Time to knock some heads

After work today I’m headed up to Portland for some Awesome Guilty Gear Action, followed by flügtag, so don’t expect much from me until tomorrow afternoon at the earliest. You should definitely check out this compressed film comic in the meantime (I did manage to post last night, too—this post isn’t a cop-out).

When I get the chance, I will argue why importation of drugs from Canada really won’t do squat for the U.S.—since Kerry mentioned it in his speech last night, and it’s one of the few topics where I actually have something intelligent to say.

Worst. Game. Ever.

This evening Brian and I decided to play an abbreviated game of disc golf starting at about 8:00 pm. Our first throws of the game were ill-fated, and both veered horribly to the right. To illustrate:

[road] [fairway] [forest (our discs) forest] [the alpha hole]

We spent a good long time poking around the bushes, trying to find our discs. When I said*, earlier today, that I[ was] gonna get tore up this evening, I didn’t mean by blackberry bushes.

[*which is to say, “when I didn’t say”]

Through the magic of pure dumb luck, I managed to discover our discs. I then promptly (“on hole five”) threw my disc into the ether. It’s never, ever coming out again.


Earlier today, Kristina, Billie, Kris and I chatted a bit about horror movies (our discussion was first spurred by the impending arrival of The Village). Kristina and I seemed to appreciate the topic more than the others; Billie told about the time she, as a child, harassed her mom into letting her watch Stephen King’s It. Her mom’s one condition was that Billie not bother her that night about being scared… and it “turned out to be one of the worst nights of her life.”

[I remember reading the book, back in the day. I’d say it’s one of the better Stephen King books I’ve read (It, Bag of Bones, and The Stand are probably my top three—not that I’ve read them all, by any stretch), and probably the scariest one. The other two I found to be quite engrossing… but not scary.]

Later in the day, Billie saddled me with some tedious “update settings in the system” project. I was going to complain about how I got to be feeling like a machine, and [how] that’s no way to feel, but thought that might be a bit too risque for my coworkers.**

[**This is the biggest bunch of baloney excuse ever; the majority of my coworkers have minds deeper in the gutter than I do. I’m not even sure how that’s possible.]

And, for a record-breaking two random links in a row: play 20 Questions with a computer (I forget where I found this link…). That sucker is good.

Someone set me up the bomb

So there I was at work, scanning (i.e. “minding my own business”), when all of a sudden Tonya drops a small forest of paper in my To Scan pile. In theory I was supposed to have all that stuff scanned before tomorrow—in reality, I had lost before I began. I don’t think it’s even worth trying to wake up early and try to cover myself, this time.

This evening I was poking around the iTunes Music Store. There you can find “iTunes Essentials,” or various lists of songs posted for your perusal; my favorite list to browse through (though I don’t think I’ve ever bought a song because of it) is the monthly alternative collection. On this month’s list was “In Your Eyes,” by some guy named Mitch Allan.

After poking around a little more, because I kind of liked the song, I learned that Mitch Allan is the lead singer of SR-71. Which is the group who sang “Right Now,” one of my most-liked alternative songs.

In short: maybe I should just cave in and buy some SR-71 CDs. I seem to like their music.

My light reading for the next three months (i.e. the textbooks I’ll be tested on for my next actuarial exams) continues to arrive piecemeal. Buying books from Amazon’s marketplace, so far, has worked out really well.

Somehow it hasn’t sunk in that Otakon is this weekend. I should be starting to worry about all the anime titles that’ll be announced that I’ll want, but for whatever reason I’m just floating along in a happy little blur of obliviousness.

Since I’m still not my action-packed self (ha), here’s another nifty little flash game: Hydrophobia (link found at AppleGeeks). I especially like the peaceful BGM for this one; it helps me to relax when I click the mouse instead of hitting the spacebar. (It takes a while for me to get used to any game controls that aren’t based around a console controller. This is a polite way of saying that I’m pathetic at any computer game when I first start playing.*)

[*The one exception being my first game of Descent, played in my high school’s Mac lab just after we had finished building the lab’s ethernet network. There, beginner’s luck trumped both my ineptitude and my tendency to get nauseated at 3-D games—and I kicked serious ass. Sadly, I’ve never been able to recreate that experience.]

Saturday is a “Day of Flight”

Yeesh. I’m once again feeling under the weather; this has gotten to the point of being ridiculous. If you look back over the last month of entries, I complain about being ill more times than not. The sad thing is that pretty much every reference to an illness is a reference to a different illness.

It’s gotta be my sleep cycle (or lack thereof). I might be able to argue that I have a puny immune system—and a low tolerance for not feeling well—but this is stupid-crazy.

