost wintery… probably not the brightest things we’ve ever done) and continued sporadically until the end of fall; I saw (and missed) more shooting stars during that time than in the rest of my life combined. I also came home at odd hours of the morning (we would start, say, at 11:00 pm and get back at 2:00 am-ish), which gave my folks some grief.

They’re used to me holding odd hours, now.

I miss those walks; not only were they good exercise—I remember one walk that was uphill for hours on end—but they gave me a chance to step back from everything and relax for a while. From certain vantage points the city lights seemed almost like a miniature galaxy, an extension of the starlit sky.

And then there was the time we tried to take a shortcut down Chip Ross Park after a recent rain, and all ended up coated in mud. I was both the one who got the furthest down the hill before falling and the one who suffered the most spectacular fall…. The first distinction was simply the result of watching Jeremy and Suzanne slip before me; the second is because I somehow managed to go from a vertical to a spinning airborne-horizontal position in the course of my fall. Of course, we then all piled into my car to go home. ::sob:: (Haha! I never bothered cleaning out the mud, and it eventually disappeared on its own.)

I should find someone who trusts me enough to head out in the middle of nowhere with me, ’cause it’s been too long. This night really is tempting.

Other news: the new iTunes feature is actually called party shuffle, not party mix. While personally disappointing, I still find the name humorous; turns out that its a fairly well thought out extension of the traditional shuffle (random) option. Now you get a preview of the next however-many songs that will be played, and can rearrange or delete upcoming songs as you wish.

I’m still waiting for the feature that examines your music collection and assembles a kick-ass party mix. Yes, I would call that feature Party Mix. (Of course, given my music, I’d stress Party Mix to come up with something decent. Actually, it’d probably just take my Night at the Roxbury soundtrack in whole. Bad, bad movie, but good soundtrack. In my opinion. I admittedly have no musical taste, though.)

[One of the defining moments of my first Honors College trip to Sunriver was the first evening, when Eric popped in the Night at the Roxbury soundtrack near the house’s TV and managed to gather a good number of people who were intrigued by how the music oddly matched whatever was happening on the screen.]

[Another defining moment, albeit in a later Sunriver trip, was Matt and me doing a duet of If I Had $1,000,000, by the Barenaked Ladies. We got Katie to laugh, which was more than I expected from of it.]

The reason I was wandering around campus this evening was because I had just left the weekly ballroom dance practice. I had taken a brief nap beforehand, but I was still pretty tired throughout the dance. I wound up chatting with Mandy a good deal, dancing a cha-cha with Robin, and giving Kristy a quick introduction to the hustle. I was impressed that I remembered as much hustle as I did (which isn’t to say I remembered much); it’s been quite a while, and I tend to lose things pretty fast without practice.

Mandy, FWIW, was suffering from dry contacts. Robin was having a bad day for reasons I never quite caught. Kristy was just glad to be out of Milam, which apparently has no air circulation these days.

And now: sleep! My odd hours are probably half the reason I continue to be tired.

Alive, with a crutch

Believe it or not, it gets old saying “mm. Tired. Work same as always. Pass time somehow not studying actuarial exams.” (That’s the type of brutally honest portrayal you should expect of me by now.)

While dealing with my G5 reinstall last week, I was reminded of the godawful squeal my computer makes when transferring data over the ethernet port (yet another symptom of the Achilles’ heel of the G5: the stupid noisy power supply)… and so I decided to get the dumb thing changed (though others have had limited success with the procedure) while I still have a one-year warranty. At the very least, there’ll be some record that I wasn’t happy with the thing while it was under warranty.

So I’m presently living out of my powerbook, and will be for the next five-some days. While it is more than adequate for my portable needs (“huh?,” says the people that know me, “What portable needs?”), it’s somewhat wanting as a desktop replacement. I do get a kick out of running my powerbook screen as a second monitor (I’ve hooked it up to the G5’s monitor, and use that as the primary): it’s fun being able to place windows you want open, but not in the way, onto a second screen. Of course, the ability to run more than two programs at a time without severe slowdown might make this feature more valuable.

So there you have it. I’m presently installing iTunes 4.5, just released today, to check out what all has changed. Word has it that there is a new Party Mix feature included; in my opinion, the use of “party mix” as the name of a feature ought to be a feature in and of itself.

Text-based adventure

Pretty much more of the same today. Still tired, and thus easily made grumpy. Took a nap. Otherwise accomplished little, though I did get to eat some TCBY yogurt cake in the evening. If you haven’t tried TCBY’s cakes, you really ought to. They’re quite tasty.

The one noteworthy event of the day was the result of a brilliant (if I do say so myself) inspiration I had while chatting with Brian via IM. I decided that I was playing a text-based adventure game (remember Zork?), and Brian was my character in the game. He got commands such as:

> face east

east? I am

> dammit


Actually, Brian tried to play along and give me some prompts—I just never took them. That’s actually how I played those Zork games, too.

