Old News: November 2, 2004 to December 17, 2004

3:12 p.m. [GMT-8:00]
17 Dec. 2004 (Fri); Post #537
Eat that, hotlinkers! I noticed that I was losing about 50 MB of bandwidth per month to ppl hotlinking my images (i.e. showing a pic on their site that's actually served from mine), so I randomly investigated some of the offending asshats (thanks, AWStats 6.2!). One turned out to be an incredibly dopey college girl's LiveJournal. She was using one of my images as a tiled background for her idiotic musings about Saved by the Bell and "shoutouts." Anyway, I decided I'd screw with her before uploading my new .htaccess file — I replaced the JPEG she was stealing with the sickest thing I could find with a quick Google Images search. She got some funny comments in the amount of time it took her to fix it. Here's a cropped screenshot of her post from right after she changed the <img> tag:

But now it should be impossible to hotlink my images at all. That's one thing I liked better about CPanel: automatic hotlinking protection. With HostPC's DirectAdmin interface, you have to manually make the .htaccess file and upload it.

My "swineball" submission actually got posted on Able and Baker! It's a really bad drawing I did in Painter IX with the Wacom tablet in about three minutes. Mr. Burgess posted it on 12/16. I didn't include my name in the email, so he credited my Charter username, which I think's a little funny.

Picked up GURPS Fantasy and The Walking Dead #13 at Infinite Frontiers yesterday. TWD was fantastic. I only skimmed through Fantasy, but it looks pretty neat.

Saw this on MySpleen.

1:05 a.m. [GMT-8:00]
15 Dec. 2004 (Wed); Post #536
Endured 4 hours of equine pregnancy talks earlier this evening (6pm-10pm). This was the last in a series of horse-health nights at a West Richland feed store. Glad that's over. Since I'm just the A/V guy, I have to sit in the back on feed sacks. After an hour, a sack of oats feels like a slab of concrete.

Wanted to quickly note that I won't be here Saturday since I have to help with the office Christmas party. This year we're having a photo scavenger-hunt at the mall. Should be fun.

Slashdot (well, Reuters and The Register, actually) says the MPAA is going to start cracking down on BitTorrent tracker hosts. That sucks, but I'm not too upset—I mostly just use BT for TV shows. In the posts below, someone mentioned mediachest.com, which I hadn't heard of before. It's basically like a personals search, except you search for books or DVDs you want to read/watch and it returns a list of people in your area willing to lend those materials. I tried it for the 99301 ZIP code, but it looks like the nearest registered users are in Walla Walla. If I get bored, I think I'll catalog my DVD collection and try it out.

ATM I'm DLing a demo for this game, Gish. ZZZ Online mentioned it for its realistic lqiuid physic engine. Look interesting. Anyway, I'll leave you with this Googlewar result:

Beefy/Hank Googlewar

11:05 p.m. [GMT-8:00]
13 Dec. 2004 (Mon); Post #535
Nothing much happened today or yesterday. But Beefy's all "post more often!", so here's post #535. Like he said, we're working on part six of the Ultimate Online Riddle. It's really tough. I'm pretty sure the answer is an anagram, and I'm pretty sure I have the first three words of the resulting phrase, but it seems like every combination of the remaining nine letters fails the test. Talked to Krunk4Ever on AIM about it, but he hasn't made any progress either. Actually, he had an interesting thought about it being a calendar-based acrostic, but it was a dead end. If any of you want to collaborate on this or whatever, AIM me (s/n: hjo333).

Saw a couple neat flashes recently: Mr. Sandman and Dad's Home. The former's randomly weird, but has great music. The latter's just really funny.


Robot-horse loves America.

10:01 p.m. [GMT-8:00]
11 Dec. 2004 (Sat); Post #534
Woof, 10 days between updates. Oh well. Here's the stuff that's been accumulating in my "stuff for blog" file:
  • This Straight Dope thread was really hilarious. I LOLed. Pravnik supplied this memorable quote:
    Would I shoot my child if he was trapped in a burning car?

    Well, I wouldn't shoot him right away. I'd fire a warning shot first, just to let him know I was serious. Then, if it absolutely couldn't be helped, I'd try to shoot him in the leg or something, just to disable him long enough for me to get away.