At work I’m beginning to settle into a pattern of scanning to stay caught up, and then helping Marin try to catch up on her work. This pattern will change next week, when I begin intensive training for the next actuarial exams. “Training” calls for me to work from 8-12, and then study from 1-5. That probably means that I’ll have to start getting to bed at a regular time, or else face certain death.

Too bad for me that every time I have to choose between sleep and certain death, I always seem to choose certain death. I’ve historically been dumb that way. It’s also a shame that I seem to be facing certain death as I type this.

If I do survive to see the weekend, though, there should be some excitement: Red Bull Flügtag is coming to Portland, and Andy & crew (where “crew” includes me) are going to be there. Andy described the event to me as “people chugging Red Bull and then throwing various (pseudo-)flying contraptions into the Willamette River.” It sounds like a hoot.

Powerbook, or DVD player?

Yesterday’s Movie Nite was interrupted by a power outage that started about three minutes into our movie. (This week’s pick was Empire; I’ll be daring and say it was OK.) The outage lasted about 45 minutes, during which I drafted my Powerbook to play episodes of Aqua Teen Hunger Force (I’m glad its battery was charged!). That went over well, until we watched the “Dumber Dolls” episode. This featured Happy Time Harry (with Action Bills!), who is quite possibly the most depressing doll in the world (search for “Harry” to find relevant quotes). The power returned to save us from that funk, and so we watched the remaining 97 minutes of Empire. Incidentally, everybody in the film apparently felt that it was an important step towards legitimacy for Latino films, or somesuch. Weird.

The other Movie Nite-related discovery was of a package of generic peanut-butter cookies that taste almost exactly like Nutter Butters. I have a weakness towards Nutter Butters (though that weakness disappears for a while after I’ve had some—quite unlike my weakness for jerky), so this discovery was quite impressive to me. (As Eric correctly stated: “the market just became more efficient.”)

Today I poked around the stats of my pages, and was surprised to see how many people have bothered to look at my long-neglected ⁄⁄anime page. (I now understand the web design principle—learned long after I erred—of not providing links to pages that aren’t finished.) In the hope that it’ll spur further action on my part (and in continued violation of that design principle), I’ve now dusted off my layout for the main anime page and posted it. Please note that there aren’t any reviews yet (just a little background information)… those will, with any luck, follow.

I’ve historically been painfully slow at writing essays (which is one way of thinking of a review), and they’ve never been all that fun to write. My hope is that I’ll find a way to make writing reviews fun for me—after all, there’s no need to be formal about them—and that those reviews will consequently be at least mildly entertaining to you.

And, to finish things off, here’s a random link: one-legged DDR (link seen on Lafiel’s Journal). I was impressed.


C-town broke into triple-digit temperatures today, for the first time this year. It was no good.

I, consequently, was (and am) extremely sluggish. The good news for the day is that my G5 got fixed right-quick; the bad news is that I—hopefully for the last time—now get to reinstall everything. Again. I’m really getting sick of looking at progress bars.

The other highlight of the day was finally (re-)attaining a state of perfection at work. That’s right: today marks the first day of 2004 where I am completely, absolutely caught-up on scanning paper. As my certainty of reaching this diluted-nirvana increased, I began spouting off to Eric about how nobody [could] stop me. Even better, the server backup seems to be running again—so I was able to recycle a fire-hazard-load of paper (or, as I envisioned it in my heat-warped mind, I finally shed my cocoon of paper [an obvious subconscious reference to a crazy man from Great Teacher Onizuka, FYI]) and clean out my cubicle something fierce.

On the home front, Calliope seems to be killing a decent bit of the local wildlife. She goes absolutely insane if we try to keep her inside (and so drives us crazy as well), and will become increasingly sneaky about trying to get outside whenever she hears a door open… so making her an indoor cat isn’t a very good option. Letting other animals die isn’t really appealing to us, either—so we’ve begun a program of scaring Calliope something fierce every time we see her attack something. Already got to yell at her once this evening; now to see if we can get her to change her ways….

Dancing, dropping dough, and disc golf

Dance yesterday was pretty much a success, save for the fact that I was determined that I would dance at least once with Kristina (something I’ve not done the last few weeks), only to be foiled by the fact that she didn’t show. If it’s not one thing…. In terms of things that actually happened, Robin (the Other Robin from my Latin I class) asked me to cha-cha. Seems she enjoys twirling; luckily for me, the handful of cha-cha moves I know involve lots of that. I even impressed one of the guys I chat with on the sideline (the one who commented early on that I really ought to dance, if I’m going to bother attending a dance practice […]), which is unusual.

