Old News: April 18, 2003 to April 29, 2003

11:48 a.m. [GMT-8:00]
29 Apr. 2003 (Tue); Post #292
Thought I'd mention this; my family's taking a vacation to Virginia and Washington DC in June. Leave on the 11th, get back on the 15th. I kinda picked the location (nobody had any other real opinions, though Canada was mentioned). Choke had a kind of disappointing ending. Well, not as bad as it could've been, but still not that amazing. Like, Lullaby had a great ending, IMHO. I think I'm going to go buy some tuna fish and bread at the store and make sandwiches for lunch. Tuna and ramen. That could be good.

Today's MP3: Tom Smith - I Want to be Peter Lorre.mp3 (3:03).

5:08 p.m. [GMT-8:00]
28 Apr. 2003 (Mon); Post #291
Extremely good (at least, IMHO) GURPS session last Saturday. To sum it up quickly: Mala turned out to be on Duke Letta's side (he was a traitor to Umbriel) and pulled something like 20,000 troops though a portal into this world. Most of Umbriel's troops were either killed or defected. I tried to save Sgt. Nephe, but he wouldn't leave his men, so I took his cousin, Pvt. Niss. (I now speak Mirandian and English.) Torvald was captured and is being held in the seaside mountain town. We managed to rescue Mishkel (Umbriel's mate) and Alrach (Drew's Elven rune wizard). Currently, we're camped out on a small island about 60 miles out. Oh, here's the good part: I killed Commander Mala. Shot him in the throat, then stabbed him in the brain with my spear (he wouldn't die). My spear was christened Mindseeker because of this. Woo. Also, I got a miniature copy of the crystal bowl that lets people communicate across language barriers.

I assume you've heard about the whole Strawberry Shortcake-American McGee fiasco over at Penny Arcade. Of course, anyone with half a brain and access to the Google search engine can find the now-censored strip. Anyway, there's some interesting commentary from Tycho in today's edition, plus a hilarious strip I can't believe they had the chutzpah to publish.

The SARS problem seems to wrapping up. It seems to be the only thing on the news lately. Well, that and silly stories about invincible dogs and 4-inch terriers. The war is pretty much done with. At least, the exciting parts.

I'm like 20 pages away from finishing Choke (which I mistakenly called "Choker" earlier). It's been pretty good, but the last chapter (where Victor meets the redhead on the plane) really dragged. Background and explanation is good, but it could've been done in fewer pages. It was pretty obvious anyway. Lullaby was much better, but Choke is still better than average. I'd put it on the same level as Hit List (but not Hit Man) by Block. I think I'll read Probability Sun next (I think I could OD on Palahniuk).

Portfolio is doing well. Amazon is up an amazing 96.3% since I bought it. Of course, overall, my ROI is presently -27.7%. That's still better than what it was 6 months ago. I updated the links section. Today's MP3: Dance Dance Revolution - Mr. Wonderful.mp3 (3:13).

Invader Zim
An Invader Zim graphic. Why? Running low on web space (recycling), plus I've been watching it a lot lately. Delishus Weenie!

9:43 p.m. [GMT-8:00]
25 Apr. 2003 (Fri); Post #290
Just got back from dinner with my parents and sister. It's my dad's birthday. We went to that restaurant out on Clover Island. I had the seared Ahi tuna w/ baked potato and clam chowder. Then rainbow sherbert for dessert. All very good. I got him the Rusty Humphries CD "Bomb Iraq." (He'd mentioned it a couple times a few months ago.)

I went to Barnes & Noble earlier today (mostly cuz my family has a discount card there). I got Choker, Survivor, and Probability Sun (Palahniuk, Palahniuk, Kress, resp.). Can't wait to start Choker. It looks really good. If it's half as good as Lullaby, I'll be thrilled. I almost picked up The Uplift War, but then I thought about how Startide Rising wasn't especially gripping.

