Old News: June 30th to July 24th, 2003

3:45 a.m. [GMT-8:00]
24 Jul. 2003 (Thu); Post #345
Oy, what a couple of days! The LAN party went great — Kevin S., Kevin M., Keith, JD, and Phillip came. We gamed seriously from about 2 pm (most everyone wanted to show up early) till around 3 am. The games we played most were Warcraft III (the Frozen Throne expansion kicks ass!), Counter-Strike, and Battlefield 1942 (which I'm downloading Desert Combat 0.38 for right now; 327 freaking MB). Then I introduced Kevin S. to Dance Dance Revolution, which he took great interest in. We DDRed until about 5 am.

Then I woke up this afternoon and hauled pipe/ assembled fencing with Drew, Phillip, and Hanwool from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm. We got a little more than half of the pasture fencing finished. Phill went to go do something for his grandpa, Drew, Hanwool, and I went to Denny's. (I had the double-cheeseburger with seasoned fries and a side Caesar salad, it was very good.)

When we came back from Denny's JD was here, so he and I hopped on a Seattle CS server with Kevin S. and Taryn (Kevin's brother). Drew played Gauntlet (Xbox game) while we were killing each other. Then Kevin came over and he, Drew, JD, and I DDRed. I got out my old mat and we did some couple songs and Dance Magic on the Disney CD. JD went home a little while ago and I had to stop playing cuz my chest was going to explode.

Right now I'm in negotiations with this guy in California to get a Barton 2500+ processor and MSI KT4VL motherboard for $125 shipped. He's really cool, convinced me to download DC (speaking of which: 181 KB/s stable! Oh yeah!).

A page of funny quotes from IRC channels. And my daily example of annoying British grammar: "The government are too involved in inefficient bureaucracy." Limey weirdoes.

11:31 p.m. [GMT-8:00]
21 Jul. 2003 (Mon); Post #344
Hooray, my cable tester eBay auction just went online. Yup, item #3036994682. And only $1, cheap. We'll see how this one goes; it looks like the cable tester category is a lot more crowded than the one for crimpers (the item I sold last time).

I can't stand British grammar. "I met her at the weekend." Gah. Terrible.

4:48 p.m. [GMT-8:00]
21 Jul. 2003 (Mon); Post #343
Notice to Phillip, Drew, and Hanwool: Wednesday night around 6:00 pm. Also, I assume our larger group will organize something to help Justin move this Saturday/ Sunday. I'll be there with a truck.

LAN party details: I'm getting a big table tomorrow morning. Still need to fix the file server. Should have room (read: tables and chairs) for 9 ppl total in the long room (the one with the blue and white walls), others can go in the living room (right now, have tables there for up to 4). Invite other gamers! Right now, I only have 5 ppl confirmed... it'd be nice if we had at least 10. Please IM me (hjo333 on AIM) or e-mail me () if you plan on coming. It's not required, but it's appreciated.

11:44 p.m. [GMT-8:00]
18 Jul. 2003 (Fri); Post #342
LAN party next Tuesday (07/22/03). Start time: 4:00 pm. What should you bring? Computer, monitor (I have a couple extra, contact me if you want to use one), peripherals, mouse pad (I emphasize this because it's the main thing everyone seems to forget), speakers, power strip. I figure we've got room for as many as 14 ppl. So invite your friends, etc. Everyone's welcome. Games expected to be played: WC3, BF1942, some CS, Q3, whatever else ppl like.

Been working with Maya a lot. I've got polygons down really well, but NURBS still confuse me. I'm actually contemplating purchasing a book on it. Possibly from eBay.

Update: Oh, gee, I just went to check eBay/ Amazon, and guess what? Yup, no internet access. Again. Well, I called Charter (they're #16 on my speed-dial) and they're blaming AT&T for messing around with the backbone. Hm. Odd, I never had these sorts of outages on other ISPs... Argh, stupid Charter.