And that probably explains why I never made any progress in any Zork game. I did get far enough in Return to Zork, though, to know first-hand the classic line that is “Want some rye? ‘Coss ya do!”


My computer decided to start eating its own files yesterday morning, so I’ve been offline doing a clean install of everything. (This wasn’t what I meant when I said I wanted to clean out my computer.) Fun times, let me tell you… but things seem to be working even better than before, so I won’t complain too loudly.

(Actually, there wasn’t too much file cannibalism that I saw—just a lot of weird behavior that eventually culminated in iTunes losing track of my audio files, despite being able to tell me exactly where they were. Since OS X is generally pretty darn stable, weird quirks like that make me think it’s time to start fresh, while I can still start fresh with all my data intact.)

Not a whole lot else has happened. I foolishly decided to DDR while my computer was grinding away on installations, and then proceeded to install Final Cut Pro. Odds are only Eric knows how long FCP takes to install—there’s something along the lines of three DVDs packed with files to copy—but it suffices to say that I wore myself out a good while before that wrapped up.

This evening Marin and I watched an episode of Midori no Hibi, and I was completely enthralled by it. (Story so far? Gal ends up as guy’s right hand. Don’t ask me how, but it works.) I’ve been tricked by first episodes before—see Real Bout High School—but I’ll still be picking this one up when it makes its way stateside. RBHS felt like exceedingly dumb fun at its best; Midori no Hibi has something much more to it. I’m not the only one who seems to think so, either (based on impressions of the first episode): check out Jeff Lawson’s take on the show. He trumps me by having pretty pictures. (He also trumps me by actually posting comments about the show beyond the basic premise and a gut reaction… but I’ll ignore that for now.)

And for your odd link of the moment, check out the random letters people wrote to their future selves at (saw this on Weird idea—what would I write to my future self?

Not much, I’d guess. Hell, I had to write my own obituary as a college entrance essay. If that’s any guide, I’m going to live a boring, boring life.

The other essay for that application, now that I think about it, was about what effect higher education had on one’s duty to others. I was especially happy with my answer to that one: the duty is no different, but an education might give you more options when a situation arises. Person drowning? You can call for help—or, with the proper training, you can dive in and rescue them. Something like that.

Replenished spirit

The high point of my work day was listening to the Elephant Love Medley from Moulin Rouge; the lack of love in the office gave the song an ironic twist that made it all that much more enjoyable to me. Otherwise I was dragging with newfound ferocity. Probably has something to do with attempting to kick my Mountain Dew a day habit, now that the Pepsi/iTunes promotional period is over. I eventually gave up on work early and collapsed at home for three or so hours—only notable because my naps, when I’m healthy, never run longer than two hours.

In the evening I attended a $1 one-hour beginning dance lesson on the Night Club Two Step, and learned very basic moves (and was reminded that I need a stable frame—how could I have forgotten? ::shame::). I didn’t learn what I really wanted to learn, though, which was a smooth way to switch between the basic step and the basic travelling step; the transition is e-double-x-tremely rough unless you have a spiffy move (which I know exists, because I’ve seen others use it).

The dance practice proper was quite a hoot, as Renee and Adam attended for their first time. Renee was gung-ho (her most-repeated quote of the evening: “What type of dance is this?!”), while Adam hugged the wall the entire evening. (I understand how he feels… I spent far too much time hugging the walls not so long ago.) Got to cha-cha with Kristy—I don’t see her much, so it was noteworthy to me—and took a beautiful opportunity to approach from behind, hook Robin’s arm, and drag her out on the dance floor. Danced with Robin for the traditional Last Waltz of the evening, too, where we actually chatted a good deal (though we’ve danced a decent bit together, somehow we never really talked a whole lot); I got her to laugh at my Inflated Work Title of document archivist. (As I explained: this means I watch a scanner to make sure that it doesn’t pick up more than one sheet of paper at a time. It takes a surprising amount of concentration to do well, honestly.)

After saying goodbye to people, I headed to Fred Meyers to pick up Cheap Hairspray. There I ran into Kristy again, who (jokingly) accused me of stalking her (despite the fact that I stayed at the practice session the entire time, and she cut out early).

After selecting a specific brand of Cheap Hairspray, I began to make my way to the checkout—and ran into Jimmy and his friend (I know both of ’em from dances—and saw them both at the practice session—but have never caught the other’s name). Jimmy’s friend then accused me being a stalker, and I complained about being repeatedly and falsely accused of that crime. Jimmy then punned that I worked at Fred Meyers stocking shelves (get it? Stalker/stocker!), and his friend fake-punched Jimmy in the face for his bad joke. I found it hilarious.

