Old News: May 19, 2004 to June 14, 2004

9:02 p.m. [GMT-8:00]
14 Jun. 2004 (Mon); Post #492
HackMaster was pretty action-packed this last weekend. We finished Crypt of the Lizard King. Notable events: Goldaf touched a magic book and was teleported to a sealed chamber where a huge stone block fell on him and would've crushed him in an acid-filled spiked pit, but he was somehow able to lift it by flapping his wings (?), then maneuvered it into his Bag of Hefty Capacity (??), and then somehow rolled divine intervention (again), convincing his gawd (who wasn't happy with him) to spare his life (???); we lost pretty much all our treasure (it was in the BOHC Goldaf gave away); we killed forty lizardmen with the help of Mordecai (Aaron's Gray Elf Battlemage); I traded my Short Sword +4 for a Short Sword of Annihilation (doesn't have any bonuses, but it does 3d6 damage instead of the usual 1d6); Po'Tal (Phill) killed the best blacksmith in Aarz, accidentally ruining Kherami's (Paige's) Spear of Impalement; Po'Tal was also cursed by a lich's tome and sort of went crazy... we found him eventually, but the necromancer we took him to for curse removal decided to kill him, turning his body into an unraisable husk; later, we managed to revive the Drow by haste/regenerating him from one of his thumbs we'd severed (that was back when he wouldn't let go of the book); we killed an Overhoard; I made 10th level (still need to go to school); we triumphed over Shadryzar and his cleric crony; we sold a bunch of magic stuff (including a Chest of Hefty Coin Capacity which went for ~22,500 gp); found out this one ring we picked up was actually a Ring of Three Wishes with one wish left on it.

Erf, that wasn't arranged very well, but w/e. Not a whole lot going on. Northwest Restoration almost finished the interior work on my house, but then, like, decided to stop coming apparently. Kind of annoying since I just need this last light/fan fixture reattached before the table arrives tomorrow.

Speaking of gaming tables, saw this neat link to the Ultimate RPG Gaming Table in one of the Kenzer & Company forums (specifically, this thread).


3:50 p.m. [GMT-8:00]
11 Jun. 2004 (Fri); Post #491
Just found out that the box of Fifth Dawn boosters I ordered on 5/20 probably won't even ship until next Friday. Meanwhile, Drew was able to pick up a box at Dan's for a whopping $4 over what JD and I paid. Of course, it was the last one. Argh.

Finished reading Transhuman Space: Toxic Memes last night. Very good. HackMaster in 2-3 hours.

2:40 a.m. [GMT-8:00]
11 Jun. 2004 (Fri); Post #490
To the local southeast-Washington ppl: Have you heard about the tornado south of Prosser? Got these amateur digital photos through the local email grapevine; some farmer (probably from Yoshind Farms) took them on either the 9th or 10th. Pretty surprising images — I mean, we expect the occasional dust devil, but I don't think I've ever seen anything that big in our area before. (Pictures below.)

Anyway. Took my last final (CS231) last night/tonight. Went well. Think I'll have a pretty good grade in that class. The best thing about it ending is that I don't have to see "Derek" anymore. He's this ill-mannered dolt that Drew and Phill have to work with at the school district. Sat behind me... constantly making all sorts of gross noises, scratching himself improperly, passing various sorts of gas. Not someone you'd want at an important social event. Or anywhere really, for that matter.

HackMaster tomorrow! We'll be starting at either 6:00 or 7:00 pm. The fridge is stocked with Fresca, Coke, Pepsi, and Mountain Dew (Ryan, Drew, and I hit WinCo on our way back from Denny's this evening). Next week's games will be even better since I'll then have a nice big wooden dinner table (arrives on the 15th) and we'll finally be able to use the large room (where the 10/100 switch and fans are; the interior restoration is nearly complete), so there should be a minimum of space and lighting issues.

Prosser Tornado
Recent tornado just south of Prosser, WA.

Close-up of Prosser tornado.
Close-up from a second photo.

