Old News: February 9 to March 14, 2004

1:59 a.m. [GMT-8:00]
14 Mar. 2004 (Sun); Post #456
Happy Pi Day!

Had the second session of our new Upsidaisium campaign; Ryan ditched us, but Phill, Justin, and I gamed. Ryan's character, run as an NPC, died (Sarone convinced him to try taking on an RAF guard single-handedly; he ended up taking a bullet in the gut). Phill's character, Ace McGregor, also expired (got horribly tangled in some barbed wire trying to climb an 8' fence, but died only when he had a bad reaction to a coagulant the doctor gave him).

Later, Hanwool, and Ryan showed up. We played some Settlers of Catan (I won with 3 cities and "Longest Road"; Drew showed up halfway through) and watched most of Saturday Night Live.

Have a ton of finals Sunday and Monday. And homework that's due Monday. Ugh. Saw this really cool plumber's bag at Bohemian Traders that'd be perfect for my Inspiron (it was mentioned in a Gizmodo article that Slashdot linked to).

Secant, tangent, sine! Three point one four one five nine! Go pi!

4:35 p.m. [GMT-8:00]
10 Mar. 2004 (Wed); Post #455
Just ordered a Dell Inspiron 9100 notebook (got a good deal on it via TechBargains). It'll be arriving at my grandparents' house in Coos Bay around the 23rd (remember, I'm going down there on the 22nd). It has nice stats for a laptop:
Pentium 4 2.80 GHz, 15.4" screen, native res of 1280x1024 (WXGA), 512 MB DDR400, 64 MB ATI Mobility Radeon 9700, 4x DVD burner, 40 GB HD
Plus I added the TrueMobile 1400 WLAN 802.11a/b/g Mini-PCI card (the 9100 has an integrated dual-band antenna). Anyway, gotta go fix someone's computer... somehow they ended up with the Blaster worm, so I just need to pop my thumbdrive in and install the XP patch.

Dell notebook
Dell Inspiron 9100

7:08 a.m. [GMT-8:00]
8 Mar. 2004 (Mon); Post #454
Have tons of homework hanging over my head. Been doing a lot of tech work lately. Put up some curtains in the living room. Had a GURPS game on Saturday (Upsidaisium). In a nutshell: PCs crashed in the Sargasso, nearly died of thirst, bribed their way onto a British zeppelin, set an Australian cave-goblin loose on a crowd in Wilmington, and Justin's character died in a fight with a bum in a sleazy hotel.

Some great stuff happening around the 16-19th; UT2004 comes out, Dawn of the Dead and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind open in theaters.

Ordered the Stargate SG-1 Season 6 DVD set on Amazon. Should be here on the 12th or 13th.

Got the final cards for my new blue deck. I think I'm going to swap out some cards for another Icy Manipulator and some more counterspell-type cards... might try to fit a Pemmin's Aura + Prodigal Sorcerer combo in there. Or maybe rearrange things to include a couple Ertai, Wizard Adepts. Anyway.

Put up my neon sign. Picture below.

Neon sign
Henry's: Since 1856.

New curtains.

4:26 a.m. [GMT-8:00]
3 Mar. 2004 (Wed); Post #453
Been busy. Went to the LAN party on Saturday; it was okay. UT2004 was thoroughly dominated by Drew. We also played this custom WC3:TFT map, 7 Hero Siege, a lot. Had dinner at Round Table with Phillip and Justin that day. The pizza was good.

Sunday and Monday were mostly spent backing up/ wiping/ setting up this really pooched PC. Monday night, JD and I played a lot of MTG. Today, he, Drew, and I went to go buy a box of tourney packs at Best Bett, but they didn't have much and their prices were higher than Infinite Frontiers'. Anyway, we each got three Mirrodin starters. I got some keen artifacts. We're tentatively planning on going to IF tomorrow to pick up a box of Eighth Edition. Ad interim, I've been altering my white deck. Generally swapping weaker creatures for strong, adding more denial elements, that sort of thing.

I rearranged my living room. Now I've got three systems (Freya, Eir, and Tabatha) and desks in here, all with network connections direct to the 16-port switch.

Living Room v2.0
New living room setup.

Cozy, ain't it?
Sanders's LAN.