I’m glad I stuck with dancing: I’ve made some friends through it, and it’s given me something social to do now that I’ve graduated—and the rejuvenation I feel afterwards is something I’ve been missing for a good, long time.


My head is pretty much trashed today. This “day-after” effect appears to be perfectly positively correlated with my attempts on the actuarial exam. I think I’ll spend the rest of my waking hours updating some records, cleaning things up (both on my computer and in my room), and trying to set up an automated backup system between my computers. (While I don’t have any data that’s worth all that much, it’s still my data.)

Ooh! Shiny! (Link first seen on If my old high-school group of friends were intact—and much larger (and/or flush with cash)—I’d be tempted to try and get everyone to pitch in to buy a trebuchet for John. I think he’d appreciate it the most of anyone I know.

And for the stupid, stupid, stupid link (brought to you by Brian): Ames Riot Police. Dumb, but funny.

The bitter taste of losing everything

Since yesterday was a decent day overall, and today wasn’t going too badly, I had to go and ruin things by taking the second of my three practice actuarial exams.

My score? Go ahead, guess. Seriously.

The exact same damn score I got last time. (!) Instead of demonstrating that I’ve gained absolutely nothing, it demonstrates that I made progress in some areas and regressed in others. Dammit. I now have just under one month to get my act together.

At this rate, I better hope that 21/40 is the passing cutoff. Hell, I would expect to get 8/40 just by guessing randomly (though, to be fair, I didn’t guess on the ones that I didn’t have a clue about—and there were a good number of those).

Most embarrassing are the basic interpretive calculus questions I seem to always get wrong. (You know the kind: given this graph of the second derivative of a function g, determine where g is maximized.) It’s almost worse than the traditional mathematics curse of being able to do calculus but not basic addition.

Probably a good thing my professors can’t see me now. They’d want my diploma back, or something.


Today was simultaneously a great success and a great failure. The failure came in the form of a missed chance to take the second of my three practice actuarial exams: when it came time to sit down and work on the sucker, I realized that I felt like crap. My body ached all over, I had a congestion headache, and on top of the congestion I had a—for lack of a better term—brain cloud. (Rather than being a fake medical-sounding term that causes me to eventually throw myself into an active volcano, this just means that it felt like there was a fog preventing my thoughts from being thought very quickly.) So I passed on the exam today, figuring it wasn’t worth wasting.

The great success was in the form of the ballroom dance this evening. I was darn close to not going (brain clouds and whatnot), but I had told Renee and Adam that I would be there, so I went. Oddly enough, I didn’t see them there; either I missed them (I’m always late to dances), or they didn’t show.

This evening I both danced more, and was more chided about not dancing enough, than ever before. That more dancing is good I shouldn’t have to argue; I’d say that the chiding is a positive, as it indicates how many friends and/or acquaintances I’ve made—that people care, to some slight extent. Robin hooked my arm and pulled me out on the dance floor almost as soon as I had arrived, which was fun (I fortuitously appeared just in time for a salsa), and I continued to chat and/or dance a good deal as the evening continued. Talked with Mandy for a while near the end, and discovered that she’s “never going to get married”; despite her (joking) insistence that I was the devil, she was willing to waltz with me.

Perhaps the development with the most potential for future interest occurred right after the final dance of the evening, when Kristina (the New Gal at work) tugged on my shoulder to say ‘hi.’ She seemed genuinely surprised to find me at the dance (I’m always amused when people are surprised by something I do—mostly because it’s a rare event, I guess). I wonder if this discovery will affect work in any way; most likely not, but it tends to be a cold day in heck when my Real Life and my Work Life coincide.

Small problem

After the DDR and tennis mentioned previously, I am now sore. Not as sore as I probably should be—which is good, since I can still dance as I am—but still more sore than one would hope to be on the day of a dance.

Time to start slamming some ibuprofen and/or aspirin.


Still tired, but this time because I once again picked up the DDR mat (amazing how much I lost in the month or two I haven’t DDRed), and then later in the afternoon played tennis with Adam, Brian, and Renee. I’m happy to note that my serve is almost serviceable again, and a small number of my shots look decent (an infinite percent increase over my earlier performance!!!). After tennis I got to meet Renee’s rabbits (so cute!), and be beaten in both Smash Bros. Melee and Mario Kart 64^GC whatever. A pretty good day, I’d say. Tomorrow evening features a ballroom dance, so tomorrow should be an OK day, too.

Though I was too tired to write about it last night, Marin and I watched Fruits Basket on Friday night while drinking ramune—drinks courtesy of Brian. Since I had only had the stuff once before—far earlier than my memory functions—I bothered to read the instructions for opening the drink. They read something along the lines of:

1. Tear off protective wrapper, and remove opening device from its protective stand.

2. Press down on the marble firmly with the opening device.

3. Hold opening device in place for five seconds.

4. Throw away opening device and enjoy your drink.

I laughed when I read how long you were supposed to hold the opener in the mouth of the bottle. And then I opened my ramune.