I also mastered a “hinge” opening move in the waltz (it takes you from closed position—where you’re facing each other—to an open position where lead and follow are side-by-side), which is a more-graceful way of getting to a nifty grapevine-and-twirl move, and actually was able to put into practice some nightclub two-step moves I had learned solely by observation. I can now transition gracefully from a stationary basic to a traveling basic, and can twirl the follow during the traveling basic—not all that fancy, but a world of improvement from what little I knew before.

It seems my lackadaisical attitude towards future actuarial exams (I will most-likely face two exams in early November—one covering economics/finance, and the other about basic actuarial models) was bothering my dad. I can’t say I blame him—I haven’t really done anything since mid-May—so today I took the time to look for the required texts for the next exams. End result: I just dropped a good wad of cash on books (::cough:: I mean, saved a whole lot of money on books).

I better get a decent job from all this.

Brian and I played disc golf this evening, and—just as it was getting dark—ran into a group of four, two of whom I casually knew from the OSU honors college. I can’t remember the guy’s name for the life of me (P-something?), but I did remember Shannon’s name, and she seemed to remember me. We’ve crossed paths randomly over my years at OSU; once I played the straight-man for her, when others were telling her she had something on the back of her shirt, and another time was a random “you know how to swing [dance], right?” pull-me-on-the-floor to dance. I remember her friends being reasonably impressed with our performance… probably the first time my dancing impressed anyone, actually.

It was an odd chance encounter, though it was fun. (I managed to do decently on the hole, too, which was an unexpected bonus.) Their group had apparently seen ¡Three Amigos! recently, as they were quoting from it liberally. P-whassisname was carrying around a teddy bear for some reason, and decided to let out a scream (closer to a blood-curdling shriek) every time he threw his disc.

The other guy in the group decided to follow suit, and promptly tossed his disc deep into the brush. A “fun” group search ensued.

Pop quiz

Aircraft-grade aluminum (in the shape of a Power Mac G5) versus my Corolla’s paint job—which one wins?


This post brought to you by my chronic inability to get to ballroom dance lessons even close to on-time. I am now—as I do every week—waiting for the ballroom dance practice proper before heading off to campus. In the meantime, I’m making my powerbook feel like home.

Stupid Hummah G5

When I purchased my G4, many moons ago, it was the first revision of a new machine—and I had absolutely no problems with it. I wish I could say the same for my G5. A noisy power supply was the first reason to send it in to the shop (warranty repairs are nice); the second trip (which will begin shortly, once I’ve finished cleaning off the hard drive) is due to a defective graphics card.

Once again, then, I’m back on my powerbook. (I’m glad I have a backup machine I can use!) Shortly I’ll have my dual-monitor setup again, which will still suffer from a lack of computing muscle to back up the extra screen real-estate.

I’m slowly recovering from the bug that took my by surprise on Sunday. Last night Marin and I watched the first disc of Gad Guard, which confused us greatly: who is this show aimed at? The young protagonists and cartoony robots would suggest a younger-kids show, but there’s actually a good bit of innuendo thrown in—and the animation is far more detailed than, say, Pokemon. I can’t guess at all what path it’s going to follow, which is unusual… will it be a band of kids teaming up to fight evil? Will it turn into something really dark?

I, obviously, need to see what others who have seen the show say about it.

There was a Big Meeting at work this morning, where we were introduced to Groupcast. From the presentation, it seems that Groupcast is a pretty HTML wrapper around the GPMS core we all love to hate. It makes the output much more readable, at the cost of requiring extensive use of the mouse. (This makes Groupcast perfect for me, since I hate the arcane GPMS text output, have no need to be quick about things, and am quite proficient with a mouse—but makes it a bum deal for everyone else.)

Ah well… time to wrap this up—my computer’s ready to head to the shop.

Sorry to disappoint me

Looks like I spoke too soon. While I was fine this morning—I even ran a mission to Salem—in the afternoon I felt tired, and so took a nap. When I awoke, I had absolutely no strength and zero energy.

It’s really sad when collecting the garbage wipes you out.

This evening I did pretty much the only thing I could do: watch anime! Marin and I (finally) finished off Full Metal Panic, mostly thanks to getting sucked into the final story arc (“just one more episode… they’ll wrap it up in one more…”). The final conflict lost a good deal of tension that had been built up earlier in the arc, and the ending itself was remarkably abrupt. I can forgive all this, however, because my enjoyment of Full Metal Panic isn’t based on its storyline (which isn’t to say there was no plot, or that it was terrible)—it’s all about the characters.

And the fact that there’s a second season.

