Old News: November 2, 2003 to November 28, 2003

1:16 a.m. [GMT-8:00]
28 Nov. 2003 (Fri); Post #410
Ah, it's now Phill's birthday. He's 21 today. We'll probably be doing something to celebrate this evening. Just finished ordering the Red vs. Blue DVD. It should be arriving about the same time as my copy of Flowers for Algernon, which I got off Amazon for $0.22 (used) yesterday.

BTW, I got my thief up to level 13. Nearly died when this overconfident summoner convinced me to attack a Goblin Butcher with him in the maze off Tahrongi Canyon. He and his elemental died; I managed to activate my 2 hour ability, Perfect Dodge, milliseconds before the Goblin struck me with the would-be killing blow. Of course I disengaged, ran my butt off, and zoned back into the Canyon to avoid death. Had 5 HP left. Of 178. Oy. Planted some herb seeds in a brass flowerpot in my residence later on. Drew, damn him, is already up to level 16. Argh, I really need to find a good party. If anyone around my level wants to meet up for an expedition into the Maze on the Titan server, e-mail me.

Um... that's all I have for now.

4:35 p.m. [GMT-8:00]
27 Nov. 2003 (Tue); Post #409
Urrrghhh... so... full... of... turkey... can't... stop... overusing... ellipses...

Had Thanksgiving dinner at 2:40 pm. Extremely good. Turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, crescent rolls, cottage cheese, radishes, and then homemade pumpkin pie with whipped cream.

Moved my desk and main computers (Chesty and Freya) into the living room last night. The desk wouldn't fit down the hallway, so I dragged it out and around the front of the house. Then I found out it didn't fit through the kitchen door, so I had to partially disassemble it outside to get it inside. Moved stuff around, etc. The night before, I had gotten this great, big metal desk and credenza from Kathy, so I moved a bunch of furniture. Made CAT5 cable, arranged extension cables for power, got everything hooked up, etc. Drew bought my GeForce 4 Ti4600 from me, so I put my old Viper V770 (32 MB, AGP) vid card into Chesty.

My thief is now level 12 (a little more than halfway to 13). My sword skill's gotten up to 33 (my current maximum) and I got some new weapon skill, "Fire Blade" or something like that. Been reading Diary. It's pretty good so far.

I'll take some pictures of my new setup and put them up here sometime. It's pretty nice.

4:10 p.m. [GMT-8:00]
24 Nov. 2003 (Mon); Post #408
Planetes 6 and Full Metal Alchemist 8 are out today! (Downloading now.) Also, my Narutaru batch 1-5 DL finally finished. In FFXI (logged playtime: 22 hours) I'm now a level 9 Thief, only about 500 XP away from level 10. Drew's ahead of me though; he's a level 11 warrior. I just switched from daggers to swords (skill levels 29 and 17, resp.). Do more damage with the sword (currently using a Xiphos). I managed to buy this cool hat at the auction house in Windurst Woods that gives DEF 4 and Evasion +5. Ummm... what else?

Oh, we had a GURPS game on Saturday. It's a new campaign, but still THS and still set on Mars. The PCs are corporate troubleshooters for System Technologies AG. It went fairly well; the overall motivation and incentive for party-togetherness are better than in the bounty hunter arrangement. This time around, we've got an Alpha, a grown-up child prodigy, a ghost of a WWII spy (in a bioshell cloned from his own DNA), and a couple of fairly normal humans.

Argh, just found out I have to work on the tack room over at EEC some more (been doing it for the last two days). So far we've finished the ceiling, almost all of the floor, and just have to do the front wall (already framed with a door in it) and electrical.

5:29 p.m. [GMT-8:00]
20 Nov. 2003 (Thu); Post #407
I was awoken at 7:00 am this morning by a very loud pounding sound. I tried to go back to sleep, but the din kept me awake. Turns out somebody's started construction across (well, diagonally across) the street from me. Argh. Anyway, went to class, learned about shell scripts and rights transference in NetWare.