Damn, that marble really released a lot of carbonation. I’m glad I followed the directions.

It was a tasty drink, though, and the unique design forced me to savor it slowly, rather than guzzle the whole thing in one shot. It actually fit well with Fruits Basket, too, for whatever reason. (Thanks, B!)

In other news, Calliope appears to be simultaneously too smart and too stupid for her own good. I witnessed her opening the door to the deck on her own—something which makes me fear for my room, whose door has been perpetually shut since we got our new pets—and later watched her try to jump into a closed window. She also mews incessantly in the early morning, but lately I’ve outsmarted her by being too tired to be woken by that.

Yuki on love

Too tired right now to write anything of substance (“What?” you all collectively say, “You’ve written things of substance?!”), but a thought that Yuki expressed in an episode of Fruits Basket this evening seemed worth writing down—if only to remind me of it later. (Bad memory, you see.)

Anyway, the thought: though we are always told that you can’t love someone else until you love yourself, perhaps its only when we are loved by someone else that we allow ourselves to consider the possibility that there is something about us that can be loved. (Apologies for the complexity—if not actual run-on nature—of that sentence.) I think that might hold true in my case… but I need to think about it some more.

I swear I’ve heard that idea before, but—as demonstrated by the fact that I had forgotten it (and consequently all but assumed the other statement to be true)—I obviously need to be reminded of it a bit more often.

The peril of importing CDs

Today qualified as Day Two of massive drag. Ugh.

Amazon Japan and DHL impressed me with “Next Day AM” shipment of a package. I was so impressed that it didn’t faze me when “AM” wound up being “early afternoon” (really, it’s still crazy: from Japan to my door in 24 hours!). Anyway, as a result of this speedy shipment I now have Angela’s Sora no Koe and Maaya Sakamoto’s Shounen Alice. (Marin got some manga, too—I’m not stupid enough to buy only two items from Japan.)

As a result of getting these CDs, I fired up iTunes and resynced my iPod for the first time in over a month. (The iPod is the only thing that keeps me sane at work most days, so it easily qualifies as one of my better purchases.) Only I got mildly ambitious—the only type of ambition one can have when one is dragging—and decided to go through my library and weed out songs I didn’t really need on my iPod, before syncing.

That’s why I’m up at 1:00 am. I weeded out songs for two and a half hours. Manalive.

Shit! I’m soaked!

(This title should evoke images of Tomo arriving to class late, punishing herself by holding buckets of water out in the hallway, and eventually drenching herself with said buckets of water.)

Today was a bad day, all in all. I woke up late, dragged everywhere, and discovered that caffeine only provided me with jitters—no energy. I ended up censoring documents like a mofo at work—a glamorous way of saying I was cutting out extraneous data from sheets of paper and then photocopying what remained—and in doing so wore out my hand. Completely. (If I had tried to switch hands, I’d also be complaining about having cut myself.)

Then, this evening, I elected to go to the weekly ballroom dance practice at the worst possible moment: between my car and the Women’s Building (where the practice is held) I got more wet than pretty much any other time in my life. Lots and lots of rain. Soaked through my shoes, and drenched my pant legs.

Once I got to the practice, I received an impromptu lesson in Night Club Two Step. (I’d later watch others doing the two step, and be again amazed by how many moves carry over between dances.) Robin and I then discovered that my waltz skills have grown stale; I can still do a barrel roll (I was so proud when I finally perfected that move!), but the fancier roll-away move (I forget its name) wasn’t very smooth. I think I have it figured out again, now. Good thing, since there’s an Official Ballroom Dance coming up this Sunday. Further observation earned me the ability to chain a hammerlock into a double-spin—handy, since the only thing I know to do after a hammerlock is to reverse my way out of it.

And now for something completely different:

Why? Why not?, I ask. Behold the splendor of my desktop! Marvel at how clean it is! Gasp in awe at my inability to break an ancient habit (back when RAM was less bountiful) of quitting applications when I’m done using them! Follow the link to get yourself a copy of the very nice Mahoromatic wallpaper! (Bonus, if you’re clever: Recognize how much time I waste typing away at these silly blog entries!)

And if you want to expand your mind rather than behold, marvel, and gasp in awe, you may read a brief story (pointed out to me by Andy) stating that there appears to be a correlation between surgeons playing video games and performing better during surgeries. Note how the domain name is, and then note the sly Monkey Ball reference inserted into the article. That’s solid reporting.

Quiet days

Between working half-time, surfing the web aimlessly, studying for the actuarial exam, and chatting with Brian on IM, my days are passing quietly.

Well, they passed quietly (and I was able to chat with Brian and work on the actuarial exam study) until Brian broached the subject of politics. That’s one area that we don’t tend to agree on too much, it seems.