GURPS tomorrow at 4:00 pm.

12:41 a.m. [GMT-8:00]
17 Jul. 2003 (Thu); Post #341
I can't find my copy of GURPS Magic (need it for the space setting, currently tentatively titled "Raumwelt"). Would whoever has it please give me a call? Thanks.

8:21 p.m. [GMT-8:00]
16 Jul. 2003 (Wed); Post #340
Time to post about something that's been bugging me since Sunday. Some jackass keeps parking on my lawn. It's bad for the grass and ticks me off to no end. Well, last week (Saturday morning, actually) I hammered some stakes into the ground at the edge of the lawn to deter this half-wit from damaging my withering plot. They stuck up in the air a good six inches. What did the offending he-bitch do? He drove right over them. Stupid cur. Proposed solution? Caltrops. Lots and lots of caltrops. Big steel ones.

(Notice the driven-over stakes.)

After the application of many steel caltrops. This particular spike is hollow and can puncture a self-sealing rubber tire.

Anyway, a warning to the rest of you: don't park on my freaking lawn.

In other news, LAN gaming should occur sometime soon. What's a good day for everyone? Ideally, we could get something like 8-14 people together. Anyway.

4:52 p.m. [GMT-8:00]
15 Jul. 2003 (Tue); Post #339
Apparently, I forgot to mention some things in post #338. Fortunately, some anal retentive watchful players caught my mistakes. (1) Duran, Archer, and Takem were played by Justin, Ryan, and Drew, respectively. (2) Sometime while everyone else was in stasis on the trip to the Capellan jump-skirt, Duran popped the tech from Capella V out of stasis (they had taken him with them) to torture him. For four days. Then the tech died, so Duran flushed him out the airlock.

Hopefully Hanwool will be running HDHC this weekend, but it's not a sure thing since his cousin (a chemist from CA) will be in town. ION, I just got back from taking the jet skis in for service. Looks like they'll be done next week. I stopped at 7-11 and got some of this Japanese melon soda (pictured below). Well, I have work to do. Later.

Sangaria Melon Soda

My new favorite drink. The metal bottle is really cool too.

6:47 p.m. [GMT-8:00]
13 Jul. 2003 (Sun); Post #338
Well, I ran my space game last night. I don't know how the players liked it, but I enjoyed it. I think some of them were probably bored by the calculations, physics minutia, and astronomy details, but I like that kind of stuff. The game was very useful to me for figuring out balance issues with space combat and interplanetary travel. This'll make it possible to generate plausible background material now.

A quick summary of the game: The PCs (played by Hanwool, Phillip, Justin, Ryan, and Drew) ended up on a jump-capable shuttle together. Hanwool's character, Rhee, had won the ship's lease in a high-stakes poker game with a well-to-do merchant. The outdated (about 80 yrs. old) robot in the cargo bay, ZAMWO-112882 (Phill), came with the ship. In pursuit of quasi-legal profit and knowing he'd never be able to keep up with the ship payments, Rhee headed for the frontier. Along the way, he picked up a crew member named Archer who turned out to be a good, but impulsive, pilot. In anticipation of their piratical activites, Rhee and Archer stopped at the last established colony to pick up a couple mercenary-types. Luckily, they stumbled across Duran and Takem, a couple of mercs willing to work for cheap (apparently, they were in some sort of trouble, probably of the legal sort).

Anyway, they dock at Mong Lo station (just a deep-space collection of cargo pods, old hulls, etc. welded together to form a habitat of sorts; zero-gee, no spin) to meet a contact of Rhee's. They go through quarantine, find Susan M., and trade her a $1200 tool kit for a "hot tip" about some unattended automated terraforming equipment in a nearby system. They take off for Capella, a nearby (well, 21 ly away) Sol-like system with a cold terrestrial world and four Jovian gas-giants. Unfortunately, due to solar phenomena, the jump-skirt is about 92 AU out, so it took them 1.68 years to get to Capella V at constant 1 G acceleration (of course, it didn't take all that long from their perspective because of stasis).