Still, you can’t help but like Chidori, Sosuke, Tessa, Mao, Kurz, and the rest of ’em. Once a show has good characters, I’ll follow them into all kinds of awful plots—for proof of that, see the third season of Rurouni Kenshin (minus the filler episodes, which were actually hilarious).

Oh, and if you haven’t seen it elsewhere: Rock, Paper, Saddam is simultaneously hilarious and bandwidth-heavy. (Link originally found, ages ago, on trying to grok.)

Sorry to disappoint you

…but I’m not dead yet. You’ll have to try better than that to do in the likes of me.

(Actually, the junky hours I’ve been holding lately have more to do with my absence than anything else; at the end of the day, I’m just too exhausted to bother writing anything more than “ugh. update later.” And so, as that’s not really worth much, I just go to bed.)

Here’s the latest run-down on “things”:

Played disc golf with Brian and Eric on Thursday evening. Eric had the decency to not outdo me (though he came close at times) on his second game ever, though I fear for my ranking in the near future if he picks up a disc again. Otherwise I worked more than eight hours, and felt the burn something fierce—those full days are killers. For me.

On Friday the goods I ordered were delivered, and so I upgraded my computer: I have a shiny new hard drive (for backups, my latest obsession) and a shiny new (and cheap!) DVI cable connecting my monitor. I can’t say that the difference between VGA and DVI has blinded me, but I did first notice flaws in my desktop picture after I upgraded the cable.

Stupid DVI cable.

Last night we gathered the official Movie Nite crew (now including Brian) for the latest round of fighting boredom in C-town. This time our weapon of choice was Underworld, a “vampires versus werewolves” film. Or, perhaps more honestly, a Kate Beckinsale film. It really wasn’t all that bad, save for a classic anime-inspired scene where the effects of a wound are realized some ten-odd seconds after it is inflicted. Post-movie events included randomly surfing the Wikipedia, crossing Bombat with plastic bat, and throwing down in Soul Calibur II.

An early end

I went to bed far too late last (Tuesday) night, after trying to get Marin’s computer completely put together again. Then Calliope started yowling this morning, as if she were in a cat fight, and so I leapt out of bed far too early. Turns out Calliope was just yowling for no good reason (though I think there was some unrelated cat fight occurring outside); I then wound up puttering around on Marin’s computer a bit more, before crashing again—hard—and then waking up again at noon.


As a result of my stunning performance this morning, I didn’t get everything scanned at work that I should have, and will end up inconveniencing whoever is working the edit list tomorrow—unless I get in damn early and finish my scanning. (I did, however, master cron—with the help of a little GUI program—and finish setting up an actual, fully automated backup routine for Marin.) So: I’m going to bed “early” for once, in an effort to right some wrongs.

It’d be more exciting if my wrongs were a bit more serious, I admit. I’ll have to work on that.

Dancing & drawing

Dance started out pretty rocky this evening—not many people, and Brent in a somewhat antisocial mood—but turned around before the end. I chatted more than I usually do, danced (especially at the end) more than I usually do, and began the start of a (silly) drawing competition against Marco. You see, there’s a chalkboard in the dance hall—where Marco drew an elaborate rose during one of the dances. I then, after great thought, sketched a little something on the other side of the chalkboard. Marco asked if I was drawing something too, and I replied that it wasn’t much; he then told me (and verified with a nearby friend) that “everything is art.”

I wonder if he’ll hold that tune when he sees my protozoan stick tango.

Yes, that’s right: two stick figures in the middle of the “circles in the sand” tango move. Since (as I learned from one of Marco’s friends later) Marco’s had some actual drawing experience, the only way I can complete is by doing something completely different, and completely stupid. I intend to refine my art until it evolves into an actual “stick tango,” at which point I’ll officially enter the competition.

I’ve also realized that I really need to attend those dance lessons before the practices. I’m losing what little edge I had, week by week, and actual lessons are the only way to recover what I’ve lost—dance practices only really help to prevent further dance skill atrophy.

In backup news, I realized that I’m an idiot. My old backup strategy (storing one computer’s backup on another computer) was born in a day when each computer only had one hard drive. If each computer had two hard drives (as would be required by my earlier RAID 1 goal), then simply backing up to the second drive would be as good (and actually better, because you could retrieve files you accidentally deleted) than having the RAID by itself. Furthermore, setting a computer up to automatically backup to a second hard drive is a heck of a lot easier than trying to automate backing up to a second machine. (Keep in mind that we turn our computers off when we’re not using them; none of them are on 24/7.)


Alas, I trashed Osaka (Marin’s computer has a small drive and a big drive, cleverly named “Chiyo-chan” and “Osaka”) before I had my backup revelation. Hence I’m staying up late once again, trying to get things back to where they were.