Stupid politics.

My need to study combined with my need to do something other than study has resulted in me cleaning off my desk and installing a chat client on my powerbook. Now I have arcane mathematics to my left, and the appeal of the internet to my right. While that might generally be a Bad Idea, I’ve been pretty good about things. Until this political discussion, that is.

A math problem, for those so inclined:

f(x+h) – f(x) = 3(x^2)h + 3x(h^2) + (h^3) + 2h

f(0) = 1

Let g(x) = (e^-x)f(x)

Calculate g'(3). (Your answer should look like we^(-3), where w is some number.)

I’ll be even more impressed if you solve this by using the definition of the derivative, instead of Brian’s way.

(Nah—Brian’s way was perfectly legitimate. He just robbed me of the pleasure of watching him rediscover the derivative definition, is all, and I’m mildly bitter.)

Of course, I know I only have half a chance in heck of Eric solving this problem. Renee once observed that she has never met a math major(/graduate) who didn’t love math—and I suspect that she’s right. I can honestly say I was impressed by how clever the above problem is… of course, that was back when I was unaware of a way to solve the problem without using the definition of derivative.


I spent four hours of the day taking a practice actuarial exam. I then spent ten minutes spilling red ink over my answers.

My score? 21/40. I don’t think my three weeks off have helped my performance.

The good news is that I should have been able to do damn near every question on that exam—none of them looked too outlandish. I’m just hella rusty right now, and I have barely over a month to correct my situation.

Suddenly studying Flash or Final Cut Pro doesn’t seem so important.


When I started college, I—pretty much on a whim—signed up for the pre-mechanical engineering program. After two years of “you’ll do this crap because I had to do it when I went through college” (the second year mostly spent just gritting my teeth), I finally strapped on my porta-spine and changed majors to math. That too was pretty much a whim; after having taken the classes I did, math was pretty much the only major I didn’t despise. After further calculations, I realized that I was going to take a small eternity to graduate no matter what I did—so a second major would help give me enough credits each term to maintain full-time student status. Having ruled out 99.44% of all other majors, I was left looking at the college of business. I then learned about the little-known actuarial field—you don’t hear little kids saying they want to be an actuary—that was somehow consistently considered one of the swankiest jobs out there.

My personal definition of swanky includes air-conditioned offices with no real physical labor, in case you’re wondering. I wouldn’t mind if I could wear jeans to work, either, but I won’t push things there.

Anyhow, the whole actuary/business slant fit together remarkably well with where I was, what I needed to do, and what my primary major was:

1. I was able to be a full-time student until I graduated, without having to take ten dance classes every term. (I only had to take one! Ha!)

2. Business was one of the 0.56% of majors that I didn’t definitively know I hated.

3. My math major could actually do something for me. The only other math job out there, as far as I can tell, is teaching—and while I’d enjoy that to no end (people forced to listen to what I have to say! Mwa ha ha!), teachers get no respect (i.e. compensation) in this country. (Not that money is everything, mind you… but it isn’t nothing, either.)

4. Even excluding the actuary idea, a business degree would be more practical than a math degree in finding a job. I could also keep my math major this way, and I really did love math. (How else can you integrate somebody’s curves? HAHAHA)

5. It gave me a direction to follow once I graduated.

Because of all of this, you see me where I am today. I don’t really want to consider a future where I need to use my business degree to find a job, though, so failure is not an option. The fact that I’ve already failed this practice exam today—especially since I should have been able to best it—gives me that much more resolve to not let it happen again.

[…End Reminiscence…]

To reward y’all for wading through that (or for cleverly skipping down until the end), I present you the latest link from Insert Credit, by way of Andy: ASCIImanga Daioh. As Andy told me: Just try to get the song out of your head.

As I told Andy: I can just imagine the person(s) who created that sitting back after it was all done and thinking, “that’s it. It’s all downhill from here.”

Wasted time

Yesterday was a continuation of the massive dragging I started by being too happy on Thursday… which leads me to suspect that I have Yet Another bug. This left me well-prepared to find out that, near the end of the day, one of my coworkers had just been fired. I’m not sure how I feel about it. The last time someone (who had been working for more than a month, to weed out some unimportant cases) was fired was multiple years ago, and that had to deal with theft. The present case isn’t anywhere near as clear cut.

Watched the second disc of Fruits Basket last night, which really lifted my spirits; it’s rare to find an anime that just makes you feel good. One of the episodes took place around New Years—apparently the Japanese have a tradition of watching the first sunrise of the year. I’ve admittedly never been a partyer, but this seems like a much nicer way to start off a year…. Sunrise, to me, seems more important than reaching midnight and the technical “new year.” This is something akin to the argument about when we should have celebrated the new millennium—2000 or 2001? While the latter was technically correct, the former still felt like the bigger change.

