Old News: May 2nd, 2003 to May 17th, 2003

1:29 a.m. [GMT-8:00]
17 May 2003 (Sat); Post #303
I found out who that guy is in the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen movie poster (the one to the right of Jekyll/Hyde): Dorian Gray. He's from Oscar Wilde's book "The Picture of Dorian Gray." Apparently, he's an immortal guy with moral issues.

11:15 p.m. [GMT-8:00]
16 May 2003 (Fri); Post #302
So, see the lunar eclipse last night? Pretty neat. Beefy and Nick's website, SuperSoda, is finally up. The color scheme? Red, gray, and black. Mm, it nearly makes me long for blue. Nonetheless, it looks like it may have potential. It's kinda like a poor man's Something Awful. We'll see where it goes.

I registered for two MCSE tests; 210 and 215 (Windows Pro 2000 and Windows Server 2000; installing, configuring, and administering). I'll be going to Federal Way and Moses Lake May 27th and June 2nd, respectively. Hanwool's going with me to the first one; we're going to have sushi at this place in Tacoma. It'll be good. If I pass both of these, I'll be 29% done with the whole certification.

My parents' Zenith DVD/VCR is broken, so I have to do an over-the-counter exchange at Circuit City for them tomorrow. Just in case anybody was unaware, GURPS (Upsidaisium) tomorrow at 6:00 pm. Don't be late.

I got 12 cans of Chicken of the Sea tuna (packed in water) and a 12-pack of croissants from Costco. Looks like I'll be having tunafish sandwiches for a while. Oh, and I got a big box of green tea. I have a kettle of that cooling on the counter right now. Need to get more ramen soon... I'm down to 4 packages.

I finished watching Coyote Ugly and The Transporter. I liked the latter best. It took me about three days to get through each of the movies though... I only watched them when I ate lunch (and maybe for 20 minutes afterwards).

Played a couple games of Civ III: Play the World online. None of them got past 1 A.D. OMG, these people take sooooo long to finish their turns. It's basically unplayable, even with a fast turn timer. Completed a game of SMAC playing Zakharov (162%, Ascension). I'd never really payed attention to the story before, but it's really good. There are some similarities to ideas in Transhuman Space. Today's MP3: Tokyo 3 - Ne2000.mp3 (3:30).

A wooden dresser.
One of my new garage-sale dressers.

1:04 a.m. [GMT-8:00]
15 May 2003 (Thu); Post #301
Well, Hanwool, Jones, Beefy, and I just saw The Matrix Reloaded. I'm sad to say it fell short of my expectations. It wasn't bad, but I wasn't thrilled. We stayed after the credits to see the preview for Revolutions. (BTW, those credits are freaking 8 minutes long.) Hopefully, it'll be much better. I can't believe the movie ends with a "To be concluded" message. Gah.

There were some things I liked though; the whole highway scene was pretty good, so was the bit with the French-speaking guy and the key-maker. Some stuff really surprised me though... the movie is pretty graphic as far as, emm, naughty things are concerned. Anyway. I give it a C-.

I finally finished reading through all those KODTs I got from Dan (63-78, Specials 1-2, IIRC). Also read Courtney Crumrin and the Night Things (comic from Free Comic Day). I liked it; think I'll pick up the trade paperback. Been playing Alpha Centauri. I played Morgan on Specialist; scored 90%, killed everyone except the Human Hive, terraformed the crap out of three or four largish islands (expanded them into a single world-spanning continent).

Movie Ticket Stubs, Reloaded and X2
My ticket stubs from Matrix Reloaded and X-Men 2.

