Old News: Dec. 2, 2003 to Dec. 17, 2003

9:39 p.m. [GMT-8:00]
17 Dec. 2003 (Wed); Post #421
Forgot to mention: Brad from the Penny Arcade store finally replied to my e-mail! I had CC'd Tycho (this was my sixth message; I was getting desperate) and asked that they reply and either (a) send me my package or (b) return my money. Well, Brad said that their records indicated that the package had been shipped, but he returned my money anyway. I thought that was really civil of them. I said if I ever got the package I'd PayPal them the $16.95 right back. Still don't know what kept them from replying to my e-mails for over a month...

Planetes #9 is coming down really slow... earlier today I BitTorrented a 50-meg AVI file [this torrent of a SmoothTeddy demo (program used to turn sketches into 3D models)] and it came down at a sustained 224 kB/s (Charter upgraded my acct. to 2 Mbps/down at some point). Anyway, now I'm getting about 10 kB/s.

7:33 p.m. [GMT-8:00]
17 Dec. 2003 (Wed); Post #420
Planetes #9 is out, Battle Programmer Shirase #4.2 is out, LotR:RotK is out. Planning on seeing RotK either Thursday or Sunday night. Possibly Saturday. Watched The Italian Job last night. It was good, but not as good as Ocean's Eleven (prolly the best heist movie of all time, IMHO). My Xbox-to-PSX converter arrived yesterday, along with my copy of Software from Amazon. I'm on Chapter five, BTW. Seems good so far, but I can't say I'm really impressed.

Went to Susan's 40th Birthday party last night. The PowerPoint slideshow was a big hit. The cake was good. Anyway, got stuff to do now, so later.

8:32 p.m. [GMT-8:00]
14 Dec. 2003 (Sun); Post #419
Justin tried to organize a GURPS game yesterday, but two of our players didn't bother showing up so we just watched some Firefly episodes and played Zombies!!!. Zombies!!! was good; Ryan won. I think it needs to be a little more complex and there were some minor rule problems (unaddressed issues, ambiguous wording, etc.). Found these rules from Zombies!!! 2 [PDF]; they provide some errata for the first game (e.g. when Alternate Food Source is played, you MAY NOT kill the zombies anyway).

After Ryan and Justin left, Phill and I watched a bunch of episodes of Firefly. Really awesome show. I think I even like it better than Stargate SG-1. Can't believe FOX canceled it. JD and Drew stopped by a little later (~3:00 am). We sat around and prated for a while. Then JD and Drew left and Phill and I watched some more Firefly eps. We got past the last aired show and stopped. Now I've only got the last three unaired episodes to watch.

Working on a complicated PowerPoint presentation. Gotta get it done by Tuesday. My new phone is still super awesome. Looking forward to Eric Funk's online THS game ("Credo"). Gonna play a ghost who was cryogenically frozen in 2012 and now inhabits a stickman cybershell.

Zombies!!! board game.
Our Zombies!!! layout from Saturday. That's a lot of undead.

12:14 a.m. [GMT-8:00]
13 Dec. 2003 (Sat); Post #418
Summary of events: Thursday: Got a new cell phone! It's the LG VX6000. I love it. It's got a color screen, a color OLED external display, supports voice dialing, has some really keen ringtones, and can take pictures (up to 640x480, 4x digital zoom). And it's really small. Anyway, then I got some DVDs (the whole Firefly series, The Italian Job, and Daredevil) and some frozen hot pockets/philly subs at Costco.

Friday: Watched a couple episodes of Firefly. Seems like a really good series. I think they went a little overboard emphasizing some the western elements (goofy guns, a train robbery, overdone soundtrack), but the more subtle ones make it interesting, like the Alliance-Independents/Union-Confederacy civil war parallel, the archetypal character roles (the Doctor, the Prostitute, the Preacher, the Outlaw Gunman), etc. The special effects are surprisingly good. It's like Wyatt Earp meets Star Wars (minus the Force and aliens); kind of an over-the-top American Cowboy Bebop. Anyway, then I went over to my parents' and we had lobster with spaghetti in cream sauce and broccoli. Fantastic meal. The lobsters were really big and a little sweet.

Need to do some heavy-duty Xmas shopping. Oh, and it looks like Eric Funk is starting a second online THS game. Chances are good that this one will get scheduled such that I can participate (the current one runs Saturday nights, relative to me in the pacific time zone). I think I'm gonna play a ghost in a cybershell with a Volkspider as a Vessel. BTW, prolly no GURPS tomorrow unless (a) everyone's like super gung-ho about it (doubtful), or (b) Hanwool or somebody wants to GM. Well, auf wiedersehen.