Of course, the best answer to the millennium question was both years, so maybe I’m making too much of this sunrise idea.

Today I went on an ill-fated trip to Best Buy, in a continuation of my quest to find a DVI-DVI cable. I actually found one in the store, but they wanted $50 for the bugger. I figured I could live with analog, at that price. Otherwise my day was filled with quite a bit of nothing.

I was happy to learn that nothing horrendous (for me) came out of Anime Boston this weekend, though. A good deal of the titles announced (Princess Tutu, Uchu no Stellvia/Stellvia of the Universe, and Kodomo no Omocha/Child’s Toy (!)*) are ones that Marin has claimed.

[*The licensing of Kodomo no Omocha—a show that apparently has multiple rights holders—has long been considered a sign of the apocalypse. Consider yourself warned.]

As for the other shows (the ones that sparked any amount of recognition in me, at least): I hear that Dokkoider is quite funny, and that Paranoia Agent is “the new anime by Satoshi Kon” (this is pretty much how everybody has described it—leading me to believe that nobody knows anything about the show). Feelings towards Onegai Twins seem to be much more mixed. So far it looks like I’ll be safe in sitting back and seeing how people react to these shows are they are released—they don’t strike me as Critical Titles That I Must Own Now.

What? “What anime shows are Critical Titles That I Must Own Now?” I don’t really know, myself—I’m being hyperbolic—but I suspect that Azumanga Daioh might make my list. I have a weak spot for Azumanga.


I had a spring in my step today. Going dancing last night did me good. Work also improved, after talking to my office manager; with my priorities in the open and my assigned tasks now (somewhat) lightened, I feel like I might have half a chance at actually studying for my upcoming actuarial exam. I chatted some with coworkers while I ate my lunch, which is another change for the better—I usually distance myself as much as possible from others at work, as they’re frequently not the happiest people to be around.

Hmm… What I’m trying to say is that I had an unusually good day, for whatever reason. I could think positive (as Apple would advertise), for once.

The problem with being upbeat in all aspects of life is that it drains my energy something fierce. Let’s revisit the SATs for a moment, to illustrate this. CHEERINESS:BRENT ::





I simply don’t have enough power to make it through a full day of being happy, so I start petering out around dinner time and crash hard about 9:00 pm. Today I delayed the impending unconsciousness by watching CSI and poking around random websites (second link brought to my attention by Tiffany). Sadly, that leaves me here, now, trying to type something while suffering from a near-total inability to write coherent sentences.

Dance! Dance, my puppet!

As of tomorrow, I’ll be covered by my own car insurance policy. I guess that’s a good thing, even if it took all morning to figure out (most of it was me poking around the internet for information; actually getting the insurance was darn quick).

Then, this evening, I (for once) faced down my irrational fear of dance sessions, and made it to the Wednesday night ballroom dance practice. I love dancing, even if I’m not terribly good at it, but I always want to skip out on dances (or dance practices) until I actually get to them. I’m weird that way… it must be my antisocial side showing.

Anyway, I saw a few old friends there, and actually had a really pleasant time. I unwittingly found out that Mandy no longer has a boyfriend by making reference to him (you see, her boyfriend never went dancing with her… so I was trying to play off that), and learned that Erin is studying The Artists. I laughed heartily when I saw the only note she had scribbled down on one page of her assigned reading: WHAT?! Yes, that’s right: Erin was trying to do homework while at a ballroom dance practice. Robin tried to get me to salsa properly, and somewhat succeeded (I lose my l33t skillz so quickly!), and Marco was—as usual—simultaneously amazing and hilarious to watch dance. You can tell when people are really having fun.

Hrm; I’ve blathered on enough for now, I see. This entry is courtesy of a phone call I’ve been trying to make, but have been repeatedly stymied by a busy signal. (No, I’m not trying to call a female.) Time to try again.


After more of the usual at work—i.e. having more work dumped on me than I can possibly do in the hours I intend to work (I need some time to study for the actuarial exam!)—I wandered into the Registrar office at OSU to drop off a card declining an invitation to participate in commencement in June. (I’ve never been that big on ceremonies, and I’ll have already been out of school for some eleven weeks by the time I could walk.) My efforts in delivering the reply card were wasted: I picked up my diplomas at the Registrar desk—using my ancient OSU ID for the last time—and hence didn’t need to give them my response. So, with a small “congratulations,” I conclusively ended my time at OSU. (Renee and Adam were coincidentally in the area, so they were the only real witnesses to my “graduation ceremony.”)

My diplomas (one in math and one in business, if you hadn’t guessed from previous class-inspired rants) are now buried in the back of my desk. There they join my high school diploma.

I spent the rest of yesterday evening fighting the heavy layer of dust that seems to pervade my room; I wound up cleaning off all the easy areas. Go me. I then tried to clean out my desk a bit, but only had marginal success there; past purges have eliminated a good deal of the detritus I’m willing to part with.