Olivia's registry keeps corrupting itself at the drop of a hat. I blame that damn rev. 2.2 GA-7DX mobo. (I know the connection seems tenuous, but the HDs are perfect...) I just bought a Gigabyte GA-7VKMP over at NewEgg. While I wait for that, I'll be Dance Dance Revolutioning on DeadLois. Well, Law & Order: SVU is on, so adjø.

4:11 p.m. [GMT-8:00]
24 Apr. 2003 (Thu); Post #289
Alright, the Charter crisis seems to be over. I have full access once again. 18 hours. Geez.

2:22 p.m. [GMT-8:00]
24 Apr. 2003 (Thu); Post #288
Okay, I've been almost without internet access (no e-mail, no geocities, most web sites unreachable) for about 16 hours now. At least I can still get to Slashdot and use AIM. I'm drinking a mocha frappuccino [crappy link, b/c I can't get to the decent ones]. Need... Overclockers.com... THG... Pete's Compendium... aaaaagh. Stupid, stupid Charter. Oh, how I despise their incompetent technicians. Wrath, pain, etc.

2:42 a.m. [GMT-8:00]
24 Apr. 2003 (Thu); Post #287
Arrrrgh, stupid Charter! One of their major routers is broken so I can't do some things (like check my e-mail or browse the Slashdot forums) and my ping is about 50-70 ms higher than it normally is. I've called the company twice (at least they have a 24-hour 800 number), the first person I talked to said it'd be fixed by 11:00 p.m. Of course, she was wrong. The guy I just talked to was even more vague.
Me: I thought the service was supposed to be restored by eleven.
Level 1 Tech Support Monkey: Uh... yeah, me too.
M: Do you know exactly what the problem is?
L1TSM: Some router thing. The router that connects you to the internet broke. So you can't get to some sites.
M: Ah. Does your chest hurt?
L1TSM: A little. Why?
M: 'Cause I'm stabbing the heck out of this voodoo doll. How about now?
L1TSM: Auuughggh!!! Oh my god! Aaaagggh! [gurgle, gurgle]
M: [steepling fingers] Excellent.
Okay, it might not have happened exactly that way, but you get the idea. Oh, they will feel my wrath. Or something.

Hanwool and I have been playing DDR since around eleven thirty. I scored 5.8 million on Kick the Can. Hanwool came near his 16 million top score a couple times. Hasn't beaten it yet. Found out Beefy (who I vaguely remember) has been updating his site, but he changed the blog page file name. Of course, I always link past the splash pages on my bookmarks, so I didn't notice the change. The new color scheme hurts my brain. Red, green, black... it's just so unnatural. Aren't those Iraq's colors? (After a quick Google Images search...) Why yes, they are. Tch, Beefy. At least he's not out gassing Kurds. Today's MP3: Those Darn Accordions! - Hotsy Totsy Polka.mp3 (3:22).

Beefy: PHS student by day, Saddam Hussein body-double by night.

3:59 a.m. [GMT-8:00]
23 Apr. 2003 (Wed); Post #286
I just finished watching Adaptation. I was going to save it for (probably) this Friday or Saturday and try the whole projector-computer-white-sheet thing, prolly outside. But then I thought to myself "Aw, none of your friends are going to like this movie. Ebert & Roeper loved it. Come on. You know how much they loved About Schmidt. Just save yourself the torture of their whining and watch it alone."

So, about half-way through the movie, I begin to realize I was right. The movie is slow, a little boring at times. A little frustrating. I almost consider turning it off. But I decide to finish it. Well. It turns out to be absolutely amazing. I don't want to give anything away, but it is totally worth it. Up to the half-way point, you might be thinking "Yawn. So what? How depressing." But in the end you realize it's all necessary. Not the best movie I've ever seen, but I'm sure it'd make my top ten. (My favorite, of course, being The Royal Tenenbaums.) It's really, really good.

