Old News: January 20th to January 28th, 2002 (10 entries)

11:43pm [PST; GMT -08:00], 28 Jan. 2002 [Monday]; Post #112:
Okay, I added another item to the header. The day of the week now appears in brackets after the date. Anyway, a couple things today: (1) Justin changed his middle name, and (2) I got my Frighteners DVD. Justin's name used to be "Justin Mac Osborn," but now it's "Justin Dale Osborn." He had it legally changed a few weeks ago. Why? He hated the name 'Mac' and really likes that (deceased) race car driver, Dale Earnhardt (sp? do I care?). The Frighteners DVD came on Saturday around noon-thirty. I have this idea for a GURPS setting that basically consists of a fusion of my steampunk setting (did I name that? I can't remember) and the world of the Myst books (circa Book of Atrus). Some group from Neo-Britain begins an unimaginably huge tunnel system 40 miles below the surface of the earth in order to escape the Rapture which began in Israel four weeks prior (in this context, the Rapture is an anhilatting force that slowly spreads outwards, reducing everything in its path to ash, lava, and slag; it cannot be stopped). Anyway, it's fun to think about. Andi Jones posted something in the TL8 Arms thread on GURPSnet that was very interesting. It deals with the difference between realistic and cinematic role-playing in a way I hadn't thought about. Here's a quick excerpt:

really, it's the realistic<->cinematic spectrum. in the most general terms, a realistic setting - even if it's imaginary or speculative - is one in which the GM decides how the world is and what the contents of that world are, and the adventures that occur there are logical extensions of that vision. in a cinematic setting, the GM decides what kind of action he wants, and makes the setting conform to the desired premise. and in some cases, unreconcilable issues are either ignored completely, or dismissed with genre conventions. so your setting may be meant to look and feel like one of those manga series like "bubblegum crisis" with hardsuited megacops in what is otherwise a normal-ish world. if so, you don't need to justify why or how your b-SWAT guys have that kind of armour...

You can read the original e-mail here (7.00 kB TXT). New ZZZ Online today. My (fake) Amazon stock has now risen 23% since I bought it last week. Made almost $800 today in my fantasy stocks for Investments class.

10:53pm [PST; GMT -08:00], 24 Jan. 2002; Post #111:
Did I mention I ordered The Frighteners from Amazon? It shipped yesterday, so I should be getting it next Monday or Tuesday. Great movie. Anyway, remember back when I was using the OSX Visual Style in Win XP? Well, I was using StyleXP from TGT Soft to implement it. The 30-day trial ran out, so I was screwed (all my VS's stopped working). But this little .DLL replacement came out from TGT Soft that's freeware and let's you use any VS you want. It's great. In fact, it's so great I'm gonna put it up on this site (the link is below). It's only 16.9 kB zipped. Basically, it makes a replacement for uxtheme.dll which normally resides in your windows/system32 directory. And it works. I have about 20 different VS's (.msstyles files) from ThemeXP.org that I cycle through... I usually change every 3-4 days. Right now, I'm using NapesQNX. What else? Not much. Re-reading the Myst books (Atrus, D'ni, Ti'ana). Braided some different colors of bailing twine (orange, yellow, blue). It looks neat. That's about it.

uxthemepatcher1.zip 16.9 kB

5:31pm [PST; GMT -08:00], 23 Jan. 2002; Post #110:
Bought a new computer case today. Actually, I got two of the same kind. I got the "1701 White Code6039 USB Front" from ColorCases.com. It was in the Specials section and only cost $25. It's got four 5.25" bays, three 3.5" bays (only 1 exposed) and measures 7.17"W x 16.54"H x 19.69"L (width, height, length). I got two cuz I'm gonna use one for a new system and the other is going to house my sister's old eMachine (266 MHz Celeron)... in its current state, some components don't fit inside the original chassis (had to replace the PS and the old one was a special tiny type). Anyway, there's a pic of the case below. Oh yeah, it has 2 USB ports on the front, which I really like. Nearly all my peripherals are USB these days (printer, scanner, mouse, keyboard, satellite modem, memory stick reader...). I'm glad to be building a new machine -- the 1400 is great for gaming, but it's too noisy for everyday use (a 120mm and three 80mm fans are surprisingly loud in a small room like mine). My Ameritrade stocks are doing well. Both AMD and American Eagle Outfitters were up today; AMD 41 cents, AEOS $1.21! That's a 3.73% increase on the AEOS since I bought it. My 20 AMD stocks, OTOH, are still down $57 from what I paid for them, but I think we're bound to see some growth in the next week. I predict AMD will be at $18.50 next Wednesday. Of course, IANAFP (I Am Not A Financial Planner). Great insult letter to spammers, from the Bernard Shifman archives. More favorite actors: Kevin Kline and Christopher Lloyd [and here and here]. Anyway.