10:37 p.m. [GMT-8:00]
8 Jun. 2004 (Tue); Post #489
Finished two finals today. Have my last one on Thursday. Been burning a lot of CDs. Burnt all of Planetes. Also downloaded and installed Mandrake Linux 10.0 on Freya (using Virtual PC 2004). Got the ISOs really fast; about 35 minutes to download each one. It's been interesting to play around with, but I can't get it to install the driver for my 9800Pro properly... not sure if that's a problem w/ VPC2K4 or what. Oh well, it's not like I'm going to use that OS for gaming or multimedia.

Also downloaded a lot of Home Movies episodes. I've got most of the last three seasons (about 85%). The "Camp" episode (#41) is especially hilarious. Drew and I were laughing for like a minute at the end.

Yesterday JD, Drew and I went to NCC&C and got some MTG... I picked up a Fifth Dawn Fat Pack (had 6 boosters, two foils, a paperback, and a 20-sider in it), a Fifth Dawn preconstruct ("Special Forces" — a black/blue deck), 7 boosters from various sets (8th, Darksteel, Mirrodin), and a Mirrodin tourney pack. Highlights: Gilded Lotus, Razormane Masticore, Mogg Sentry, Beacon of Immortality. Hopefully my Fifth Dawn box will be here tomorrow (should've shipped on the 4th). We're organizing a sealed deck tournament... 1 Mirrodin starter, 3 Fifth Dawn boosters. It'll be sometime next week, possibly the week after.

Anyway, didja hear that the Firefly movie, Serenity, has an official release date? April 22nd, 2005. Then again, this info comes from AICN, so its verity may be somewhat questionable.

Need to work on my HackMaster adventure... will prolly be GMing it next Friday or Saturday.

Planetes CDs
Planetes backup CDs.

12:37 a.m. [GMT-8:00]
7 Jun. 2004 (Mon); Post #488
Been playing this dumb game, Grow (it's also from EyezMaze, the same place Tontie comes from). Finally beat it after messing with it off-and-on for a few days. [spoilers] Here's the sequence I finally won with: Egg, cube, pipe, ladder, mountain, propeller, ball, tornado, tilted gear, dish, horizontal gear, TV. The trick is to keep clicking the pipe after the game seems to end.

Also been playing Geosense. This one's really fun (it's multiplayer, too), even if you're not big on geography. I really suck at Africa and the middle east, but still manage to score around 2,800 on the world map. Need to study some maps... failing to locate Accra, Ghana is more humbling than one might expect.

We had HackMaster on Saturday — it was our 11th session. We finally made some real progress on module I2. Very bloody though; Justin lost a foot, Phill took more than 100 points of damage (not all at once, duh), I was hit by an exploding statue for 26 damage, the giant dog-thing was turned into stone (along with a promising gnomeling who seems to be a follower of Rigel). Oh, and I made it to level 9 (4x backstab damage and 95% find traps, hoody hoo!). Snacks were also plentiful; Ryan and Paige brought a 10-pound bowl of diabetes-bricks (1 layer chocolate rice krispie treat, 1 layer regular rice krispie treat, 1 thick layer of caramel, and a layer of chocolate chip cookie on the bottom) and I had the fridge stocked with Fanta, Barq's, and Country Time; I think large amounts of sugar make for better gaming.

Picked up a 300-watt halogen light Friday; some lunatic had cut the wires in it, so I had to exchange it for another today. Going to put it together in a couple minutes. Also gotta install this 52x CDRW drive in Freya.

10:18 p.m. [GMT-8:00]
1 Jun. 2004 (Tue); Post #487
Why is it that every time I see the word "ridiculous" used on the web, it's spelled wrong? Slashdot, AnandTech, the Wizards.COMmunity Boards... it seems like everyone spells it "rediculous." How can anyone make that mistake? There isn't even an "E" sound (short or long) in the word... Even in the Latin root, "ridiculus," the first syllable is pronounced with the long "I" sound. Bah.

Anyway, I got the oil changed in my car today (~96K miles — making a note so I'll remember at 99K, hopefully). Also pressurized the tires and got new windshield wipers.

Got Kill Bill on DVD today. Forgot to mention it last time, but The Triplets of Belleville was great. You know there's only three lines of dialogue in the whole movie? And to think, I waited like two months for the English version to come out.