The bad part is that through the first half, the main character talks about bad movie cliches, devices, etc. and how pathetic writers are that use them. But then a lot of them end up getting used towards the end. So I'm afraid I might have missed one of the subtle, but major, points of the film. Or maybe it's just meant to be ironic. Except you really sympathize with the main character when he complains (or just implies that he dislikes things) about chase sequences and thriller-type staples. I dunno. I choose Ironic.

My parents got me a first year German textbook from 1905 for Easter. It's really cool. Kinda got me interested in the language again, so I've been reading The Complete Idiot's Guide to Learning German on Your Own to try to brush up on it. Es ist nicht so schlect. Today's MP3: Andrews Sisters - Bei Mir Bist Du Schon.mp3 (3:00).

Adaptation. Ein sehr guter Film.

3:19 p.m. [GMT-8:00]
22 Apr. 2003 (Tue); Post #285
Quick update, things I've meant to mention: Justin got a Radeon 9800. I scored 1,402,300 on "Get me in your sight." Beefy's posting on other ppl's sites, but not his own (10 days now). BTW, Nick's site was in my links section, but I took it down because I thought he'd stopped serving it (every time I tried to go there, for like a week, it was down). If it stays up, I'll re-add it. The "Jesus Christ, P.I." play at Pete's Compendium is getting pretty good. That "eat two, Brutus" line was mine. I just noticed that ppl are starting to talk about processors (well, their circuitry, anyway) in terms of nanometers instead of microns. I watched Good Will Hunting last night. Vaguely depressing, for some reason. I did like the part where Damon put down that epigone in the bar though. I do not care for Desert Combat. The graphics, the idea, the mangling of a perfectly good WWII game... I'm using the Brain. It is good.

Okay, I'm done. Excuse the poor formatting. Today's MP3: Violent Femmes - Blister In The Sun.mp3 (2:24).

5:10 a.m. [GMT-8:00]
21 Apr. 2003 (Mon); Post #284
Easter was yesterday. Um. I don't really have anything interesting to say for this post, except that I put up a page for My DVD Collection. A picture, IMDb links. Also linked the Misc section-page to it. Oh, Slashdot just posted a link to the 2002 Nebula Award Winners. American Gods won Best Novel. Today's MP3: Elbow - Independent Woman.mp3 (1:56).

my desk
My desk: where the magic happens.

5:44 a.m. [GMT-8:00]
20 Apr. 2003 (Sun); Post #283
Very fast session synopsis for Hanwool's 3rd: Me (cuttlefish psi), Phillip (TL9 Roman), and Jones (Black & White det. from 60s) do a lot of diplomatical-pseudopolitic stuff with Umbriel. He's keeping secrets, doing some odd stuff militarily, and keeping us from speaking with everyone. Upshot: we can talk to most generals, commanders, and sergeant now. We hang out for a few days, then go through a portal to some new world with "a magical material." We'd know more, but Umbriel & co. lie to us a lot.

Anyway, we investigate. We find ourselves on an island/peninsula. There's a town cut into a mountainside. We go, it's abandoned. For some reason, the fish-men (Mirandians now, I think) send 5,000 troops through the portal. Oh, but it's not an invasion! Ri-i-i-ight. A flying ship "lands" (hovers) at the wharf eventually. Buncha guys with muskets and flintlocks get off (like 900). I create illusions of a gigantic (20' tall, 6' wide) Umbriel-monster(s) attacking them and climbing onto their ship. There's much confusion. Lots of guys get back on the ship and it flies away. And fires its 40 cannons at us as it does so. Jones takes 10 damage to the torso.

We get back. Commander Mala tries to "dress us down." He insults me, calls me a liar in-so-many-words to my face, etc. I tell him, without sugarcoating it, that I did a lot more for his people than he has (he had fires going in the camp, easily visible from the air). For some reason, he refuses to believe that 900 men with guns and cannons and a flying ship are a threat to 2,000 fish-men armed only with bronze swords and crossbows. Oh, and later that night he tortures his own scouts for information on the commotion in town.