4:55 a.m. [GMT-8:00]
28 Feb. 2004 (Sat); Post #452
Yeesh, I need to update this thing more regularly. Lots of homework is coming due very soon. In one class, I have a huge amount due on March 15th. Just did a test this evening, have another Sunday afternoon. Also have some tech work to do in Pasco that afternoon, but it sounds like all I need to do is the standard AdAware/ Spybot/ HijackThis de-ickifying and immunization plus some basic Office stuff.

Tomorrow (today?) is the LAN over at Kevin Sanders's apartment. Eight ppl are coming; Drew, Kevin S., Kevin M., Justin, Phill, Hanwool, and me. Hm, that's only seven... I can't remember who the eighth is. JD dropped out because he couldn't get out of work. Something about shifts or something. Anyway, the event is supposed to be from 10:00 am to 3:00 am. Bring network cables and power strips. UT2K4 and Savage will probably be the big games. ATM, I'm working on setting the Shuttle up as a dedicated server for UT2K4. If you need any info about the LAN, call Kevin S. @ 430-2090.

Finished watching the Malcolm in the Middle season 1 DVDs. Good show. Also saw Scrubs 3x14 (who needs Tivo when you can BitTorrent?) and Planetes 15 today. Still haven't gotten to Full Metal Alchemist 19 & 20.

Got and read Transhuman Space: Deep Beyond. Really great. At least as good as In the Well, possibly better. Has some really interesting stuff on the construction of various habitats towards the end. And there's this awesome vignette series and character write-up about a USAF AKV SAI (boy, that's a lot of acronyms). Speaking of THS, we had [Credo] session #7 on Thursday; it was pretty fun, even though our characters hardly left a hotel room. The GM's trying out this new CP award system where players award tokens to other PCs for good roleplaying, heroics, etc.

In MTG news, I'm building this cool blue deck right now. Received three of the cards I needed (got em on the 26th), now I'm just waiting for four more from a single eBay auction I won on the 17th. The guy I bought them from is in Klamath Falls, OR... you'd think shipping would be faster. Anyway, built this big green creature deck (I was somewhat inspired by Hanwool's preconstructed). It's very fun to play. Its only real weakness was dealing with flyers, but that seems to have brought to a manageable level by adding a second Neurok Hoversail (common Equipment artifact), which I traded from JD. Also been fine-tuning my goblin deck. Just got some cards from Drew on Thursday that should help it along (another Spikeshot Goblin, a second Goblin Striker, and a Raging Goblin).

BTW, saw Lost in Translation. Verdict: good, but a little slow. Okay, got to pack up stuff for the LAN party.

6:10 p.m. [GMT-8:00]
22 Feb. 2004 (Sun); Post #451
On Friday, Drew came over and we played a lot of Magic (I built this really cool white deck that uses a Dawn Elemental + Pariah combo). Then Phill came over and we played some more Magic. Then we watched American Splendor in the green room (I set up the 2.1 sound and projector for Baron Munchausen the week before last). Really, really good movie. It's simultaneously depressing and happy. Pretty funny too. It's a little like Adaptation, the way it mixes real life people and events with the movie, but it's really more like a documentary. Anyway, it's probably in my top ten, or at least my top fifteen.

On Saturday, yesterday, Drew, Brittany (his SO), Phill, Hanwool, Justin, and I got together at Round Table Pizza and had dinner and played M:TG. While I was engaged in a fierce battle against Hanwool and Justin (my goblin deck vs. a mono-black and a green giant-creature deck), one of the owners of Best Bett Cards & Comics came up to our table, gave us a couple business cards, and said he added a gaming room and might be hosting Friday Night Magic in the near future (after introducing himself and mentioning his store, of course). Anyway, that'd be pretty cool. Right now the nearest places with FNM tournaments are in, like, Spokane and Wenatchee.

Incidentally, when I fly down to Coos Bay, OR for 9 days in March (the 22nd to the 31st) I'm going to try playing in a FNM tourney at a local shop. Kinda strange that Coos Bay (population 15,374) has a DCI-sanctioned tournament place and the Tri-Cities doesn't.

Later, we went back to my house and played some more Magic (including an interesting 2 vs. 2, me and Phill against Drew and Justin; we won). Then we played a couple games of Lunch Money (Drew won both) and a game of Tile Chess (Justin won).