And, if you need entertainment while I scan away at more paper tomorrow, check this bizarre office simulation game out (link found on the Ars forums). Alas, I can only unceremoniously dump large piles of paper into recycling bags; this way would be much more entertaining.

Continuing recovery

I haven’t felt as tired as I felt this morning since the day after I took the first actuarial exam. My entire body felt extremely heavy, and I didn’t really have the concentration necessary to drive. Needless to say, work was a lot of fun.

Some good did come of dragging myself into the office, however. Bill, who maintains the office network, came in at the end of the day and was puttering around—and part of that puttering was installing software on my machine. We chatted while the software installed, and eventually our conversation came around to hard drive crashes. Bill then mentioned that most modern systems allow for mirroring of drives, which lit a light bulb in my head.

You see, neither my sister’s nor my computer are currently backed up. I’ve had computers long enough to know that hard drives fail, and they usually fail when you least want them to—indeed, a year or so ago Marin lost a good portion of her files from one such failure.

The only reason that she didn’t lose all her files was that I had a somewhat-recent backup.

Anyway, this lack of backup has been gnawing at me over the last couple days (yes, I’m the sort to worry about backing up)*, and the idea of mirrored drives was a lightning bolt to my brain. Indeed, Mac OS X does support RAID 1 (the technical term for mirrored drives); furthermore, there’s a read-speed boost from such a RAID, because both hard drives can be sent looking for different information at the same time. Marin’s computer already has a second drive in it, so I’m going to see if it’ll really work. (The biggest downside is that drive mirroring won’t protect you from accidental file deletion or viruses… but those have never caused me trouble in the past, and the most important files can also be backed up to CD…)

[*Sadly enough, I also learned that our work servers haven’t been backed up for a number of days now—thanks to a dead tape drive. That’s the kind of scenario that would give me nightmares, if I had any responsibility.]

Upon returning home, I found a letter from the Society of Actuaries waiting for me. Others must not have done all that well on the first exam, because my grade was a 10. [Obscure grading rules: range is from 0–10, where 6–10 are passing grades. Each increment/decrement from 6 is supposed to indicate a 10% deviation from the minimum passing score, or somesuch; 0 and 10 do not mean “all wrong” and “all correct,” but rather “pretty bad” and “pretty good.”] That’s kind of sad, in my eyes, because I know I didn’t get anywhere close to 100% on that test.

This evening we visited Grandma and said ‘hi’ to my aunt, who’s visiting for the month. We let her borrow a car every time she visits, so Marin and I now get to both battle over who gets the remaining car and complain over the other’s bizarre musical tastes.

…okay, so maybe I’m the only one with poor musical taste.

Beach trip recovery

Survived the beach trip, but (as usual) at great personal cost. Got about four hours of sleep that put a crick in my neck, and then took a three-hour nap this afternoon that allowed me to stay awake until now. I still feel significantly short sleep.

But it was a lot of fun. More, when I recover.


It seems that I’ve passed that first actuarial exam. My official title is now something along the lines of Actuarial Student with 1 of 7 exams under his belt.

At 7 of 7 I evolve into an Actuarial Associate. If you subscribe to the Pokemon convention of creatures only being able to say their own name, this means I’ll have far fewer things I can say than with Actuarial Student with x of 7 exams under his belt, but that will be more than made up for by the fact that I’ll be free to say ass as frequently as I want.

Right now, though, I need to figure out where I go from here. Up until now, getting to this point was all I really thought about.

Brent defeats Truman!

Yes, it’s time to get out and make all your wacky predictions about whether or not I pass the first actuarial exam. Results will be posted sometime on Friday; I’m bummed (though not surprised) that they didn’t have some little script to post the results at midnight eastern time.

In other news, writing thank-you notes is a daunting task. I mourn for the days (that I never had) when one could get away with scribbling thanks for the gift! you rock! on the back of a slightly-used napkin and then make that into a giant spit-wad that one then hucked at someone’s house.

(I may have some of those details wrong.)

Word on the street is that an exciting beach adventure may be in the cards for the weekend; that’ll be fun, if it goes through.

I read a bit of the third volume of Keroro Gunso last night, which had a hilarious story of the cast telling each other horror stories. One of the gals (the one prophesied by Nostradamus to destroy the Earth, actually) was confused, though, and her whore story went:

“So the guy’s thing was really… um… and the girl’s chest was all boing! and then…”

I nearly cried.

Pretty darn dull

Things continue to be pretty slow ’round these parts. I’m almost back to 100% again (finally), though I did nothing to really show it; instead I sat and scanned paper like a good scanner-boy.