Well, we have "words" a few more times. Sgt. Nephe lets it slip that this really is an invasion. We basically get kicked off any official mission activities. We go investigate some nearby islands (about 10-30 miles out). Nothing. We go back to the island, then around it (turns out it's a peninsula). We find another city built into the cliffs. We also see (from under the cover of my invisibility shell) Sgt. Norel's team sneaking around near it.

And that's where we ended the session. It took a long time because JD and Justin kept talking to the GM about their character details, then kept interrupting our session to get GMed through the arriving-on-fish-world part of the game. Yawn. They come out on Duke Letta's side (he's not dead after all). They cause all sorts of havoc. I wasn't really paying attention for their parts.

In other news: I got Olivia (the media server) working properly. Transferred a lot of stuff to her new 120 GB HD (about 60 gigs). Been making my own iced-tea. Very good. Ryan's still on the codine. Phill's car has been having some kind of battery trouble. Hanwool scored 16.3 million on DDR (Dam Dariram). 150 max combo. Yow. I'm just doing three and (sometimes) four noters like Pink Dinosaur, Keep Me in Your Sights, and Kick the Can. I like Eat You Up. Still, I keep confusing up and down. Finished a polo brochure and web site.

BTW, here's a good DDR site, if you enjoy such things.

Today's MP3: Jimmy Rogers - Kisses Sweeter Than Wine.MP3 (2:19).

DDR Freak

7:24 a.m. [GMT-8:00]
18 Apr. 2003 (Fri); Post #282
I got a bunch of stuff in the mail. My network tester (a while ago), my mounting-kit and blue-LED fan (a little while ago), and my 120 GB IBM hard drive (very recently). Installed the HD; it detects and partitions fine, but I've been having some trouble formatting it (tried FAT32 twice, both failed, now trying NTFS). My mom got me a nice Casio digital watch. It's the G2210. It even has a day-counter (only 125 days until my birthday!) and a 25-entry databank, among other things. I took the band assembly apart and put the watch on a string so I can wear it around my neck (which I am doing now). The band was okay, but I don't really like having things around my wrists or fingers.

Hanwool GMed the second session of his dimension-hopping campaign on Thursday. It was a very long session. The skinny: Justin (vampire) died, Ryan (were-lion) died, Phill (TL9 Roman), Drew (reptile-man), Ryan (now as a black-and-white detective), and I (cephalopod psi) went to another world, traveled about 300 miles over 6 days, met some rat-creatures in a bizarre stone monolith (~40 stories), saved Umbriel's ppl from Duke Letta's army, returned to our own worlds.

I'm going to get my anime CD binder back from JD so I can copy some of them over to the media server (now with 180 GB of space). I think the main things I'll transfer are Mr. Show, Invader Zim, Sealab 2021, some Azumanga Daioh, Chobits, Cowboy Bebop, and GTO. And of course, all the movies spread out over other systems (~25 GB).

Got some new DVDs to add to the collection: Drum Line, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, and LotR: FotR (Platinum Series Extended Edition; 4 discs). Been playing BF1942 quite a bit online. Debating whether or not to install Desert Combat. I don't really care for the premise, and the screen shots aren't that impressive. Then again, I could say the same things about Counter-Strike, which I do enjoy. Lately, I've been playing Wake and El Alamein a lot (I esp. like CTF on the latter). Gazala CTF is good too.

Only 17 or 18 days till the MS thing in Spokane. Good thing we registered early. Oo, free legal software. Hooray. Today's MP3: Jesus Christ Superstar - Heaven On Their Minds.mp3 (4:22).

Hanwool the GM.
"Umbriel pauses in his speech to describe the process by which his civilization's mud bricks are made. First, they find the right mixture of clay, then, if the season is right, wooden forms can be built and left in a sunny spot to cure. The mud is sometimes mixed with sand to... blah blah blah, etc., blah blah blah..."
Hanwool, GM.

"Eighty percent of success is showing up." — Woody Allen