  • Beefy turned me on to this really funny webcomic, Perry Bible Fellowship. Also made me update my Links page.
  • Got some DVDs. Greg the Bunny, Dawn of the Dead (2004). Volume 2 of Invader Zim is on its way from Amazon.
  • Picked up the second Walking Dead trade paperback. Very, very good. Possibly my favorite 'serious' comic after League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.
  • Been eating a lot of hot-dogs lately. I prefer boiling them to the George Foreman grill or microwaving. But now I'm kinda sick of them.
  • Made a new blue control deck for MTGO. But no one cares about my MTGO stories 'cept for me, so I won't go into details.
  • Started watching Tom Goes to the Mayor (from Cartoon Network). Funny. Episode 3 is my favorite.
  • Finally got Painter IX. Awesome, but now my Wacom tablet is wigging out, so I'm gonna call tech support on Monday.
  • "Tard" in French means "late."
  • Beefy, Hanwool, and I were playing Alpha Centauri earlier this evening but the game got into an endless synchronization mess. We tried patching it, but that made it not work on the Win XP machines and I couldn't find the original disc, so we adjourned. Pretty good game up till then though. I was the Morganites.
  • Welp, Beefy and I are gonna go watch cartoons. Or play games.
Here are some pictures to make up for the lack of posting.

2:36 p.m. [GMT-8:00]
1 Dec. 2004 (Wed); Post #533
Hey, it's December. I saw an amusing post on a GURPS board (I'm pretty sure it was one of Emily Smirle's) that theorized that Robin (from Batman) was intentionally employed by Bruce Wayne as a decoy. The supporting evidence was this: Batman wears navy and black, with a dark cloak; Robin wears a bright green and fire-engine red suit with a yellow cape. If a crook's going to shoot at anyone, it's going to be Robin.

Burn in Hell is in stock at IF right now. Prolly pick that up tomorrow. GURPS Fantasy will be in next week.

Gotta go fix a payroll problem at the clinic. Looks like one of the checks was way off.

Donald Duck family tree. Click for full sized version (348 KB).

4:27 p.m. [GMT-8:00]
28 Nov. 2004 (Sun); Post #532
Thanksgiving's over. My family had a good spread, even if there were pecans in the stuffing. The gravy was superb. Deserts included chocolate-topped cheesecake, crustless pumpkin pie, and chocolate-caramel cream pie.

Beefy has some bizarre comics up that were donated by a mysterious stranger. They're quaint. I helped translate the original email and convert the attached images from TIFFs to JPGs.

Yesterday was Saturday and we were going to play GURPS, but Jones arrived with news that Paige (the GM for that week) was sick. But around 5:30 she showed up anyway and we had a short game. It's probably best (or, at least, most easily) described as cowboys-and-Indians on Tatooine. With cat people. My impression of the game wasn't fantastic, but that's probably because I had to spend the majority of it as a cow. Role-playing is significantly less enjoyable when you're not allowed to talk... or have thumbs.

The Hyrenguard campaign on MTGO (run by the 19th Circle clans) started yesterday too. I ended up submitting my Dawn Pariah and Hyper Scorch Mk VI decks as the two I'll use for the whole game. Both were heavily revamped for maximum effectiveness on Friday. Still can't straighten out the mana curve on Dawn Pariah to my satisfaction.

I've got Charizard.

12:45 a.m. [GMT-8:00]
23 Nov. 2004 (Tue); Post #531
Had GURPS Saturday. I wrapped up my game and we played Jones'. We visited Farzy (a city in Garweeze Wurld, part of the HackMaster setting) and defeated some kind of organ-harvesting monster. Here's where we've been in the campaign so far:
  • Modern-day Earth, specifically the Florida everglades (then, later, southern California). GMed by Hanwool.
  • Black Mesa Research Facility (near-future Earth). GMed by Justin.
  • 600 BC Persia (Jerusalem/Babylon), complete with actual gods and spirits. GMed by me.
  • Garweeze Wurld (Farzy), many years after the Hell's Caretakers saga (and post-Lich Wars). GMed by Ryan.
I read over on sjgames.chatter.books (part of the NNTP Pyramid message boards) that Neil Gaiman's writing a sequel to American Gods called Anansi Boys. Apparently it's going to focus on Mr. Nancy. Chris Helton said that another book, focusing on Shadow, is also in the works.