The only break in the monotony of the work day was a result of Isla scoring free ice cream for all of us. Seems a representative of Cold Stone Creamery came in and asked if we were interested in some free samples. This person then asked how many people we had in the office, and then proceeded to stock our freezer with ice cream.

Apple Pie a la Cold Stone was pretty darn tasty, IMO. But, then again, I’m a sucker for apple pie in general.

My evening plans (writing some thank-you notes, after running them past my family) were stymied by Calliope developing a fever and the consequent trip to the vet. (We’re still not sure what’s going on with her, but she has a tender belly—and that’s weird.) Instead I waited for everyone to return from the vet, and wasted my time trying to work out an aesthetic issue with the presentation of this blog in Windows. Needless to say, I failed miserably; looks like I’ll have to delve back into PHP if I really want to work that out. I’m not sure it’s really worth it.

Winds of change

Occasionally throughout my life there’ll be windy evenings—not violently windy, as with a storm, nor just the occasional puff that comes along. The kind of wind that would provide ample oomph for a stunt kite; a continuous breeze that shakes the trees and plays with your shirt collar. (I tend to wear shirts with collars, FWIW.)

Occasionally, during those occasional windy evenings, I’ll be walking around outside and be in an introspective mood. At those times my mind associates those winds with the possibility of change, the possibility that there might be a fork approaching in the river of my life.

The first time I felt these so-called winds of change was my senior year in high school, before one of the traditional school dances (I forget which one, now). The second time was just prior to a trip I took to Europe through OSU—most notable for the fact that I was the only guy traveling with twenty gals. Both times I sensed that I could come out of those experiences a significantly different person; both times I emerged (relatively) unchanged.

With these winds, I always envisioned myself as a particle in a stream, swept along the course of time. A particle with a paddle, actually—living a life that is both in and out of my hands. (I’m not a fatalist, though I’m not blind to the fact that many of the events in my life are out of my control.) The majority of the time I’ve simply taken the path of least resistance; there haven’t been all that many times where I really needed to take a stand on something*.

Today, wandering around campus before the revolutionary Tuesday-night summer dance practice, I was once again surrounded by such winds. I then visited the ballroom dance practice, where I mostly sat and watched others dance. I really don’t tend to dance all that much (many of those dances are ones where a follow drags me out on the floor), and historically have had more fun watching others dance than actually dancing myself.

I’m different, now. I was watching one couple try out a funky move, and saw the lead get a big ol’ grin on his face when it succeeded. It was then that I realized that that’s the thing that I really enjoy about dancing—the small celebration of two people getting a move right. You don’t get that feeling, that experience, by watching others.

It’s also time that I take more control of my circumstances. The vast majority of my day is spent at work, and the vast majority of that time is spent listening to my iPod. Combine that with my generally quiet, introspective, self-doubting nature (think Piro, though hopefully not quite that advanced)—and it’s easy for me to fall out of practice at being social. With my actuarial exam results due this Friday, and the specter of a job hunt following it (provided I pass, of course), it’s really time to start being more social and acting like I have some self-confidence. (My theory: just as smiling can make you happy, acting self-confident can make you self-confident.)

I really can be quite the extrovert—I was one, for a shining period in my sophomore year of college—and it’s time I drag that part of me out again.

So, yes, this entire post is basically a big ol’ pledge to myself. Thank you for reading, and my apologies if it wasn’t all that entertaining. For entertainment, may I suggest the abridged script of Independence Day?

[*Honestly, I probably demonstrated the most backbone I ever have in my senior year in high school: between helping to edit the yearbook, standing up in class and taking the brunt of Mr. Goslow’s anger (his anger was more to make a point than actual anger—but it sure didn’t feel that way) for a major screw-up (I had been part of something pretty damn stupid), and trying to get student involvement in teacher salary negotiations (a presentation to the student government, which eventually resulted in me taking the stage against members of the school board), I did a heck of a lot that I’m not so sure I’d do today. I wouldn’t be surprised if I’m still scarred from that encounter with Mr. Goslow; although I was only part of the responsible group, I got hit with enough anger for everyone.]

The humor’s in the details

Still recovering (or, as I like to say, convalescing) from whatever crud got me this time. Y’all should be glad that this just means that I post very little; my family (and especially my sister) have had to deal with my being grumpy lately.

The big problem with being sick is that you don’t feel like doing anything, and so you never get around to posting all the humorous details of your days. The exhaustion that preceded my illness (hmm… related?) means that I’m even further behind than usual. Today I’ll try to catch up a bit.