Just had a big AIM debate w/ this guy in CA about whether you need a hard drive to run Folding@Home. He was convinced you couldn't fold unless you were running WinXP at 1024x768... oy. I mean, heck, you can fold with just a CPU, mobo, PSU, some RAM, and Damn Small Linux on a USB thumbdrive.

The Northwest Restoration ppl have been working on my house lately, so my internet connection has been kinda spotty while they've been messing with the circuit my switch is on. Getting ready to replace the land line out to my cable modem (300') with a wireless bridge.

Weird Pete says: Support Your FLGS
Prolly going to IF tomorrow.

4:37 a.m. [GMT-8:00]
1 Jun. 2004 (Tue); Post #486
I made a new Knights of the Dinner Table wallpaper. Basically, I resized and cut-pasted a bunch of pages from the online strip into a big image, upped the brightness and lowered the contrast, softened everything, then "transparentized," resized, and arranged some character pics from kodt.de to make the group in the center, and finally pasted-as-transparent-selection a slightly modified logo image just beneath that. It looks kinda cool IMHO.

Have you seen this 20 Questions AI? It's surprisingly good at the game.

HackMaster was intense this weekend; we played three sessions (though Friday's, which was supposed to be a two-player thing, only turned into a full game by chance). Basically, Kherami (Paige), Kroenen (Justin), and Sheshko (me) killed the leader of the assassins guild, but had to hide in a basement for a week afterwards. The thieves guild was burnt to the ground and its guildmaster slain, Goldaf (Drew) was arrested for looting and lost a lot of magic stuff, and we began our journey to Fangaerie (the capital). Along the way, we found a town named Beron (well, actually "Beorn," but our GM is mildly dyslexic) and got recruited to take down a bunch of highwaymen, thus beginning module I2: Crypt of the Lizard King. Killed lots of stuff (including: hill giants, lizardmen, a doppelganger, some farmers, and an old man). Worst bit: my Short Sword +5 broke and, after paying more than double its original value to repair it (not to mention traveling 160 miles round-trip to find a blacksmith), it was reduced to a Short Sword +4 (and only +3 for damage). Oh yeah, also: Kherami killed a chimera (1 hit from a thrown Spear of Impalement) and we stole two inns.

Started using this new Java BitTorrent client, Azureus. It's very nice... makes it much easier to manage and monitor multiple torrents. Incidentally, I just submitted an ObjectDock icon for it to WinCustomize.com. I think you can see all my icons here. (Might only work if you're logged in or something weird.)

Was going to see The Day After Tomorrow, but after reading the reviews at Yahoo and Rotten Tomatoes, I decided not to. Looks like it's really politically biased, has a couple shockingly bad CG effects, and virtually no story or character depth. Oh well, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban opens on Friday. (That's also the day Fifth Dawn comes out, BTW.)

Drew mentioned that Full Metal Alchemist 32 is out. Also, saw a 250 GB Maxtor HD (8 mB cache) for $130 over at SlickDeals. Hey, and there's a new Maddox rant about CompUSA.

Okay, later.

4:33 p.m. [GMT-8:00]
27 May 2004 (Thu); Post #485
Been playing this flash game, Tontie, lately. I took a screenshot (pictured below; too bad it's of me losing). So far I've only been able to just barely make it to level 9. It's pretty fun and builds number-pad typing skills. Blah.

Jones and I are going to be watching The Triplets of Belleville on the projector tonight @ 9:30. Anyone who wants to come is welcome.

I was going to pick up HOB Volume IV at IF today (the next one I need; covers liches, incidentally), but they were out so I got Volume V. Also bought Book 2 of Y: The Last Man, the KoDT/FAANS Crossover Special, and a few packs of MTG (Darksteel/Mirrodin — no great rares to shout about, though the Fangren Firstborn is okay). Finished all my TPBs and single issues earlier this week. Here's my super-fast evaluation of 'em all (rated 1 to 10 with 10 being the best):

The Walking Dead: Days Gone By (Vol. 1) 9.4
Y: The Last Man: Unmanned (Book 1) 7.7
Promethea (Book 3) 3.8
KoDT #91: The Gawds Must Be Crazy 8.6
Dork Tower #27: Clanbook Mopey 2.1
Lenore: Wedgies 7.0

Oh, and someone left their coat here... it's green and black. It'll be on a peg in the hall if they want to claim it.