5:29pm [PST; GMT -08:00], 22 Jan. 2002; Post #109:
Thought about more actors... Sam Waterston [and here], Jon Lovitz [of The Critic], Matt Frewer [of Max Headroom and Psi Factor], and Phil LaMarr (yet another person who has no official site, despite the huge amount of work he's done... LaMarr has also done a lot of voice work for animated stuff, too, which surprised me). Those are all the ones I can think of right now... Anyway, I did my fake portfolio for Investments class. It's pretty well diversified but has a couple aggressive growth stocks. There's a picture of it below (we got $100,000 to use). My satellite internet connection has got me addicted. I'm on a lot more than I used to be... everything's so fast. And I set up Outlook Express 6 to work with my Hotmail acct., so I read my e-mail a lot more frequently. I used to use only the website cuz the outlook version was much slower on my modem for some reason. Hm. Well, I've got Max Headroom websites to puruse and Max Payne levels to beat. Later.

10.8 kB

1:11am [PST; GMT -08:00], 22 Jan. 2002; Post #108:
Oh my gosh -- I forgot: Leo Laporte [and here and here] and Kate Botello [and here]. They hosted 'The Screen Savers' back when TechTV was ZDTV. They were so awesome. Then Kate went over to Gamespot instead. I don't know why though. She was perfect for TSS. And now they're phasing Leo out (or he's moving into management or something) cuz he's not even on Call for Help anymore. I hate the Locker Gnome.

12:34am [PST; GMT -08:00], 22 Jan. 2002; Post #107:
That Crossing Jordan episode was really good. Turned out that a priest had faked the 'miracle' (sort of). Oh, Robert Picardo was in the show as the priest! He's one of my favorite actors... he played The Doctor (or, as he was called in the final episode of ST:V, Joe) on Voyager. Now if only they could feature Dave Foley, Bruce McCullough, and Margaret Cho. Remember when Cho had that series? "All American Girl," I think. It was kind of funny, but not great. She is one of my favorite female comedians though. My absolute favorite female comedian, however, is Elvira Kurt. She's hilarious. Actually, if I'm making a list of favorite actors, I'd also have to include Kevin Spacey, Tim Curry, Alyson Hannigan, and, of course, the great John Cleese [or his look-a-like]. Can you believe John Cleese doesn't have his own official website? OMG, it's a disgrace. I can't think of any other favorite actors... unless you count Weird Al Yankovic (he had one straight-to-video movie, UHF, and a short-lived show on CBS that aired at 7:00am on Sundays... I actually got up to watch it, too). I have all his songs and the DVD of his music videos. I even have a T-shirt I got at one of his concerts in Eugene, OR (my grandma and I drove 45 minutes to see it). Anyway. I get off on tangents pretty easily.

10:08pm [PST; GMT -08:00], 21 Jan. 2002; Post #106:
Crossing Jordan is just starting (well, 8 min. into it) and it's great so far! Theres a weird alignment of the planets and some homeless guy died with the stigmata and said he was St. Francis. This is the best kind of episode. I'm really starting to like this show. Okay, l8er.

12:28pm [PST; GMT -08:00], 21 Jan. 2002; Post #105:
Last night, only Simpsons and MitM (Malcom in the Middle ... it takes a while to type that out) were new. Everything else was a rerun, except L&O:CI which was replaced by the Golden Globe awards show or something. I stayed up really late playing Literati on Yahoo! Games. I won all my games, too. In one game, I used all my letters in the first turn to get the 35 point bingo bonus. One of the idiots in there didn't even know what 'kinesis' meant. That would be nallott. He was extremely rude, but sharon was polite and showed good sportsmanship. Anyway, the screenshot is below. The next pic is of my quicklaunch bar. I like to look back at them occasionally and see how things have changed. The third screenshot is of a transfer I did this morning -- 160 kbytes/second! It actually held steady at about 150 and I got the whole 114 mB file in about 10 minutes. The last picture is one I took this morning from the top of the hill on Road 68. At 1280 x 960, it makes for a good desktop wallpaper.