On the 21st, SJG announced that they're now accepting applications for the GURPS Powers playtest. I submitted mine to Dr. Kromm, but I doubt I'll get in. Lots of ppl interested in this one. But just think how awesome it'd be to get a look at those rules six months before anyone else.

Got my "Will Dance 4 Gil" T-shirt from the VGCats store. I like it.

My grandma told me she's going to buy me Painter IX (well, send me a check to buy it) as a Christmas present. Woo! Speaking of cool Corel stuff, I finished downloading CorelDRAW and installed it. Kinda neat to mess around with, but it's mostly geared towards making, like, flyers and stuff. Painter 8 was super-keen; can't wait to see what IX is like.

Beefy showed me this neat game, The Political Machine. It's made by Stardock, which is the company that makes ObjectDock (the best desktop augmentation program ever). Speaking of ObjectDock, there's now a "Plus" version which has some really awesome features, like tabbed docks and system tray support. I think I'm gonna buy it, despite my aversion to paying for piratable software. Some progs are just so scrundelescent you feel compelled to give their creators money. Like Azureus. Or Avant.

Anyway, The Political Machine is really fun. You play a democratic or republican candidate running for the presidency in 2004. You can buy ads, hire operatives, acquire endorsements, select your running mate, build headquarters, and more. The games against the computer begin to lose appeal after a while, but multiplayer is very exciting. Here's a pic of my greatest victory over Beefy (from last Thursday):

The Political Machine screenshot

Unhinged (a Magic set, the sequel to Unglued) came out last Friday. I'd like to have some kind of tournament with 'em; the cards are really silly and make for great casual game play. It's also the only new set not available on MTGO (for obvious rules reasons).

Had some major problems with my main system in the latter part of last week. Had to reinstall Windows. Inconvenient, but everything's running properly now. I just realized I'm going to have to reinstall SmartFTP to upload this post. Oh well.

I tried this new snack I saw at the 7/11 — Chill Smooth Fruit Ice. I had the strawberry/banana flavor. That might be the only flavor they make. Anyway, it was really yum. A lemon version would be especially good, I think. I took a picture of the container so ppl would know what I'm talking about. The yellow parts of the swirl were better than the red parts, but not by much. The red "ice" was slightly more tart than I'd prefer. 8.0 out of 10.

Chill Smooth Fruit Ice
Banana/Strawberry flavor.

9:48 p.m. [GMT-8:00]
17 Nov. 2004 (Wed); Post #530
Updated the Ppl page. It's a lot simpler now. I tried to pick out good, recent pictures of everyone, but some of you just don't photograph well (or simply haven't been shot recently), so in a few cases I used older pics that I liked. If anyone really really hates the picture I picked out for them, email me and I'll mock you.

11:20 p.m. [GMT-8:00]
16 Nov. 2004 (Tue); Post #529
SJG posted a little preview of GURPS Fantasy (PDF). It's basically just the table of contents and index, but it's interesting.

Made a couple cool MTG decks. One's based primarily on a Triskelion/Mephidross Vampire combo (makes it so the Trisk gets a +1/+1 counter every time it damages a creature — lets you take out every enemy crit on the board; also has the potential to make an infinite/infinite Trisk if you get two Vamps out). It also has some Extraplanar Lenses for mana accel and Consume Spirit/ Swallowing Plague sorceries. Works pretty well, but doesn't have anything to deal with artifacts or enchantments, so something like a Platinum Angel + Lightning Greaves combo beats it pretty easily. The other deck is a mono-red with Honden of Infinite Rage, Slith Firewalkers, War Elementals, and lots of pinger spells/artifacts/crits. It works very quickly. It's a beautiful thing to see your opponent get taken out by a 16/16 War Elemental on turn 5.

GURPS game last weekend went okay. Justin wrapped up his Black Mesa crawl and we started my Tower of Babel adventure. (Takes place in 602 BC, starts in the court of Jehoiakim, king of Judah. He thinks the PCs are angels sent to destroy the Babylonian god Marduk who lives at the top of the ziggurat Etemenanki. Thrills and intrigue ensue.)