Today I put my mad Excel skills to work in trying to determine which health insurance option I should take from my insurance provider (they’re reorganizing everything, hence the need to make a decision), only to discover that I have no clear preference between plans. Am I more likely to visit the doctor a handful of times (note that I’ve been to the doctor so frequently that my pediatrician is still my PCP), or get into a massive accident and owe tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills? After failing there, I began eyeing auto insurance options. Managing the details of life is such fun!

Did you know that George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead is now public domain and downloadable? (I didn’t, until Ars pointed it out.) Even with my cable connection, I was only willing to download the 200 MB version… still, it saves me $2 at Hollywood.

Tired and grumpy


Despite my foul mood, Amazon came through for me. I got 30% off two books on Flash programming; the books shipped Saturday and arrived today. Not bad.

Unplanned weekend

Late Saturday afternoon Renee called to get me to play tennis again. This time Adam’s cousin, Brian, joined us—so we had a fair doubles game, as opposed to our traditional two-on-one match. I still wasn’t all that hot, but my serve wasn’t quite as bad. My game improves, slowly but surely.

Once we got tired of playing our modified game of tennis (we don’t much care if the ball bounces more than once), we switched over to a game called Butts. (Think a tennis version of “Horse.”) The kicker is that the first person to lose has to go to mid-court and bend over, while all the others get one ball to try and hit that person. It’s a game that’s much more fun when you don’t lose.

Pretty much immediately after returning to an unexpectedly-empty home, I received a phone call from Andy; there was some poker event in town on Sunday, and he felt like driving down that evening. So I got to call Nate and Eric, and we had an impromptu gathering. Pretty darn quiet affair, actually, though I always enjoy chatting with my friends.

This morning Andy and I wandered around campus—he roller blading, me walking and reading the latest Barometer*. We’re in the middle of a streak of wonderful weather, and it felt quite nice to wander around in the sun.

[*Per the Barometer, who cited a no-name organization using non-scientific methods, OSU is the fifth-most-friendly campus in the nation. This result is highly suspect, though, as OSU reportedly ranked a C- for parking. There’s no way that it would rate that high, unless those surveyed were taking Neil’s proverbial hudge pile of drugs**.]

[**Let this be a lesson to all: don’t type drunk.]

Then, this evening, we had my grandma over and barbecued steaks. Tasty! All in all, a rather eventful weekend considering I had nothing planned as of Saturday morning.

In other news, I’m unusually heartened to hear that Keroro Gunsou (“Sgt. Frog”) has begun airing in Japan (you’ll have to scroll down to April 3rd, for that second link). I have no idea why I’ve become such a fan of this manga/anime, but the entire ludicrous premise has grown on me something fierce.


Far more interesting weekend than I thought it would be (which is not to say my weekend was all that interesting), but that’s not as important as posting this picture as quickly as possible:

Yes, that is my dog and my cat (now named Calliope; pronounced “Kuh-lie-oh-pee,” not—as I like to tease my sister—”Cali(fornia)-(h)ope”) both sleeping on the same dog bed. It seems we lucked out a second time, and (once again) have two really sweet pets.

For kicks, here are my two previous pets: Cricket (dog) and Maxi (cat). [We didn’t get to choose their names, which was probably a blessing for them.]


Cricket was an adorable West Highland White Terrier with a perennially dirty muzzle; she was about a foot tall at the shoulder, and absolutely loved food. Rather than going “miles and miles in the ice and snow” (as a dog book described the breed), Cricket was a lazy dog who loved to sit on your lap and go for car rides. Maxi was a huge cat (no idea what mix of breeds)—she was a good sixteen or seventeen pounds, in her prime—who was the most gentle soul in the world. (She’s the only cat whose belly I’ve ever dared to rub.) When I took naps on the couch, many years ago, I’d frequently have the dog curled up on my belly and the cat lying down over the couch’s back. When they were younger, Cricket and Maxi would take turns chasing each other around the house; it was quite the sight.

We had some other pets over the years, but they were always “adopted” from neighboring houses…. Paws, the black cat with white (you guessed it) paws, who started out mean as all heck, but soon became a big softy, was one. Another was Thunder, the three-legged tabby who would walk with me when I took Cricket for walks and who learned—on her own—how to turn on lights and open doors. She only had three legs, but she’s probably the brightest animal I’ve known. And humans are animals, too. (haha! Just kidding—kind of.)


Way back in the day, I was involved with my high school yearbook. I spent two years as the layout underling to Josh’s layout editor, and then spent my senior year as the layout editor proper. Throughout that time I experienced multiple instances of hefty amounts of stress—the most memorable instances being when the server died just days before a deadline. (Yes, the plural is intentional: that dumb server died on us twice in one year, actually.)