72.4 kB, 44.1 kB, 8.40 kB, 61.8 kB.

5:20pm [PST; GMT -08:00], 20 Jan. 2002; Post #104:
You may have noticed that I changed the blog entry header again. It now lists the entry/post number at the end. Post #100 was the first entry on January 14th. I mentioned this in the entry that was lost to the ether thanks to some anomaly in DreamWeaver 3. Speaking of DreamWeaver, I'm about to download DW4. I downloaded The Royal Tenenbaums and Lord of the Rings today, but I think I won't be dl'ing any more movies unless they're DVD rips -- the quality is just too poor. I called Hanwool and told him about my new broadband connection; he told me that he turned his 1.4 GHz into a Linux box! What's he use it for? Half-Life CS server. Woo. I finished Caverns of Socrates. The last couple chapters were really good, but I don't think I'll read any more Dennis L. McKiernan books until the sequel to this one comes out. Okay, anyway, Andi Jones made an interesting post (TXT; 3.77 kB) on GURPSnet today. Part of the "Virtual Prisons" thread. Extremely good stuff. I haven't been this interested in a thread in quite some time. Also, I took some pictures up on the roof; the first one is of my operational DPC dish, and the other is of the view of the road from the southern side of the house (9.13 and 61.9 kB, respectively). Geez, is it ever cold outside. The temperature is somewhere in the 40s (Fahrenheit), but the real cause is the tremendous winds we've been having today. I'll prolly post again tonight (Sunday is the best night for TV, as I've said before: Futurama, Simpsons, Malcom in the Middle, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, and The Practice).

1:24am [PST; GMT -08:00], 20 Jan. 2002:
Big day! I got my satellite internet hook-up working!! I already downloaded American Pie 2 on Morpheus -- it only took an hour (and it's 340 megs)! I've gotten speeds of up to 80 kilobytes per second. It is so awesome. I downloaded the latest version of Winzip (8.1 I think) in about 30 seconds. OMG. I actually snapped a screenshot of 2 Morpheus downloads, shown below (16 color GIF, 9.96 kB)... so, I just want to say to all my former-fellow-dial-up-users: I _0wnz_ j00! Okay, okay, settling down now. What else happened today? Oh, well, the DBS Satellite Installer guy came over today and didn't do a freaking thing. He needed me to show him how to access the Windows Control Panel. He called the same tech support lines I had called and asked the same questions I had asked. He was coarse and unprofessional. He couldn't get it to work. How did I get connected then? After he left, I reinstalled all the software (which entailed a couple long downloads) in a fit of desperation. My dad helped me point the dish. I got a signal rating of 115. Wow. The dumb Installer spent three hours wasting my precious Saturday internet time. Anyway. Justin bought a 24" Sharp flat-screen TV with built-in VCR and DVD, so he asked me to help him move it to his house cuz his mom's Impala didn't have the room. We hooked it up (after taking a hammer to his modular shelves/entertainment cabinets) and I played my first game of Super Smash Bros. on his N64. It was fun. Kirby kicks a$$. Then Matt had a D&D 3e game, but I didn't go b/c some of the ppl playing were, to put it politely, morons. But it's just as well, cuz I spent the whole evening exploring the web and numerous FTP sites through my broadband connection. Oh, yesterday I tried to update the page but DreamWeaver went nuts on me and erased the post (which was rather lengthy). I had talked about this campaign setting I was working on called The Ghenger Plate... I did up a map for it in PSP7 after figuring out a great way to produce natural-looking coastlines. Anyway, it's below on the right in GIF format (75.4 kB). Wow, this was a long post. Doh; one more thing: I discovered this awesome site today: Angst Technology. It's a comic and the link is in the Links section (along with a slightly longer write-up). K, later.