Yay, new phone!
My new LG VX6000 cell phone. Woo.

8:59 p.m. [GMT-8:00]
10 Dec. 2003 (Wed); Post #417
It's snowing outside! Prolly won't stick, but still. Snow!

Weather Docklet reports snow and 33 F.
That weather docklet really works.

6:11 p.m. [GMT-8:00]
10 Dec. 2003 (Wed); Post #416
Hooray, I'm done with school! (...Until January.) Just finished my CS224 final. Went extremely well. Planetes #8 is out (from Anime-Empire). Best episode yet, IMHO. Lavi is funny. Watched some more BPS... I decided I like the series.

Made a "budget-model" humanoid cybershell template for THS. It's only 47 points (compared to the Cyberdoll's 170). Should make it a little easier for ppl to play a basic robot character.

2:21 p.m. [GMT-8:00]
9 Dec. 2003 (Tue); Post #415
Got two finals tomorrow. Chose not to take the CS223 final since I'd basically have to ace it in order for it to positively affect my grade (the teacher drops our lowest test score and I've never gotten less than a 90% on the previous quizzes). But I've got my CS222 (Novell NetWare) test tomorrow, which I'm really dreading. Have to read the book. That's at 9:20 am (due to the weird finals schedule). At 5:00 pm I've got my CS224 (Network Essentials) final. That one shouldn't be too hard.

Watched all of Battle Programmer Shirase #1 (which comes in three parts, each 12 minutes long with only 7 minutes of unique content). Downloading #2 right now. I like the show, but won't make a firm decision till I watch #2 p1-3.

DDR Ultramix (for the Xbox) is out. I'm going to get it, but first I need an Xbox-to-PSX adapter for my CobaltFlux pad. I tried to order one off Level Six, but their site was messed up. I could put the item into my cart, but when I went to check out it would say "There are no items in your cart." I was going to e-mail them but I decided it wasn't worth the effort, so I used eBay. Got outbid on my first choice, just bid on this one.

On November 3rd I ordered a poster from Penny Arcade's store and paid for it through PayPal. Still haven't gotten anything. I've sent them four e-mails now... no response. Jeez. E-commerce should not be this difficult. I think I'll e-mail Gabe and Tycho since Brad (the store guy) seems to be ignoring me.

Drew bought a WorldPass for my grandma and JD so they can play on Titan. I'm talking about FFXI, BTW. I need to get to lvl 18. Arg. Drew's playing as a warrior again. He's almost lvl 19.

Transhuman Space: Broken Dreams should be out any day now. Really looking forward to it. Wish someone'd write novels using that setting. Oh yeah, that reminds me, I finished Flowers for Algernon early Monday morning. Really great book. There's a good Kathy Mar song of the same name about the book, but it's pretty hard to find. Anyway, I'm out of stuff to read again. I think I'll get Software by Rudy Rucker. I've heard a lot about the -ware series.

Update: Just ordered Software for $0.70 on Amazon. Okay, I better update my site... I've had this Dreamweaver window open for an hour now.

5:38 a.m. [GMT-8:00]
8 Dec. 2003 (Mon); Post #414
Okay, it's super-late/early, I can't sleep, and I'm bored. So I thought I'd make some lists. I'm always rating things in my head (like, "Wow, that movie was really good. Would I put it in my top 50? Yeah, for sure. Top ten? Eh, probably. Where? Emm... below Adaptation but above The Guru, I think." etc. etc.), so I figured I'd put some of 'em down on paper. Or an HTML page. Whatever.

These are subject to change. I might even have forgotten an item that I meant to put in here. These are my "Top Three" for various things I like.

  1. The Royal Tenenbaums
  2. Office Space
  3. Dawn of the Dead
  1. Beggars in Spain by Nancy Kress
  2. Lullaby by Chuck Palahniuk
  3. The Positronic Man by Isaac Asimov
  1. Never Did No Wanderin' - The Folksmen
  2. Blurry Eyes - L'Arc en Ciel
  3. Chori Chori Gori Se - Mela
  1. Yellowtail sushi (hamachi) with wasabi and soy sauce.
  2. Schweine medallion mit nudeltopf. (German dish, kinda like a really good boneless porkchop on a bed of special pasta with a rich cream sauce.)
  3. Deviled eggs.
Well that killed some time. The songs were really hard to pick. Even now, I'm kinda rethinking my choices for them. There's just so many I really like. Anyway. I think I'll make myself some shiro miso soup.

12:15 a.m. [GMT-8:00]
8 Dec. 2003 (Mon); Post #413
Little to report. Watched Chrno Crusade #2, decided I don't like the series. Watched Maico 2010 1-4, like them so far. Let's hope it doesn't slow down and stagnate like Chobits. Updated the Anime Ratings page.