12:23 a.m. [GMT-8:00]
20 Feb. 2004 (Fri); Post #450
Hm, haven't posted for a while. Been playing a lot of Unreal Tournament 2004. Actually, just finished up a 2.5 hour session with Kevin S. and Drew on the [HOG] Crunchy Critters server. There's a screenshot of our scores below. Definitely going to pick this game up when it comes out on March 16th. We're hoping to play the demo at our next LAN party (which'll probably be next week).

Also been building Magic decks. Right now, I'm working on a mono blue and a mono white (waiting on some cards I ordered through CardHaus and a couple eBay auctions). Darksteel and Mirrodin have some cards that let you do really cool combos. I put up my deck from the Friday-the-13th Sealed Deck tourney (mainly because I had to cannibalize it for my new decks and wanted to be able to remember what I used to cream the other guys). I tried to use the format they use at the Wizards web site. Unfortunately, I don't think it's possible to link to their little Java card-encyclopedia thingy from outside the site. I'll ask about it on the message boards.

Read some trade paperbacks I got from IF; one of the Lenore TBs and two from Alan Moore: Tomorrow Stories Book One and Top Ten (Book 1). Top Ten is awesome... it's kind of like The Tick, but a little more serious. Actually, I guess it'd best be described as The Tick meets Powers. Anyway, I've got Top Ten (Book 2) and League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Vol. 2 coming in at IF. Also went through 4 KoDT issues. Really like the storylines, need to get #88 and Blackhands Special #2.

Been meaning to rearrange my living room so I can fit another desk in here and hang this really cool neon sign my parents got me (it says "Henry's," and then below that "since 1856"). I'll post pictures as soon as I get it up. Also, going to get some decent curtains for the front living room window.

Oh, had our 6th session of the online THS game, Credo, today. It was really good. We were riding in a cab back to our hotel from some restaurant and the automated cab started taking a bad route (my VI picked up on this because it was running cartography software in the background). So we're all trying to hack the cab computer when we enter a wireless dead spot and get ambushed by these spider-mine things. They blow us into the air (not hard in 0.16 G; we were on Luna) and topple a semi-truck and a tour bus. Somehow, we survive and escape the locked cab, rescue the bus passengers, save the truck driver, and investigate the trailer (there were some odd sounds coming from within and I was picking up a heat signature on infravision). Then this van smashes out of the back of the trailer (which was on its side) and streaks away. Anyway, then the cops showed up and we concluded the session. Some guy, Randy from Albuquerque, lurked in the IRC chan to see what the chat was like.

Well, that's about it. Prolly play M:TG at Round Table this weekend.

UT2K4 scoreboard.
UT2K4 scores from a ONS-Torlan round.

5:04 p.m. [GMT-8:00]
14 Feb. 2004 (Sat); Post #449
The Magic tournament was lots of fun! Had it last night. All the pairings were determined randomly (except the last one, of course); each contender rolled a d20 and the highest rollers played each other, the lowest was given the "bye" (allowed to jump to the next level without playing in a match). Then each pair played until one player had won two out of three games (we didn't have any draws). Against all odds, Matt Tomsinski got the bye every time in both brackets. I won the tournament with a white/ green/ blue deck (creature heavy thing with a 26:33 land-to-spell ratio; relied primarily on some big green monsters, artifact creatures (like the awesome Darksteel Gargoyle), and some white instants for life gain and creature boosting). Drew won the Loser's Bracket with a white/ red/ green deck.

The ladder results are included in the image below. The loser's bracket had a bye in the first round because JD dropped out (he had just flown in from Utah and was tired, apparently). Anyway, I won 4 boosters (Scourge, Nemesis, Mirrodin, and Onslaught) and Drew, winner of the losers, won a Darksteel booster. The sealed deck supplies we used for deck construction were 1 Mirrodin starter plus 2 Darksteel boosters.

Okay, Ryan, Paige, and Tanya are here, so I have to go.

Friday the 13th Sealed Deck Magic Tournament.
Our Friday-the-13th Sealed Deck Magic Tournament.

1:48 a.m. [GMT-8:00]
12 Feb. 2004 (Thu); Post #448
Finally got the CGI counter working properly. You can see it at the bottom of this page (the italicized text). Turns out I made a small mistake when I uploaded the files to the new server; I CHMODed the counter.cgi file to 766 instead of 755... see, so it had permissions for read/ write instead of read/ execute. D'oh.