First up, the Beanery visit featuring John. Brian had invited Eric and me over for dinner one evening (we had delicious tofu stir-fry), and afterwards I suggested that we try calling John up. Brian did, and soon we were on our way to the Beanery.

One of the first things out of John’s mouth (after greetings, and a cameo appearance by Melissa) was a request for us to dredge up fifty cents. Why? Because that night was the first night Katie (John’s sister) was house-sitting for someone, and he wanted Brian to call Katie’s cell phone and ask her if she liked scary movies. Needless to say, we dredged up the cash in a hurry—only to be let down by Brian, who “couldn’t compose himself enough to do the voice right” or somesuch. He ended up chatting with Katie conversationally, and then noting the point of his call was to ask her if she liked scary movies.

Her answer, if you’re wondering: “no.”

Once our drinks were drunk and the conversation had run dry (including a second cameo appearance, this time by Rachel C.), John suggested that we all go Sailor Moon LARPing in Riverfront Park. The suggestion was just too good to pass up, so we did exactly that. It made a fine evening.

(I am soooo kidding. I hope you know that.)

Also mentioned in the post I referenced above was that my cat is weird. Apparently my dad and Calliope were on the deck one day, when a bird landed on a nearby portion of the roof. The bird started twittering—and Calliope started twittering back (involving rapid movement/vibration of her lower jaw) at it. Dad says he’s never seen a cat do anything like that; despite being off-scale, her noises were otherwise similar to the sounds the bird was making. They carried on like that for a minute or two.

(Two days ago I discovered that Calliope had opened my desk drawer and jumped inside, thereby crushing all my paperwork. She’s too smart—and simultaneously stupid—for her own good.)

Although Project Shinji-Dogg was a failure, and most of the footage I made (in the hope of emulating Insert Credit’s Project FF-Dog) was totally useless, I did manage to come up with one winning sequence.

For those of you not in-the-know, Neon Genesis Evangelion starts off as a tale of a lone organization and its giant mecha (called “Evangelions,” or “Evas” for short) battling against invading creatures. The evangelions have a small weakness, however: they only have enough battery power to operate for a minute at full power, and so have giant power cords running out of their backs. Seeing this weakness, a competing company designed their own war robots with built-in nuclear reactors (!!!); the first prototype they created was called Jet Alone. Of course, Jet Alone goes haywire (or is it sabotage?), and Our Heroes have to stop it. Thus episode seven of Evangelion was born.

A while back, John had found some design online to build his own paper model of Jet Alone. Sometime between “a while back” and now, he also picked up a model of a production-grade evangelion. Since this was Project Shinji-Dogg, John saw fit to bring both of his models up. The end result of this was that we watched episode seven of Evangelion with John’s Jet Alone model staring down at us from over the TV, at which point this video clip was taken:

And that’s enough catch-up for one post. Still to come: the movie we watched after the first Spider-man, a brief impression of the Carmike theater, and the events of the Fourth.

Healing. Slowly.

I felt a whole lot better today than I did yesterday; if I can pull off a similar improvement tomorrow, I should be good to go for the Fourth.

Aside from watching the Anime Expo announcements roll in, I managed to clean some old, old software manuals off of a shelf next to my computer. The sad thing is that you can hardly tell that I did anything at all. Perhaps even more sad are the number of outdated programming references I have (HyperCard, FutureBasic, old-skool Mac C) that I still can’t bring myself to part with yet.

Yeah, I know—C is the only “real” programming language included in my list. Still, I cut my teeth on HyperCard BITD, and I have many fond memories of what I accomplished. (An arguable high-water mark was attained during one lunchtime in middle school, where I was challenged to create an RPG in thirty minutes in HyperCard, on a Mac LCII. Though you can imagine the quality, I managed to pull it off.)

This evening Marin and I made significant progress (especially in comparison to the paltry episode or two we’ve been able to watch lately) on Full Metal Panic. We’re almost to the point where we stopped watching, some time ago.

Discombobulated thoughts

It certainly didn’t take long for Marin’s predictions to start falling apart: this afternoon Media Blasters announced that they have the rights to Midori no Hibi. More predictions should be trashed tomorrow and Sunday.

The last couple days I’ve been complaining bitterly about being tired, and hence going to bed (it’s hard to write about your day when all you wnat to do is sleep)… the only problem is that, after having gotten reasonable amounts of sleep, I’m still out of it. Hence my new theory: I’m sick, dammit. Evidence supporting this hypothesis arose at 4:30 this afternoon, when I felt so bad that I clocked out of work early to go sleep on the (not-terribly-comfortable) work couch. My new hope is that I’ll be recovered in time for the Fourth.