They arrive at the planet, receive a message from another slightly larger shuttle (the standard "Don't come any closer, we're doing stuff" recording). Apparently, two technicians were on the surface doing maintenance on the 600' flexibody super-terraformers. Everyone, except Archer and Zamwo, gets into stasis. Then Zamwo "breaks" the life support unit. Archer radios the techs for emergency assistance, permission to land. They grant it. Rhee's ship lands, everyone's ordered to evacuate to a half-mile away while one tech takes a look at the life support.

On his way out, he sees Rhee, then others running towards him. He starts jogging away, then seeing that they're still pursuing him, takes out a holdout blaster and fires a warning shot. At this, Duran takes aim with his blaster rifle and blows half the guy's face off at 440 yards. They loot the body and, with the aid of TL10 medical technology, keep the guy from dying. Skip ahead a few hours, they take out a few incoming missiles, blow up a terraformer (and the tech working on it), and crash their shuttle in a forest (Archer decided to try a barrel-roll at 40 mph... on a ship with no streamlining and 1 G of acceleration on a planet with 0.97 Earth-gravities).

Fortunately, there didn't seem to be any damage (hey, the thrusters still fire, right?), so they got into orbit and tried to dock with the techs' shuttle. When they touched docking clamps to it, it radioed a "stop or face offensive measures" message and a countdown timer. Rhee disconnects, then reconnects. This time he just waits for the timer to run out. Of course, the techs' shuttle then fires a barrage of missiles (presumably, LE). Somehow, Rhee's craft survives the explosions, only losing its right-facing armor. In the wreckage, they manage to find a 9-ton chunk of reactionless thruster and fifty rE-cells. They inspect the 7-ton orbital (used for coordinating terraforming, gathering planetary data, etc.) but decide its not worth hauling back for sale.

Everyone goes back into stasis to get to Capella's jump-skirt, but Zamwo wakes Archer up six months into the journey because a micrometeor had breached their hull (since they had no armor on one facing) and taken out 4 rE-cells. Of course, they don't really have the skills for it, but they manage to cut the ship's thrust and repair the damage/ replace the powercells in 12 days (good thing they had some replacements handy). Archer goes back into stasis, they get to the system's "edge" and make the four jumps back to Mong Lo. They manage to sell off the remaining cells and thruster parts for $325,000. Of course, $80,000 goes to pulling the ship into dry-dock and repairing the armor. $10,000 for manuals, databases, and schematics. $20,000 in other costs. The PCs split the rest of the income; $43,000 each. Not a lot of money to show for four years time, but a fair income if you consider that most of the PCs were only conscious for one or two days during that period.

That took longer to type out than I thought it would. Anyway. Below is a composite of a few renders I made of a model I built in Maya 4.5. It's supposed to be Hanwool's character's shuttle, the "Red Dwarf" (hey, I didn't name it).


4:37 p.m. [GMT-8:00]
12 Jul. 2003 (Sat); Post #337
Guess when everyone's coming over? No, not 4:00 pm as was scheduled. 5:30 pm. Well. I don't think I've ever actually used that old saying "He'd be late to his own funeral," but it probably applies aptly to our group. Punctuality is not their strong suit. Oy.

Anyway, I just finished helping my dad put in the last posts for the metal fence around the front pasture. Looking forward to swimming. Justin just got here (4:45 pm).

1:28 a.m. [GMT-8:00]
12 Jul. 2003 (Sat); Post #336
Just got back from seeing LXG at the Carmike. I liked it. The only major nitpicks I have are that they revealed everyone's powers/ history in the first 20 minutes of the movie and they never bothered to explain Moriarty's background. There are a bunch of minor (and some not-so-minor) inconsistencies between the movie and the comic, but I'm not so niggling that I'd bother listing such offenses or degrade my opinion of the movie because of them. It wasn't great, but it was definitely presentable. It looks set up to foster sequels that I would have a lot less confidence in... I'd rate it a B minus. The "Phileas Fogg" reference had me cringing though. It was poorly delivered (felt like it was added in at the last minute) and really beat the audience over the head with the "this is a Jules Verne-kinda world" thing. Anyway.