Have you heard that "Donchu Wanna Wanta Fanta" song? I need to get an MP3 of that.

Tontie, from EyezMaze.
Triplets of Belleville - movie poster.
Triplets of Belleville.

6:33 a.m. [GMT-8:00]
26 May 2004 (Wed); Post #484
This is just a quick update. I was feeling guilty about not posting for four days.

We had HM on Saturday. Justin's new nameless character tried to kill us all with an army of bums, failed. I snuck up behind him and backstabbed the bugger. That ate up like 3 hrs. of game time.

Then we unleashed this lich (turns out Big Elliot tricked me; he actually made his save against my Dagger of Interrogation). The lich was going to kill Phill's character and I, but I kicked ass with some totally 'leet groveling skills and saved my hide while Phill was turned to stone. Did end up losing a lot of my stuff though. At one point, the lich slipped in Drew's healing potion as he was leaving the crypt, so I ran over and helped him up and brushed him off (healing potions are like acid for undead). For that, he threw me my portable hole. Later, IRL, I backed into Drew's car. Waiting for an estimate so I can pay for repairs.

Not much else has been happening this week except for Phill and I going to see Shrek 2 last night. It was good. I've been BitTorrenting like mad since my upstream cap was raised. I can actually pull a lot of episodes down in under an hour now. Have a lot of Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law eps. #206 ("Back to the Present") is especially good.

My Triplets of Belleville and Invader Zim DVDs arrived yesterday. The commentaries on the IZ episodes are pretty hilarious. Haven't watched ToB yet.

1:52 a.m. [GMT-8:00]
22 May 2004 (Sat); Post #483
Wow. Amazing HackMaster session. We sold some stuff, saw a sage, went to school, fixed up the inn some more, hired a cleric of Rigel (he gets a permanent free room, stabling, and 23% of the profits from the Temple of Rigel/casino), and attended a dogfight. Also, I turned Justin's 5th level assassin, Malakai, into an NPC. When his Honor reached 2, I performed a Mocking Jig on him, draining him of all Honor (1d4+1 points). According to the GMG (p. 59), a character whose Honor falls to zero becomes an NPC and gets added to the hireling pool. I hated to do it, but Sheshko needed to exact revenge against Malakai — you can't poison and rob a thief and expect nothing in return. Later on, we allowed Malakai (as an NPC) to commit seppuku. Then we looted his body and buried him in the basement. But before that, I somehow got infected with a flesh-eating disease (took root on my foot). WTF? Anyway, a cleric of Benyar took care of it for me (well, for 1,000 gp).

At the dogfight, we managed to swindle a bookie out of 15,000 gold pieces and I killed Big Elliot (Alex's rival). Pulled some neat stuff off his body: a Rod of Terror +2 and a Pendant of Invisibility (extracted the command word from him with my Dagger of Interrogation before offing the SOB).

IRL: Tested my download/upload speeds a few times and I found I was only getting the usual 2mbits/128kbits, so I called Charter. Turned out someone hadn't properly updated my account, so they fixed it. I'm now getting the full 3mb/256kb (see image below; used a Speakeasy speed test).

Oh, and Ryan told me to post that Justin should show up at the usual time (4:00 pm) to roll up a new character. We game at 6:00.

Speed test results - 3mb/256kb.

6:48 p.m. [GMT-8:00]
21 May 2004 (Fri); Post #482
Just opened two packs of Darksteel and two packs of Mirrodin. The cool stuff: a Mind's Eye, a Fireshrieker, an Ageless Entity, a foil Vermiculos, and a Memnarch! (Ryan, Paige, and I went to IF around 5:00.) Also picked up Unmanned (Y: The Last Man, Book 1), The Walking Dead, Vol. 1, Transhuman Space: Toxic Memes, KoDT #91, Dork Tower #27, HackJournal 4.08, and HOB Vol. III.

I've been reading this guy's blog lately. He's a student at UC Berkeley; seems to be studying Japanese and computer science. His site's a little too otaku for my tastes (not to mention the poor spelling/grammar), but he collects interesting links and pictures.