1:28 a.m. [GMT-8:00]
12 May 2003 (Mon); Post #300
Post #300. Time to briefly recap current events for when I look back on this in 2030.
  • SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) is in the news a lot. As of today, 526 have died from the disease (according to the World Health Organization). 7,296 cases have been reported. Most of those statistics come from China, Singapore, and Canada, in that order.
  • There's been like, record numbers of tornadoes in the midwest. More than 300 since the start of May.
  • X2: X-Men United is #1 at the box office. $41.4 million in its second weekend (it made $85.6 million last weekend; 4th highest ever for an opening weekend). Can't wait for Matrix Reloaded to come out on Thursday.
  • Weird Al's 11th album comes out on May 20 ("Poodle Hat"). I may actually purchase it (it could be the first CD I've bought for myself since 1996). Speaking of paying for music, Apple started selling individual music tracks for 99¢ each. It's been pretty successful. It kinda appeals to me, but if I paid that for each song in my collection, I'd owe $1,886.94.
  • The made-for-TV-movie, "Martha, Inc.," starring Cybill Shepherd, will be airing on NBC on the 19th.
  • Some guy fell off a Carnival cruise ship in the Gulf of Mexico. I guess they think he did it on purpose or something since they keep saying how hard it would be to fall off with 4-foot railings.
Wasn't that fun? Anyway. Hanwool, Jones, and I went up to Pullman on Saturday. We ate at this great Italian place... I think it was called "Basiliano's." The food was pretty cheap too. I had the spinach lasagna. It was incredible (and a large portion; I couldn't finish it myself). Then we had to help my sister pack the Explorer and her car with her stuff. It was so much work. Why did she have to live on the 6th floor? Aggh.

Been playing DDR. I really like Dam Dariram, but my calves are really tight. They're not really sore, but they feel like they're gonna bust out of my skin. It's weird. I consistently score between 150,000 and 300,000 on most songs. I can get 2 million+ on Dam Dariram and Get Me In Your Sights. My personal faves, besides those two, are Don't Stop and .59. I also like Wish You Were Here, but it's murder to play (sooo fast).

Had the GURPS game. It started later (and ran longer) than I'd wanted... and I wasn't in top form after all that moving of boxes and 5 hours of driving. Still, it seemed tolerable. I'd summarize the session, but there's too much that certain players aren't supposed to know. I can give a brief rundown of the PCs though.

Hanwool: Dr. Alfred Nobel, the 57 year-old millionaire inventor of dynamite turned unwilling adventurer. A true master of chemistry and demolitions.
Ryan: Yuskey, an aging gypsy acrobat of some fame. A skilled juggler, pickpocket, and knife-fighter.
Drew: Remy "Remy the Sly" Hardin. Some kind of cowboy-bandit type with lightning-fast reflexes from French America. [I never got his background.]
Justin: Dr. Robert R. Sin, a telekinetic medical doctor from London with unpredictable powers. Don't make him nervous.
Phillip: Lord Clive Errol, Wealthy Welsh land owner and noted explorer. Dabbles in big-game hunting.
Keith: John Dower. A powerful Construct from the Americas with a mysterious past.
Miss Eleanor Sweeney [an NPC]. A Scottish medium who supposedly communicates with spirits. A last minute addition to the group, courtesy of Nathan Maltby.

Next session: Defending Prince Arthur William Patrick. Today's MP3: Nico - These Days.mp3 (3:33).

6.9 million dollar mansion. Saw it on eBay.
The $6.9 million mansion we used to model Nobel's home on Neolund. Found it on eBay.

6:44 p.m. [GMT-8:00]
9 May 2003 (Fri); Post #299
Aggh, due to my sister's poor planning, I have to go to Pullman tomorrow (I'll be leaving around noon) to help her move out of her dorm. I probably won't be back until five o'clock. As such, the GURPS game will be delayed significantly... assume a starting time of 6:00 pm. My apologies to Beefy, as he'll be unable to attend this first session. For the record, here's the known status of the players (each person should have Character, Inventory, and Background):


In other news, Hanwool supposedly scored 27 million on Dam Dariram, like, right after I got my highest score ever. See, I wasn't there to see him do it. And, FTR, I still hold the record for highest ever on Get Me In Your Sights, as well as the only person in our group to ever have successfully performed every step in a song as a single combo. Drew and I are DDRing right now; his high score is 400,000. Anybody with GURPS questions and the like, call my cell if you need info.