Saw JD at the theater, but he didn't seem to want to talk to us in front of his girlfriend or something. I'm going to a school district auction tomorrow with Phill and possibly Hanwool. I hope to get a large table or two. Maybe even a cheap ATX case. Finished watching the DS9 season 2 collection last night.

3:53 p.m. [GMT-8:00]
11 Jul. 2003 (Fri); Post #335
Ah, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen came out today. I may go see it tonight. Phill's coming over to swim in about 30 minutes or so. As usual, anyone else who wants to come is invited (call my cell or just show up at the pool). I'm taking the jet skis to get repaired on Tuesday (apparently the service dept. at Polaris is very busy right now).

Oh, and I finally got the freaking ME102 WAPs to work!! Turns out the tech support ppl I had been talking to were just stupid. Finally got ahold of one who understood networking sufficiently to help me. For any of you out there trying to bridge wired networks wirelessly, here's the secret: You have to change the WAPs' IPs so they fall within your network's range (e.g. 192.168.254.x). Then you set the operational mode on each to "wireless bridge > point-to-point." Then type in the MAC address for the opposite transceiver on each WAP. Okay, there's a little bit more to it than that, but that's the major/ crucial part I was misinformed about.

Do yourself a favor and download Daft Punk's "Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger" and "Aerodynamic." They're really amazing songs. I can't get enough of that polyphonic-synthesizer stuff. GURPS of some kind tomorrow.

1:19 a.m. [GMT-8:00]
8 Jul. 2003 (Tue); Post #334
We had a power outtage earlier tonight. Lasted about 5 minutes, affected at least a 4-block area near my house. I was working on a complicated GVD design (a 6-8 person TL10 space yacht with a 3-ton vehicle bay) at the time, but fortunately I had saved it like a few seconds before the lights went out.

Found this useful article by S. John Ross about freighters and cargo transport. I posted a couple messages to GURPSnet about laser communicators used as weapons/ vice versa. What SF setting is that from? I could swear it was from Niven... but I'm not sure. It's either him, Brin, or Kress. It was a fairly small reference in the book anyway, so I doubt many ppl would remember. It's something I want to use in our space game at any rate. (The setting is basically Shinpi Nokori, but heavily reworked.)

I kind of want to make a few sessions involve a water world just so I can use the super-cavitating hull rules from Vehicles Expansion 1.

7:00 p.m. [GMT-8:00]
5 Jul. 2003 (Sat); Post #333
Fireworks last night (we went to Burbank; started at about 8:00 pm — lots of fun, even though it was just Phill, CrazyJew, Justin, Hanwool, and I; others were invited, but refused to come). I stepped on a Russian olive branch a couple days ago, so there's a painful infection in my foot. Only had three players for Hanwool's game on Thursday. Two characters ended up dying. Ryan said he was coming, but after a long wait and failed attempts at contact, we had to play without him. My character came out of it all in fairly decent shape, except that as Captain of the White Guard, the deaths will probably be blamed on me, hampering my advancement.

Anyway, we're going to have a Shinpi Nokori session tonight. As usual, everyone's invited (not that I expect much from that offer; GURPS enthusiasm in our group seems to be at an all-time low). Here are some pictures from last night:

Fireworks. I got a sort of grab bag (the yellow box). Phill got the heavy-duty quasi-professional sorts (mortars and launch tubes). Jason had a bunch of neat little ones.
I think this one was called "Twitter Glitter." It's one of the few pics I got of fireworks in action since I kinda got caught up with the fuse-lighting and whatnot.