Drove from class to Kennewick and bought Diary and this bargain-book, Get a Grip on Astronomy at Barnes & Noble (I go there cuz my family has a discount card with them — saved $3.00). Then I had lunch at Subway (really like their Sweet Onion Chicken Teriyaki sub; I always have the 12" on Monterey Cheddar with American cheese, lettuce, cucumber, mustard, mayo, onion sauce, and pepper).

Then Drew IMed me at 1:11:01 pm (DeadAim's log manager puts timestamps on my messages) and said he had bought Final Fantasy XI. Well, the only thing really keeping me from buying the game had been the fact that no one I knew had it, so I ran over to Best Buy and got one of the remaining copies. It's pretty cool. I'm still learning the game (playing a Mithra Thief, currently level 2). Anyway, stupid Charter is messing around with the lines in my neighborhood (looks like some idiot on Argent is getting cable or something), so my connection keeps dropping, making it extremely difficult to play the game for more than 15 minutes at a time. Gahhhhh.

I hated the controls for FFXI, but I finally figured out how to switch over to the alternate keyboard configuration (interesting bit of trivia, the manual calls it "Alternate Configuration," the game calls it "Compact Mode"; boy, that sure made it easy to find). I've never played an MMORPG before. It's surprising how much I have to use the keyboard in this one... I thought it'd be a little like Diablo II or something, but it's really more like using the Unix command line. But it's still very fun.

I think I'm going to look into DSL...

11:31 p.m. [GMT-8:00]
17 Nov. 2003 (Mon); Post #406
Played Battletech this weekend. GURPS THS next Saturday. I'm going to make some changes, probably do a 2-month time-skip. The group just doesn't seem to work very well with the whole bounty hunter thing, so we'll try to shift to something different (with the same characters). Hopefully they'll stop getting themselves arrested and, um, killed.

Made spaghetti for dinner. Had it with some French bread and milk. Good. Got some new shoes (pics below), shirts, and socks at Fred Meyer this afternoon. My voice was kinda messed up all day, think it'll be back to normal tomorrow.

Downloaded Maburaho 2 & 3 and Full Metal Alchemist 7 today. Maburaho was kinda formulaic (features the "love triangle" plot device, super-overused in anime), but I'm going to give it a chance. I'm really liking Full Metal Alchemist. Need to find the opening and ending theme songs. BTW, if you see ep. 7, watch the ending theme — it's different than the others.

Saw Waiting for Guffman Sunday morning. Not the best Guest mockumentary, but still worth seeing. Prolly a good thing I saw it alone; I don't think it's the sort of movie the other guys would've liked... slow, subtle humor, etc. My grandparents are coming up next week (Tuesday, I think) for Thanksgiving. Need to get Diary (Chuck Palahniuk). Maybe I'll go to Barnes & Noble tomorrow.

Read this over at PhysicsWeb (followed some links from an article Slashdot linked to). Interesting stuff about the Casimir Effect. Anyway. Gonna go to sleep.

Reeboks, I guess.
New sneakers.

1:14 a.m. [GMT-8:00]
14 Nov. 2003 (Thu); Post #405
Saw Elf at the Carmike with Phill, his mom, and Sheree. It was good. All the critics seem to think James Caan was a really bizarre choice for the father, but I thought he fit very well. Will Ferrell was really funny as expected. Surprisingly unsappy.

Had sandwiches for lunch; outdoor rolls with roast beef and Muenster cheese. Very good after a minute in the microwave. Also had some really good brownies; the ppl whose computers I worked on for the past couple days made me a whole pan of 'em last night.

Been playing Desert Combat 0.5 lately. I have this annoying black bar on my screen when I play it though and I don't know how to get rid of it. If it really gets on my nerves, I guess I'll uninstall and reinstall the game and mod.