By the time I became an editor, I was already tired of the stress; by the end of that last year, I was completely worn out. (I remember buying a Super Big Gulp of Mountain Dew from 7-Eleven around that time—the only time I’ve ever consumed that much Mountain Dew. I’m still probably sterile because of it.) I was more than happy to get back to my quiet, do-nothing life.

Today I was introduced to the latest crisis at work: there are decent-sized discrepancies between the number of items we should be billing and the number of items we are actually billing. I was given the task of ascertaining what items had been billed, and what items had not, and needed to do so ASAP (because we’re on the verge of not being able to bill these things, due to a legal time-limit). Until the monotony of reading tiny lines off of a sheet of paper really set in, I was quite energized by the (pseudo-) emergency. It’s been a long time since yearbook, but I guess a part of me still reacts to the rush of a crisis just before a deadline.

Outside of work, very little happened. I managed to modify my various page layouts (with the exception of the blog, which was already set up properly) so that they display as well as they can on a browser that doesn’t support CSS. Odds are nobody who visits this “site” (erm…) will care, and the pages look no different with CSS, so I pretty must just wasted my time. Yet I still felt the need to modify my so that they follow convention; I suppose that’s just one of my little quirks.

I’m still impressed by how quickly my days pass, and how little I accomplish each day—I’ve noticed it before, but I don’t think it’s been quite as ridiculous as it seems to be lately. My lack of schoolwork seems to have exacerbated things; what little balance I had in life, before, has now been completely destroyed.

The world is now safe

I defeated Sin early this morning, and freed the world from its cycle of suffering.

After sleeping, I took a look at a Final Fantasy X FAQ, and discovered how little of the game I had actually played through (my total time was somewhere near 40 hours). My interest in RPGs has never been to find out every little secret of the game, but rather to kill time with an enjoyable story… so I’ll probably never bother hunting down, say, the celestial weapons. I think I might have to sniff out the remaining Jecht spheres, though, just to see how “hilarious” (the FAQ’s description) Braska’s pilgrimage was. I will then cast dispel on myself, and free myself from the chains of a Very Good video game.

Alack! On the shelf next to FFX is FFX-2, and its siren song is quite strong. As is my desire to be able to say I’ve seriously played Mahou Shoujo Final Fantasy (I think Tempy’s blog first introduced me to that description, but my memory often fails me).

I spent far too much time today wandering around the various shops in town while trying to find a stupid DVI (to DVI) cable for my computer. The best moment was when the gal behind the counter at The Mac Store had absolutely no idea that such a cable existed, but was aware of the fact that the G5 had a DVI port. At the end of it all, I was forced to conclude that there is not one single DVI cable for sale in my entire town.

Andy has a rule about not living in a place where you can’t walk into at least one store and put your hands on actual RAM. (Not the worst rule you could have, IMO.) While I can do that, I have now met the limitations of my city. Frankly, I’m a bit surprised: I didn’t think this cord was all that rare an item. I guess I’m a bit more cutting-edge than I thought I was.

I don’t even know if the stupid cable is really worth the hassle. I hear that the image with a digital cable is much improved over that with an analog cable, but my monitor already looks pretty darn good, to my eye. Then again, I did see definite improvements in DVD picture quality when going from RCA to S-Video, and marginal improvements from S-Video to component—and before that, I thought RCA wasn’t too shabby. (Well, those are all probably analog cords… but you see what I’m getting at.)

Ah well. Now that the specter of FFX has been lifted from my back, I should probably try to get back onto a more-normal sleep cycle again. As it now tends to be sunny and warm during the day, there’s a definite benefit to being awake for it.


Word on the street (where “the street” is defined as Ars) is that Google is now beta-testing a free email service where users each get a gigabyte of storage space. The date on the press release is April first, though, so I remain skeptical. (Doesn’t it just seem a little too convenient?)

My parents managed to (not really) break my G5 today, and in doing so discovered its secondary use as a miniature wind tunnel. (When your computer has nine fans, and all nine rev up to top speed, it sounds something like a small jet.) Sadly, when I came home to fix things, I discovered that the fans weren’t even close to top speed (think “vacuum cleaner,” not “F-14”). Mom and Dad were impressed, in a not-so-good kind of way.

Hrm. Time to save the world from Sin—tonight will be the final battle. I’ll leave you with two quotes of the evening, both of which demonstrate how tired I am:

Scene: Basement, in evening. Marin avoids doing her homework by pestering Brent.

Marin: It must be nice to be graduated.

Brent (singing, very off-key): La de da da. I am in the land of milk and honey. You can look, but do not touch.

Scene: Basement, minutes later. Marin prepares to inform Brent how stupid he is.

Marin: In the information age, you are a troglobit.

Something about Marin’s thought process—the transition from troglodyte to troglobyte, and then to troglobit—struck me as hilarious.

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