Some idiots down the street from us tipped over a mortar and set a lot on fire. About a third of it got burned up before the fire dept. put it out.

Hanwool and his sister in front of said fire.

A couple hours after the first fire, this one broke out at the end of the street, behind the train tracks. It looked hard to get to; don't know how long it took them to put it out.

3:48 a.m. [GMT-8:00]
2 Jul. 2003 (Wed); Post #332
I just installed the Dictionary.com toolbar. Extremely useful. Still not as great as the indispensable Google toolbar though.

I've been looking at some of the anime resin model kits on eBay. I kinda want to try making one. They look really cool. There's a robot-girl figure I've got my eye on (it's like $19), but I'm gonna call Dan at IF and see if he has any good ones/ get his opinion on 'em (I don't even know how many he has...). I've kinda been wanting to get back into miniature painting anyway, but I don't because (1) I don't end up using them and (2) all the good ones are from Games Workshop and cost $$$. Like, I'd love to play Warhammer 40K, but an army can cost hundreds of dollars to put together.

Then again, something like Squadron Commander 3600 looks interesting. And you can play it with any cheap spaceship miniatures. Hm.

Today's Haiku:

Got an urge to paint.
Mini's, models, kits, anything.
Robots and spaceships...


My cornucopia of web browser toolbars.

10:58 p.m. [GMT-8:00]
1 Jul. 2003 (Tue); Post #331
I'll be picking up the Theomundi campaign soon (either this week or next). A suggestion to the players: It would be a good idea if you e-mail me a general run-down of what you want your character doing during the 4-year skip (2006-2010). You don't need to be too detailed, but you can mention property you want to acquire (those of you on Hekate's payroll can convert the military scrip to mortal cash [1 chit is worth $15,000 USD] if you like, or save it up and buy magical items) or skills you want to acquire/ improve. Everyone will be advancing 1 apotheosis stage, so it isn't vitally important that you have your past session logs (you can start a new sheet). If I don't get notes from a player/ players before the next session, I'll just assume your character has been living normally, accumulating wealth and working on Project: Rapture (if a Hekate-aligned god).

Also, I found out (the hard way) that WAPs won't generally communicate with wireless routers. Does anyone want to buy my CompUSA 4-port router off me before I eBay it? It's 802.11b compatible (11 mbps wireless), but has 4 10/100 ethernet ports on it (so it'd work as a 10/100 router/ switch, too) and one WAN port. Anyway, $25 (or you can try your luck on eBay, where the opening bid will be $15). BTW, my last eBay auction ended last week; I netted $10.51 on my crimpers (yay!).

I think Phill, Justin, and I are going to go do fireworks in Burbank on the 4th. Anyone else want to come? I'm going to buy mine tomorrow or day-after (they were a little picked-over when I got them on the 4th last year). I gotta remember to bring the camera this time.

Speaking of cameras, my mom finally bought a digital one for herself (now she won't be borrowing mine all the time). She got a DSC-P72. It's a 3.2 megapixel with 3x optical zoom. Very similar stats to mine (uses NiMH instead of Li-ion like mine). She got the 128 MB memory stick too, so she prolly won't ever run out of space.

You know what's a pretty good song? The Sounds - Seven Days A Week. Of course, that's just IMHO. I like the part where she sings "whoah-ho-oh."

Gonna go update the Theomundi page now.

Today's Haiku:

They get really angry sometimes.
I don't like rudeness.

12:07 a.m. [GMT-8:00]
1 Jul. 2003 (Tue); Post #330
Forgot one thing that I wanted to mention: 28 Days Later was fantastic. Very scary, very involving. I think I liked it better than X2 (which would make it my favorite film this year). Its opening was pretty good too, relatively, if you compare the weekend gross to the number of theaters that showed it. Frex, Charlie's Angels was the #1 movie this weekend at $37 million, but it showed in 3459 theaters. 28 Days Later made $10 million, but was shown only in 1260 theaters. So Charlie's Angels really only made like 35% more per theater than 28 Days Later.