Drew's probably got either an ulcer or a gall stone, so he's getting an ultrasound on Friday. (He went to the doctor today.) Apparently he's not allowed to eat anything with fat in it till then b/c it might aggravate the gall bladder. Anyway, he'll still be coming to the M:TG SDT (Sealed Deck Tournament).

You've prolly all heard the UT2K4 demo is out. I looked at the features and stuff... doesn't look very different from UT2K3; seems like they just added vehicles, spider-mines, more maps, and integrated VoIP support. Iono, I'll still download it and try it out, but I'm not expecting much.

Been meaning to start playing BF1942 again. I really like that game. Actually, after I post this, I'll probably just cancel my current BT download and try a few rounds on Wake Island. Ergh, I see they've released a new version since I stopped playing; v1.6.19 seems to be the latest. I'm still running v1.5. And FilePlanet's bound to be fairly overloaded with the UT2K4 demo. (Actually, just checked it: estimated wait time is only 16 minutes. Hmm.)

Alright, I'm gonna go read the 12/01/03 M:TG Comprehensive Rules doc while my downloads are going... need to figure out this new "Imprint" ability. Maybe I'll clean for the SDT.


9:41 p.m. [GMT-8:00]
10 Feb. 2004 (Tue); Post #447
Yay, finished my last test in the W-building open lab; just barely finished in time... apparently the lab closes at 9:00 pm. Got a 90% though.

Watching Scrubs right now. Missed one of my favorite shows b/c of the midterm, but I can BitTorrent it later tonight.

Set up my Shuttle, a 2.1 speaker set, and the projector for a PowerPoint presentation and some video clips for my parents' polo club meeting earlier this evening. They had some really good food there... key lime pie, fruit tart with custard, pettifores (sp? it's some kind of miniature cake-like confection), salami, cheese, bread, and some kind of fancy Danish butter.

This looks really cool, but loads slowly. It's some kind of sci fi anime movie trailer.

Seems like the sealed deck M:TG tourney on Friday is a go. Will prolly start around 8-9 pm. A bunch of us will go to Infinite Frontiers earlier in the day, prolly 3:30-4:30 pm. So far, the list of players is: me, Drew, JD, Matt T., Ryan (probably). I haven't bought Magic cards in a long time, so I'm not exactly sure what's out, but Drew and I were talking about Scourge, Mirrodin, and Darksteel as expansions to use.

Thinking about moving things around in the living room some more. I'd like to put the Shuttle on its own desk. Or maybe move the Vaio in here (or rebuild DeadLois/ Chesty). Anyway. Decided it was time for a desktop screen shot (I like looking at them later on to see how my UI tastes have changed; my last one was Oct. 15, 2003).

Hippo Girl is an awesome song. Can't really understand the words though.

Full Screenshot (1280 x 1024, PNG) [445 kB]

6:42 p.m. [GMT-8:00]
9 Feb. 2004 (Mon); Post #446
Was on my way to Kennewick to do some real estate photos and there was an accident on the blue bridge (about a score of cars ahead of me). Involved a little white four-door sedan and a big semi-truck. Not sure how it happened, but the sedan had its whole front smashed in. Anyway, got to the address and snapped some pictures. The owner was out front when I got there. For some reason, ppl tend to get really uptight if they see you taking pictures of buildings. Spent like 10 minutes explaining the whole thing to him, i.e. how real estate comparisons require pictures of houses with similar specifications. I hate talking to dumb hicks. Got Zip's on the way home. Really good. I like their fries a lot.

Saturday's GURPS game was a typical disaster. Justin and Ryan's characters died (killed by Drew's PC on an alien world). Kurtz (Justin) killed one of the other humans revived from cryostasis and a Hemmalar scholar. We won't be playing this weekend since Drew's going to be out canoodling, Phill's getting drunk with RadCon nerds, and Hanwool seems to have been grounded by his mom. Instead, Drew and I are hoping to organize a Magic: The Gathering sealed deck tournament on Friday. Hopefully JD and Matt Tomsinski will be able to come.

Anyway, I've got a lot of homework due, plus midterms today and tomorrow.

"Stoop and you'll be stepped on; stand tall and you'll be shot at." — Carlos A. Urbizo