In other news, I’ve become addicted to a new (to me) brand of jerky: Tillamook Country Smoker’s “Beef Steak Nuggets.” Jerky has always been a weakness of mine.

Well. Rather than try to force myself to write more when I don’t feel like it (again, that desire to sleep), I’ll link and run. I found a great piece on guilty pleasure movies (and, specifically, The Karate Kid part III) linked from Trying to Grok a few days ago, and identified with it quite a bit (I too have watched Karate Kid III more times than can be rationally justified). I do love some bad movies (The Wizard is near and dear to my heart, for one), and I consistently watched both Joe Bob Briggs‘ Monstervision and MST3K back in the day (be sure to read through IMDB’s MST3K quotes for a laugh).

And if you want something more tangible, have a look at 3hive.com (link originally found on Hicksdesign). Free MP3 downloads; try out different types of music. I should probably explore it more, as my musical tastes could use some broadening.

I mean, if left to my own devices I’d be listening to a mix of oldies and ’80s music. My sister’s the only reason I have any music on my iPod that might be palatable to other human beings.

Tired & anime licensing predictions

Too tired. A Big Gulp of Mountain Dew just barely wakes me up. Sometimes I hear voices. The toaster is telling me that there’s no air, that I can’t breathe, and that I should kill them all.

Er. Yeah. So, I’m going to try and get some more sleep so that I’m not a raving lunatic. (Too late.) Of course, my sister had to wake me up early this morning for absolutely no good reason. Next time I’m awake before her, it’ll be time for retribution.

I wish I could say that something exciting happened today, but it really was pretty dull. That, or I was just too tired to actually notice the awesome stuff occurring around me. There’s a rumor going around the office that we’ll actually get the fifth off, which I suppose is exciting. I mean, it’ll give me one more day to sleep.

This weekend is Anime Expo, if you’re into that sort of thing. Marin went to the trouble (I have no idea why) of putting together her predictions of what company will pick up which shows—though, obviously, not all to be announced this weekend—so I guess I’ll post them. Remember: if this list is correct, you heard it here first. If the list is wrong, then it was Marin’s list.

Asagiri no Miko
Full Moon wo Sagashite
Gantz (+ manga)
Kono Minikuku mo Utsukushii Sekai
Mantantei Loki Ragnarok
Midori no Hibi (+ manga)
Sensei no Ojikan
Sister Princess RePure
Ultra Maniac (+ manga)
Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou (manga)

AN Entertainment
Jungle wa Itsumo Hare Nochi Gu

Galaxy Angel cont.
Gundam something
Jubei-chan 2
Kenran Butoh Sai: The Mars Daybreak
Samurai 7
Scrapped Princess


Del Ray
Full Moon wo Sagashite (manga)
Yotsubato (manga)

Bakuretsu Tenshi
Hunter x Hunter
Tokyo Mew Mew (uncut)

Aishiteruze Baby
Bottle Fairy
Kimi ga Nozomu Eien
Koi Kaze
Le Portrait de Petit Cosette
Maria-sama ga Miteru
Tenchi OVA 3

Nothing, hopefully

Media Blasters
Kyou Kara Mao
Mirage of Blaze OVA
Yami to Boushi to Hon no Tabibito

Right Stuf
Keroro Gunsou

Yamada Taro Monogatari (manga)

Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne
Mint na Bokura (manga)
Nana (manga)
Ragnarok the Animation

Tenshi na Konamaiki
(Manga: Fushigi Yugi Genbu Kaiden, Kaguya Hime, Parfait Tic!, Zettai Kareshi)

[10:00 am Update: various prediction revisions, mostly related to the (new) presence of Del Ray in the manga market.]

Yes, there’s a psychotic amount of anime out in the world. And while I don’t agree with Marin on every title, my guesses would be fairly close to hers… should be interesting to see how (in)accurate she is.


It’s been a long, messy battle on my end—welcome to my new blog! (It looks a lot like the old blog, doesn’t it? At least, it better…) You now have the ability to use real, actual comments!

I’m sure you’re all thrilled.

Why brentarweb.com? All the good domains were taken in the 20th century. (That’s pretty much it.) As for the actual creation process: take my love of the term intarweb, and my sister’s cunning ability to mush two ideas together to create an unholy hybrid, and there you have it.

My current condition: dead tired. I managed to hold myself together through Spiderman 2 (which I thought was better than the original), but am falling apart something fierce right now. I’m tired to the point where it’s affecting my personality; I was irritated at work for no reason, and now find the most inane stuff funny.

Oh, and if you feel like emailing me rather than posting a comment: this email address will do nicely. Sooner or later I’ll figure out someplace on the page where I can put a permanent email link.

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