Hey, it's 12:17 and I still have internet access... oh well.

11:06 p.m. [GMT-8:00]
30 Jun. 2003 (Mon); Post #329
Okay, gotta make this post quickly since Charter goes off-line at midnight (four and a half hour maintenance thing). Quick news: got my Cobalt Flux DDR pad (finally!); got the DS9 Season 2 DVD set; got an 802.11b WAP to finally finish the wireless project next door; had some really good nectarines. I'm setting up outdoor speakers at the pool with a wireless transmitter (RCA's Lyra RD900WB) so I can listen to MP3s while I swim. In my search for a bare-leads-to-RCA adapter, I learned that Circuit City drones are idiots, Best Buy drones are idiots, and Home Depot drones can't find something as simple as a freaking soldering iron. Oy.

Been arguing with this guy about LCD/CRT sharpness. Actually, he started arguing with me for no apparent reason... and he was really rude about it. The point of controversy? I said that LCDs are usually sharper than CRTs when they're at their native resolution (I even provided the URL of a site that proved my statement). This guy's really starting to annoy me, so here's a transcript of the PM exchange. Judge for yourself. (BTW, the background: my original statement was in a thread on LCD displays; he decided to Private-Message me instead of replying to the post.)
Him: you're wrong about crt's and lcd's, sorry to say. i don't care what your link says, it's a fact. gamers use crt's because of their sharpness and detail. educate yourself before you mis-inform people

Me: No, gamers use CRTs because of their lack of a ghosting effect. As for the CRTs being sharper... that's just wrong. LCDs have individual, sharply defined pixels. That's why their dot-pitch is usually higher than CRTs... CRT phosphors glow fuzzily...

And I am _not_ misinforming people. I don't know why you're so hostile about a rather unimportant subject anyway. Next time, do your research before you accuse ppl of ignorance.

Him: not hostile. no research needed my man, i own a computer business and been a computer tech for over 5 years and work with very seasoned professionals (old men). cmon man, i happen to know my stuff, this is not questionable, it's a darn fact. regarding the ghosting effect you're talking about (seems like you are piecing together info), passive matrix LCD's can suffer from ghosting but no one makes them anymore. CRT's do NOT have a ghosting effect unless they are garbage. CRT's have always been a gamers and graphic designers choice because of the sharpness and clarity of the picture. sorry if you disagree, but that's the truth.

BTW, there is no reason why we can't have a normal discussion/debate about this, so dont get upset and call me hostile.


*I don't want him threatening me with libel suits or something just because I mentioned his web site. (Not sure why he's so proud of it... it's poorly designed and has virtually no content. E-mail me if you really want the URL.)

Me: Ah, so since you own a business, you don't need to research anything? That's awfully arrogant. Aside from your brag about being a tech 5 yrs. and working with old ppl, do you have any qualifications? Those would make me put more stock in your opinions (and they are opinions; I haven't seen you reference any credible web sites or texts) than simply having worked in the field a while. I've known some really terrible techs who've had their jobs as long as 8 years.

As for your hostility, you called me uneducated and may have implied that I knowingly lie to people. I'm not upset, but I'm not exactly eager to talk with someone who treats me so rudely.

You also acknowledged that you won't accept actual evidence I provide just because it's contrary to what you think. (" i don't care what your link says...")

I really don't know how we could even begin to "debate" a topic when you've flat out said that you're unwilling to consider that you might not be totally correct.

So anyway, the guy's a jackass. People who expect you to agree with them just because they tell you how wonderful they are really tick me off. I'm sure there's a Latin phrase for that kind of logical fallacy, but I've got better uses for my dwindling internet time than googling it.

The Cobalt Flux is awesome, but it takes some getting used to. Going to bed early cuz I have to go meet with these museum ppl tomorrow about making their web site.

"It's a dangerous business going out your front door." — JRR Tolkien