Had to make this error page for hotlinking redirection. According to my webstats, ppl were linking directly to files that weren't HTML pages. That annoys me.

Just finished making a shell script for CS223. It's really simple, but I had to figure out some minor details with expr and echo.

Started reading Flowers for Algernon last night. I got through more than half of it in one sitting. I can tell it's going to be one of my favorite books. Might finish it tonight.

Got my Death to Smoochy DVD in the mail... from the Philippines. Got it for like $2.50 off eBay. Of course, it turned out to be a pirated version (bad quality, won't play in the Xbox, weird frame rate, no DVD case — just a jewel case, etc.). Annoying cuz the guy put up a picture of a normal DVD in a standard case. Anyway, need to remember not to order from sellers living in third world countries...

Haven't been on FFXI for like 3 days. It's so hard to find good parties. My grandma is playing now (a Tarutaru RedMage). Need to figure out how to use a WorldPass to get her on Titan.

Went wardriving with Phill on Saturday. I think I'm gonna try to make my own portable wireless setup (hopefully with a Shuttle XPC system, cheap LCD monitor, and a good inverter).

1:24 a.m. [GMT-8:00]
4 Dec. 2003 (Thu); Post #412
Holy crap, my portfolio is making money for the first time ever. Yup. If I sold everything right now I could make $2.61. Woo.

Finished watching Chrno Crusade #1. Not sure if I like it yet... need a couple more episodes. Right now I'm DLing Maico 2010 #2, Chrno Crusade #2, and all 13 episodes of something called Happy Lesson Advance. Actually, I think I'll cancel that last one since it looks like the same old rehashed Ranma 1/2 dritt. There's no way it's worth BTing 2.3 GB.

Played around with this piece of software, GFI LANguard Network Security Scanner, in CS224 today. It's really neat. It looks for open ports and shares and running services and apps that exchange info through the net. I looked up some of the IP ranges for Charter users who browse my site (some of the stuff in my CPanel keeps detailed logs)... fun stuff. Sometimes you can see their OS, what programs they're running (you can tell who's using Kazaa and what their usernames are), if they've got any servers up (so you can see the naughty ppl running web servers on noncommercial cable internet packages), etc.

I also looked at my monthly stats (I really like AWstats) while I was logged in. November was the first full month my site'd been up and accessible at hjo3.net, so I got an idea what my usual bandwidth usage should look like; 463.11 MB (91.58 MB in October, before Google spidered me). That averages out to about 15 megs per day.

Umm... don't have anything else to talk about really.

1:03 p.m. [GMT-8:00]
2 Dec. 2003 (Tue); Post #411
Not a whole lot going on. My Thief is level 16 in FFXI now (Sneak Attack is a very cool ability). Updated the Anime Ratings page. Have some stuff to finish watching... Chrno [sic] Crusade, Maico 2010, Narutaru (which doesn't look very good), Air Master, and Battle Programmer Shirase. Full Metal Alchemist gets better with every episode. Planetes 6 was hilarious, 7 was mediocre. I still have high hopes for that series.

On Saturday we had our GURPS game as usual. Halfway through, Ryan decided to leave. Ironically, from that point on the game got really good. In fact, I'd say it was probably the best THS game we've played yet, IMHO. The PCs had to investigate some cyberswarm disappearances for System Technologies AG's small agriculture division. This lead to an amusing but exciting encounter with a wild Martian goat, some interesting high-tech sleuthing work, and a short battle with a disgruntled technician in an exoskeleton (which resulted in a broken arm for Hanwool's character).

I'm nearly finished with Diary. It's really interesting, but not as good as some of Palahniuk's other works. It really makes you think; distinguishing between reality and perception, the relationship between suffering and talent, etc. So far, I'd put it ahead of Choke but behind Invisible Monsters. Apparently I missed one of his books: Fugitives and Refugees (came out just before Diary, but came from Crown Publishing instead of Doubleday). I'm gonna get it, but I'll have to "cleanse my palate," so to speak, with some other author before I read it. I think I'll try Flowers for Algernon.

Here're pictures of the living room since I rearranged stuff and some greenish cylinder thing some people installed without my permission... I'm not sure who it was exactly, but I think it was Charter. Anyway, the drittsekks left empty spray paint cans all over the place, including inside the fenced horse pasture.

Green cylinder thing.
The aforementioned cylinder.
   Living room.
New living room layout, now with access to Freya.

More of the living room. Desk Kathy gave me.
More of the living room. That's the desk Kathy gave me.

"It is better to be hated for what you are than to be loved for what you are not." — Andre Gide