Okay, time for HackMaster.

6:05 p.m. [GMT-8:00]
21 May 2004 (Fri); Post #481
I take back anything bad I've ever said about Charter! I just called them to ask about their new plan (heard about it from Phill). Basically, they reduced my bill by $35/month and upgraded my bandwidth to 3 megabits down and 256 kilobits up, double what I had before. No strings attached! Apparently they're doing this now because they just got our whole area wired with fiber optic or something. Anyway, it's awesome.

Had this weird dream last night... it was Thanksgiving, I was in my parent's dining room, and for some reason I cut my arm off above the elbow with a chainsaw. Then everyone started screaming at me.

There's a HackMaster game tonight. We called everyone, but couldn't get ahold of Drew. I'm going to call his parents in a sec to see if they know where he is. His character is pretty important for tonight's game. Well, TTFN.

3mb/256kb... YAY!

1:14 a.m. [GMT-8:00]
20 May 2004 (Thu); Post #480
Harlan Williams is a total ass. I'm watching Conan and he just keeps telling unfunny joke after unfunny joke. And he sure is stupid looking. There's just nothing redeeming about this guy. This has got to be Conan's worst show yet. His guests tonight were Harlan Williams and Al Roker. Al Roker's slightly less annoying than Harlan Williams, but still like a hundred times less risible than the average talk show guest (which isn't even that entertaining since it's usually dopes like Sarah Jessica Parker and Tom Arnold).

Downloaded FMA #32 (subbed version) today. Comes from some group called "Aoi." Here's a link to Aria's torrents page if you're looking for the AVI. Drew found it.

Here's an awesome site I had a lot of fun with this evening: Set other peoples' Away Messages. Only works on AIM users though. Here's a clip from my DeadAIM log of a convo w/ Drew:

    hjo333 (10:05:00 pm): http://set.gotdns.com/howmycomputerfried.jpg
hjo333 (10:05:08 pm): ?

Auto response from Baalzamon0 (10:05:08 pm): I'm out kissing men and fondling goats! Mmmm! Life is simply FAB-ulous!

hjo333 (10:05:11 pm): lol
hjo333 (10:05:22 pm): omfg
hjo333 (10:05:26 pm): that's funny
Baalzamon0 (10:05:30 pm): lol
Baalzamon0 (10:05:33 pm): thats good

Unlikely as it sounds, you're just going to have to believe me when I tell you that's not one of Drew's usual away messages.

Anyway, Saturday's HackMaster game should be interesting.

Ginormous Catfish
Pic of a really huge catfish that I decided to post for no particular reason.

2:25 a.m. [GMT-8:00]
19 May 2004 (Wed); Post #479
Just placed an order with Newegg for some parts (mostly for someone else's system). I threw in a CD-R drive for myself since shipping is free and my 40x12x40x Sony CD-RW keeps producing coasters. Turns out Sony is a pretty lousy brand for CD-RW drives... asked around AnandTech and ppl seem to prefer Plextor, Lite-On, and Pioneer (in that order). I was going to get a Plextor, but the 52x32x52x Lite-On was $12 cheaper.

Saw this funny little Korean flash animation, "Ddautta," (pictured below) over at AlbinoBlackSheep. Actually, I saw it a while ago but forgot to mention it. Anyway, it's got really awesome music (by this group called Witches). Been trying to find the song, but it seems to be awfully obscure. (Update: found it!)

They finally posted a Fifth Dawn preview card that uses the new Scry keyword over at the MTG site. Looks nifty. Hope Champions of Kamigawa (the next block) has some good cards with a high Scry value. My red burn deck would be so much more deadly if it had like 4 Shock-type spells with "Scry 5" for 2R or something.

Drew was able to download Full Metal Alchemist #32, but unfortunately it wasn't subbed. If you're at all interested in the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy movie, Ain't It Cool News posted this link to a video of the prototype Marvin suit in action. Apparently the first 15 minutes of the film are already "in the can."

"Ddautta," Korean flash animation with music by Witches
A scene from the "Ddautta" flash animation

"Cowards die many times before their deaths, the valiant never taste of death but once." — William Shakespeare