Went to Infinite Frontiers last Friday. Picked up KoDT #96, PvP #9, PS 238 #7, and the Watchmen TPB. Read all of them except the last one (which I'm about a quarter of the way through). All pretty good.

Started using AIM again. I kinda stopped using it like four months ago. Anyway, my s/n is hjo333. I should be on it pretty much 24/7, though I'm frequently away.

Trying to get Corel Painter IX. It's usually $429, but I think I can get it for $100 as a student. Also going to try out the Draw suite to see how that works. I'd like to "try out" Painter IX, but it's too obscure to be available through my usual channels.

Recent White Ninja and VG Cats comics were pretty funny.

Currently downloading Stargate Atlantis 1x12. Wasted a couple hours trying to pull down the TVL version, which sucks. TVL always seems to use MPGs for their encoding, whereas LOL (my fave enc. group) always uses AVIs (XviD, specifically). MPGs are crap. Why would anyone use em over XviD? I have no idea.

Oh yeah, I joined an MTGO clan. This one is actually filled with adults who seem pretty non-snarky. MTGO's biggest problem, IMO, is the fact that it's crawling with jerky twelve year olds who're constantly begging for cards and playing weasel decks in the casual room (really unoriginal underhanded stuff like land destruction, affinity, white equippers, etc.). Anyway, my clan's called Shadows of Oblivion and run by this lady named Bone_Dancer (after the Weatherlight zombie rare). I had a really fantastic extended two-headed giant game with another clanmember, I think his name was Jstandingbear. Our opponents were playing speed goblins and some Eternal Witness/Counterspell deck. One guy got really pissed off cuz he misclicked while casting Syncopate on my partner's Armadillo Cloak. The rest of the game he kept going on about how he had actually won and we were only ahead on a technicality. Anyway, we totally wasted him. At one point they had us down to 5 life, but we won with 34. The loser's name was Escante, BTW (in case you're in the habit of blocking whiners like I am).

Thought my site was down earlier, but it turned out to be DNS problems on Charter's end.

Edgar Allan PWNED
This made me laugh.

12:17 a.m. [GMT-8:00]
10 Nov. 2004 (Wed); Post #528
Beefy submitted his character for the Jumpers campaign. It's a fairly mundane PC, apparently loosely based on the protagonists in a comic book series ("The Watchmen"). I haven't reviewed it in detail yet, but the rough drafts he sent me looked relatively error-free. Anyway, send me your notes if you have any, and they'll get posted here.
Beefy's character (prowler.doc; 85.5 KB)
There's a really fantastic article on Pyramid right now: Rationalizing Rations. It looks at traveling foods throughout the ages, from pemmican to hardtack to MREs. Very detailed. Probably the most interesting thing I've read all week. Also explains and supplements the GURPS rules for food/water requirements.

Got Rama II from Amazon for 1¢. I've noticed that you can get pretty phenomenal prices for relatively common books on there. ISTR paying something like 30¢ for Flowers for Algernon. Sure beats paying $7.99 for the new version. Speaking of books, I'm about 15 pages from the end of Pyramids. Hope the Clarke novel ships quickly.

I got a D-Link print server at a local shop for like $80. A very good price if you compare it to HP's JetDirect cards (which typically run from $150-300+). So now anyone on the network can print to the 2550L Color LaserJet printer without having to un-sleep the Vaio first. Very handy. Since I use that printer as my primary now, I'm thinking about giving my LaserJet 1100 to my dad (since his system currently prints to my mom's Lexmark inkjet in another room of their house).

Stargate: Atlantis episode 1x11 finally came out! I had previously thought we'd be waiting till January, thanks to a couple erroneous Usenet posts. Anyway, it wrapped up the Jennai/planet-storm story nicely. Great character development all around, except maybe with regards to Carson, the Scottish doctor.

Well, I'm going to bed. Just finished doing five and a half hours of A/V stuff for equine health presentations over at Red Mountain Feed in West Richland. Listening to lectures about colic, internal parasites, and the nutritional benefits of fiber might sound glamorous, but I assure you: it's considerably less exciting than one might think.

The Venture Brothers as Riff Raff and Columbia.
Re: My Argument with Paige on Saturday: See! Dean's the one in the Riff Raff costume!