I need to get a haircut soon. I'm thinking of getting it frosted again. Today's MP3: Barry Manilow - They Dance!.mp3 (2:59).

5:17 a.m. [GMT-8:00]
9 May 2003 (Fri); Post #298
Ladies and gentlemen, I just scored 17.4 million on "Get Me In Your Sights." 99 Perfects, 55 Greats, one solid combo of 154 steps; not a single mistake in the whole song. Yes, that's right, I have beaten Hanwool! His old score: 16.8 million on Dam Dariram.

2:15 p.m. [GMT-8:00]
8 May 2003 (Thu); Post #297
I watched The Big Lebowski last night. It wasn't really bad, but it certainly wasn't good. I'm pretty indifferent. Well, I might resent it slightly since it's 2 hrs. I could've used to play BF1942. Anyway.

It's Thursday. Everyone should have a definite character idea by now. We'll start at 2:00 pm (firm) on Saturday. Those of you who seem to have finished your characters, except for "notes" tweaking (Hanwool, Ryan, Drew, Justin), should begin work on the description and history. It doesn't need to be precisely formatted/edited, just about a page of basic info on your PC. Today's MP3: Michael Jackson - Thriller.mp3 (5:57).

6:38 p.m. [GMT-8:00]
6 May 2003 (Tue); Post #296
Well, Phill, Hanwool, and I went to the Microsoft Windows Server 2003 launch event in Spokane. It was nice. The keynote was pretty interesting. We walked around afterwards and ended up going to this great little sushi place called the Sukiyaki Inn. We had Yellowtail, Halibut, Albacore (esp. good), Tuna, Octopus, Cuttlefish, vegetable tempura, shrimp tempura... it was all very good. I was starting to get hungry again when Beefy called, but then I remembered I had two slices of sausage-with-extra-cheese pizza sitting in the microwave. Mm.

I have characters (in a more-or-less completed form) from Jones and Hanwool. Vague concepts from Phill, Justin, and Beefy. Because Beefy's job requires him to go to work at 6:00 pm on Saturdays, I was wondering if anyone has a problem starting earlier in the day. IIRC, Justin gets off work at noon, so perhaps we could consider a starting time of 1 pm. Anyway. Today's MP3: Digimon - Season 4 Theme.mp3 (1:02).

1:22 p.m. [GMT-8:00]
5 May 2003 (Mon); Post #295
Read the parts of League of Extraordinary Gentlemen vol. 1 that I never got around to when I borrowed Jones's copy. Really, really good. Can't wait for the Martian invasion. Also read KODT Special #1.

Figured I'd use this post to make a semiformal announcement of my new GURPS campaign, to begin either this weekend or next. Anyone's invited to play. The setting will be "Upsidaisium," a Steampunk-type world near the end of the 19th century. The official TL is 5, but there are TL5+1 and TL5+2 features. The idea is that PCs will eventually join some sort of "League of Extraordinary Gentlemen" group.

To summarize: America lost the revolutionary war. As such, England (New Britain) controls most everything east of the Mississippi. The rebels (and most everyone else), overwhelmed by the British armada, were given the option (at the behest of France) to resettle in the west. The Louisiana purchase didn't take place until 1820, at the beginning of the gold rush; but by then, France was beginning to see some value in this whole "America" thing and retained control over about 25% of the territory (the price was around $8 million; France kept what is now LA, AR, most of MO, and about half of IL). The war of 1812 and the Spanish-American war never happened; Spain controls Puerto Rico, Guam, and Cuba.

The Mexican war took place in 1805 (instead of 1845). About halfway through, the U.S. negotiated with France to pay Mexico for the land (about $3.5 million for the Texas, Utah, California, and New Mexico territories; the U.S. paid off that debt by 1840). Mexico accepted. The border between the U.S. and Mexico looks much like it does today, with the exception of the land within the Gadsden Purchase still belonging to Mexico.