4:05 a.m. [GMT-8:00]
11 Nov. 2003 (Wed); Post #404
Can't sleep. On Monday night, Drew, Phill, JD, and I got together and played Battletech. We played 2 vs. 2. My mech was pretty successful; a 65 tonner with a 5 MP walk, MASC, and three PPCs. To be fair though, Drew and Phill kinda didn't understand some of the weapons, so their mechs were sorta shortchanged (Phill's, frex, had a gauss rifle and a hatchet; not a good combination). It was fun.

I spent like 7 hours today working on someone's home network. Long story short, I got locked out of the Windows 2000 print server/ workstation and no one had passwords to any user accounts, so I borrowed Knoppix from Phill (well, he burned me a copy). It's super-awesome! It booted up and detected and configured all the hardware without touching the HDD. I was able to grab all the user's important files from My Documents and burn them to CD before reinstalling Win2K (which deletes/overwrites the My Documents folders).

Watched Planetes ep. 5. Good. Maybe not quite as good as ep. 4, but still very worthwhile. Trying to DL Narutaru 1-5 and eps. 1-5 of something called "Stellvia of the Universe." Really enjoying Full Metal Alchemists (have eps. 1-6 right now; 7 should come out sometime this week, I think).

Found out about this hilarious thread from GameFAQs on ATOT. The really funny part is that this guy is talking about his online girlfriend. All this stuff took place in some MMORPG. Here's his first post:
I really don't know where to post this because i need help. Ok here's what happened, a week ago my gf gave me her fire bastard+7 and told me to keep it as my birthday present. Well a few days ago my friend introduced me to his friend and she asked me to borrow it so I thought ok, just return it afterwards. So a week pass and my friend has been talking to my gf and for some stupid reason he told her everything, my gf ask me where did her gift go and i give it to her, she then takes it and starts yelling at me saying she very disappointed at me. Eventually she confronted me about lending the sword to another girl and told me she never wanted to talk to me again. I tried to apologize but she started crying and wounld'nt listen to me. I tried to tell her i love her but she disconnected, i've been waiting for her to log back on for 2 hours already, my friend told me she left the guild and party and told him to tell me i really hurt her.

Here's the part where i need help, i know she won't listen to me or tell me where she is...can everyone please help me find "StaRGrLite" and tell her to message me. Please I really love this girl and i would never mean to hurt her.
Later on in the same thread, the guy (user name: "w00t_w00t") posted this gem:
Well..it's officially over...Linda just messaged me a few minutes ago and told me everything. Not only that but she also told me that she likes my friend but havent told him yet. I don't know what to say to this..I'm so pissed off right now at my friend..I swear i'm going to kick his !@# when i see him. She told me that he liked her too but don't want anything until we break up. So he planned introducing his friend to me just so all this stuff can happen. She told me that she feels bad but thats just life. I just have so much haterd and anger right now, I cant contact my friend and i can't do anything about it. I can't believe they would betray me like this...I hate this game I hate it so much right now....i'm so lost now...
And later still:
OMFG i was just playing Ragnarok with my friend and Linda was there but she totally ignored me and only talked to my friend. I just exited the game..I cant believe this...HOW can she do this...I have feelings too..I've never felt so hurt in my whole life..i feel like i cant even breathe. This game used to be so fun but now everytime i want to play i think of her...i dont think im ever going to forgive myself for this
BAHAHAHAHA! OMG... you can find the original thread here. It's funny, but really long (currently 46 pages).

Okay, well I have a lot of work to do tomorrow, so I'm gonna go try to sleep.

4:51 p.m. [GMT-8:00]
9 Nov. 2003 (Sun); Post #403
Saw Down with Love on Friday. It was really good! The whole movie looks very good, very clean, and the pacing is surprisingly fast. And there's an unexpected twist at the end.

Been watching some anime... they're pretty hit and miss. I put this page up to help remind myself what I want to DL and what I probably hate: HJO3's Anime Series Ratings. Right now, it's just a few recent series, stuff you can BitTorrent.