12:07 a.m. [GMT-8:00]
6 Nov. 2004 (Sat); Post #527
I saw The Incredibles with Beefy and Hanwool last night at midnight. It was superb; a movie I would heartily recommend to anyone. The CG animation was fantastic. In fact, I don't think this movie could have been done any other way and still have been as enjoyable as it was. Traditional animation, claymation, live action... none of these would have properly captured the flavor and detail necessary to tell the story properly. There was also a short, Boundin', that was shown right before the movie. It was simple, upbeat, and all in verse. Seemed like a good "icebreaker."

Been reading Pyramids, a Discworld book. The first third (where the main character finished assassin's school with explanatory flashbacks) was really good, but then it started getting less and less interesting (kind of like Moving Pictures, IMHO). I'm optimistic that it'll recover though; the main characters just arrived in Ephebe, a parody of ancient Greece. Before Pyramids, I read Going Postal, the latest Discworld novel. It was really good. I'd say it's probably my favorite Discworld book behind Small Gods. Before that, I read Green Mars. I dunno what I'll read next... I'd like to try some non-KSR SF before I tackle Blue Mars. I'm thinking Rama II. If it's half as good as Rendezvous with Rama was, I'll be pleased.

Hanwool submitted an updated version of his character. Apparently everyone else was okay with his original design since I didn't get any email saying otherwise. Here're the links:
Hanwool's character, rev. 2 (UndeadChampion2.doc; 190 KB)

Character Notes
Robot Hand with Spherical Head
A takeoff on M.C. Escher's "Hand with Globe." Click here for the full-size version (181 KB).

8:38 p.m. [GMT-8:00]
3 Nov. 2004 (Wed); Post #526
So Bush won. Woo. I made a new deck. Consists of pumpable creatures, some crit destruction, equipment (incl. 2 Nightmare Lash, 2 Sword of Light and Shadow), and 4 Unholy Strength. Works really, really well. I'd say it's about as effective as my burn deck. And, unlike my burn deck, it's Standard legal. Thinking about entering a tournament with it.

Also made a Darksteel Reactor deck (DEC link; 1.07 KB). Works well, but tends to fail against HD/LD or decks with lots of counterspells. But pit it against a Samurai deck and it wins pretty easily. I need to figure out a way to squeeze some Arrests in there.

Here're Justin and Hanwool's characters. Still don't have Ryan/Paige's.

Justin's character (andalite.doc; 29.0 KB)

Hanwool's character (UndeadChampion.doc; 186 KB)
Bought a bunch of used DVDs from Amazon; Greg the Bunny - The Complete Series, Arrested Development - Season 1, The 10th Kingdom, Dawn of the Dead (2004; unrated director's cut), and Super Size Me. Remaining on my to-buy list: Hero (comes out Nov. 13th), LotR:RotK, Good Bye Lenin, Stargate SG-1 (season seven), Spriggan, Napoleon Dynamite (comes out Dec. 21), and Black Adder - The Complete Collector's Set.

I have the high bid on an autographed Royal Tenenbaums poster right now. Really keen on winning. Been looking for The Life Aquatic stuff too, but so far nothing's really piqued my interest. It, BTW, comes out December 10th. Can't wait. Anyway, I hope to see The Incredibles tomorrow. Has a 91% on Rotten Tomatoes ATM.

Kinda neat Radiohead - Creep Flash animation. The song's different (that is, crappier) than the version most of us have heard. Still worth a look if you're bored.

You know what's a good song? ABBA - Fernando. I just realized Malcom in the Middle uses a lot of ABBA and They Might Be Giants songs in the series. This particular song's from the season finale where Dewey's babysitter croaked. I think that must have been, like, the end of season... four? Anyway, really nifty tune.

Kerry T-Shirt

8:44 p.m. [GMT-8:00]
2 Nov. 2004 (Tue); Post #525
Went and voted around 5:00 pm at the TRAC polling center. Bush is ahead of Kerry in the national election ATM; 210 to 144.

Saw I Heart Huckabees with Beefy last night. Really fantastic movie. Less confusing than the reviews made it sound.

"There is no revenge so complete as forgiveness." — Josh Billings