Other notes: Transylvania kept its independence and never had its princes replaced by Austrian governors. When a large deposit of still-ground-bound-Upsidaisium was found there in the 1850s, the nation enjoyed a new era of prosperity. Oh, and there's this mineral with negative weight... big chunks of it were dislodged and fell into the sky in the 1500s, so there are some really big islands floating above Europe. If you lumped all of the ones in Europe together, they'd be about one-and-a-half times the size of Portugal. More info on Upsidaisium the mineral, here. All the other Steampunk fair is there too; Babbage Engines, Automatons ("clanks"), Steam carriages ("gurneys"), etc.

Characters will be built on 300 points, a maximum of -40 in disads (or one big disad). Magic and psi are allowed, but there are Unusual Background costs, the world is "low mana," and only improvised magic is allowed (something like this). Ideally, a PC should be designed around a particular idea (consider the characters from LoEG). High skills will be allowed if they work with your character's plan (up to level 25). I would encourage everyone to take Status and/or Reputation, and higher Wealth levels (Independent Income, STM44, would be very good to have). Contacts and Patrons are suggested. An example character:

Jack "of Spades" Lawrence. Level 25 in Gambling, Thrown Weapon (Razor Cards) at 22, Enhanced Time Sense (For combat only, -20%), DX 15, ST 13, Combat Reflexes, Acrobatics at 18, Pickpocket at 20, Luck, a Reputation as the slyest card player in the Americas. Appearance: Handsome. Independent Income and Wealthy (an income of $187.50/month) to represent his ability to sustain himself on a few high-stakes poker games a week. Has a deck of cards made of thin, high-grade steel with razor-edges (poison-tipped). Odious Personal Habit: Tries to make bets with people all the time, even when inappropriate. ("A duke? Really? Five gets ya' ten that I can steal that gold monocle of his without 'im noticing.")

Anyway, it might save time if you pitch your idea to me before completely designing it. Things I'll need from the players: copy of your character sheet (paper or electronic), brief character background (1-2 paragraphs), and a detailed description of the PC's personality and physical appearance, usual dress, etc. (2-3 paragraphs).

I'll be offering something new for this campaign: EP banking. You can put points into 3-session CDs (minimum balance of 10 points) with a 15% interest rate. The EPs per session will probably average 3 (a range of around 1-5). Missing sessions will be penalized one way or another. Skill aquisition will be strictly realistic with hour-accounting.

Blah, okay, too much typing. E-mail me or something. Here's a temporarily weak page on the Upsidaisium setting.

10:22 p.m. [GMT-8:00]
2 May 2003 (Fri); Post #294
Just got back from dinner with Phillip and Sheree. We went to Rattlesnake Mountain. I had the teriyaki steak like I do every time. It was great. Before supper, I printed some photos for Sheree (senior pictures for graduation invitations).

I've been torturing Beefy with X-Men 2 spoilers. Every time he signed on to AIM I'd go "You know, Nightcrawler tries to kill the pr—" He'd go "Stop!! Stop!!" Then I'd say something else and he'd mash the keyboard and sign off. Heh. He's not seeing the movie till midnight.

3:53 p.m. [GMT-8:00]
2 May 2003 (Fri); Post #293
X-Men 2 is so fricking awesome. OMG. Phill, Hanwool, Ryan, and I went to the 1:00 pm showing at the Columbia 8. Oh, very good movie.

I went to Infinite Frontiers yesterday, got a ton of comics, as well as The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen vol. 1, GURPS Alpha Centauri, and Transhuman Space. Speaking of LoEG, I saw the trailer for the movie today. Dunno how good it will be; the trailer looked really good. Um... that's all for now. More later. Adjø.

X-Men 2 Movie Poster

"To have little is to possess. To have plenty is to be perplexed." — Lao-tzu