Dropped by Kevin's wedding reception briefly last night; it was very fancy. He and Natalie were all dressed up and stuff. Basically said "Hi, Congrats," left the present, and vamoosed. Then we had a weird BESM game that Hanwool GMed. Ummm... oh, and then Phill, JD, me, and Hanwool watched the Cowboy Bebop movie.

JD's coming over to play Battletech. Need to get the Master Rules; right now I'm just using the Compendium, which is pretty outdated.

9:21 p.m. [GMT-8:00]
7 Nov. 2003 (Fri); Post #402
[Omitted: Half-paragraph where I rant about Drew waking me up from a nap an hour before he got here on Thursday. See, my house is very, very cold. How cold is it? Well, let's just say I've been approached by Alcor about seasonal corpsicle storage in my living room. Anyway, the only really warm place is in my bed, under three thick blankets.]

Not a whole lot to report. On Thursday, Drew, Ryan, Paige (Ryan's SO), and I were going to do stuff. We got food at Subway, then Ryan/Paige decided they were still hungry, so they left and never returned. Or called. Assuming they died horribly in a car accident, Drew and I watched anime. Planetes, specifically. Episode 4 had come out earlier that day, so we watched that and eps. #1 & 2 (but not #3 cuz it's boring and schmaltzy). Then we played a bazillion games of virtual pool on Yahoo (it's a little more exciting when it's on a 6' x 8' screen). Later, JD joined us and we watched Get Shorty on DVD. It was good. I like Danny DeVito movies. I need to get Death to Smoochy on DVD. (Update: I just put in a bid on an eBay auction for it.)

Actually, speaking of eBay, I think I'll set up auctions for a few DVDs (I have three duplicates in my collection; LotR: Fellowship of the Ring, American Pie, and Scary Movie).

Not shown: 60 W subwoofer.
My budget-home-theater setup: digital projector, DVD player, and computer.

9:20 p.m. [GMT-8:00]
5 Nov. 2003 (Wed); Post #401
Went and saw Matrix: Revolutions at the Spokane IMAX theater with JD and Phill (Matt T. had to work). We got very good seats and the movie played flawlessly (apparently there was a sound issue at the 6:00 am showing; the last 20 minutes were mute). It was good; incredible special effects. About the story, I'll just say a few major questions were left unanswered which was a little irritating for me. Still a good movie to spend time and money on though, IMO. BTW, Neo was a program created by Agt. Smith and Trinity kills Naiobi after finding out Morpheus is working for the machines.

Okay, okay, sike! That's all made up... I won't spoil the movie for anyone. After seeing the 11:50 am showing, we were going to go eat sushi but Ichi-Ban Shogun and Suki Yaki Inn were both closed. We ended up lunching at The Onion, just around the corner from Suki Yaki. I had the meatloaf with mashed potatoes, Phill had the meatloaf sandwich, and JD had the "black & blue" burger. Good stuff.

I have to get up super early tomorrow morning to go photograph this house in Kennewick before classes start. Looks like I'll be going to either a funeral or a wedding this Saturday; not sure which. On Sunday my great aunt's husband, Bill, died in a car accident (my great aunt's okay). On Monday Pat Eichner, a friend of my parents who watched me a lot when I was little, died from congestive heart failure. My grandma, and maybe my grandpa, should be coming up from Oregon sometime this week to go to Bill's funeral with my mom.

At some point I was supposed to get a wedding/reception invitation from Kevin Sanders, but the dumb mail person deposited the invitation at the clinic instead of my house (even though the addresses are totally different). I only heard about it cuz my mom called me a while after it got there. Anyway, I think it's Saturday.

Ummkay, tired, later.

11:53 p.m. [GMT-8:00]
3 Nov. 2003 (Mon); Post #400
Arg, I hate to waste post #400 on something trivial, but here's the plan for the Spokane trip on Wednesday:
We leave at 8:00 am sharp. We'll first focus on getting IMAX tickets, then either see the movie and eat or, if the showing time we get is much later, eat then go see the movie. There's only like two sushi restaurants in Spokane: the Suki Yaki Inn (cheap, but somewhat low quality, near Riverfront park) and Ichi-Ban Shogun (never been there, would like to try it; 821 E 3rd Ave).
Also, the page with the Rocky Horror Picture Show audience participation script seems to have been taken down since last Friday. Since at least one person wanted to have a copy, here's the file in .DOC (MS Word 8.0) format:
rocky_audience.doc [83.5 kB] (26 page MS Word DOC)
9:43 p.m. [GMT-8:00]
3 Nov. 2003 (Mon); Post #399
Spent a lot of today working for that real estate company. Drove out to Sunnyside and Yakima, photographed two structures. Looking forward to Revolutions on November 5th, but the internet keeps trying to ruin it for me. First some brunøyet (FAQ page) on ATOT posted a spoiler without any warning, then I came across this site by accident [warning, many spoilers]. In each instance I ended up learning something I really didn't want to know before seeing the movie. Argh.

BTW, if anyone else wants to come to Spokane with us on Wednesday for IMAX Matrix watching and sushi eating, please contact me ASAP. Right now, I believe our manifest consists of Phill, JD, JD's friend, Matt Tomzinski (sp?), and myself. That means one other person could come (any more than that and we'll have to take two cars).

Been reading this book JD lent me called The Godwhale. It's pretty good for 1970s SF, but the author throws around a lot of medical technobabble that gets a little annoying unless you're a biology major. Also, one of the main characters is really shallow and has some kind of screwed up values. Nonetheless, it's very entertaining.

Tahoma Cemetery
Picture of Tahoma Cemetery I snapped while in Yakima.

11:01 p.m. [GMT-8:00]
2 Nov. 2003 (Sun); Post #398
Lots has happened since last Tuesday. Here's a point-by-point summary because I'm lazy and this takes the least amount of effort:
  • On Wednesday, between my morning classes and my evening class, I drove to Sunnyside and did some pictures for that real estate company from Moses Lake (two structures, both with somewhat medical-oriented businesses). Long story short, Yahoo Maps sucks as much as, if not more than, MapQuest. I still got there, but it took longer.
  • Had a midterm in CS224. The questions in it were surprisingly obscure, but that was okay cuz at the last minute the instructor decided we could use our books for the test. I think I did well.
  • Cleaned out the green room with JD and Phill's help. Set off a bug-bomb after taping up the vent. On Thursday, I set up the digital projector and spray-painted a large white rectangle on the wall (makes the images look a little brighter and untinted). That night, Phill, JD (or Hanwool? I can't remember), and I watched Night of the Living Dead (the 1990 remake) in the new "movie room." I actually liked the remake better than the original. Very scary. On Friday, I moved a sofa and a computer in there (in addition to the sectional).
  • Watched the first episode of Get Backers (anime) on the projector system with Hanwool— not a good series. The main characters have super powers for no apparent reason, the theme songs are nauseating to listen to, the story line was way too simplistic, and on top of all of this, it was really, really boring. I have 4 more episodes downloaded, but I doubt I'll ever watch them. OTOH, a new episode of Planetes is supposed to be out tomorrow; I really like that series.
  • Had the Halloween party on Friday night. There was pumpkin burning, movies, and food. Phill made this really good punch (orange and lemon juice concentrate, ginger ale, and some other stuff) and Justin managed to score four big pizzas from Pizza Hut for free. Jason, Debra, Alex, Phill, JD, Drew, Justin, Hanwool, and a few other ppl came over. We watched Alien and Rocky Horror Picture Show. Alex brought pumpkins and I carved one since my pumpkin from Yokes had kind of decayed and collapsed. There's pictures below.
  • Had our GURPS game on Saturday as usual. Ryan's character sort of turned himself in to the police in Nix Olympica. He got out on bail, but decided to take his chances at trial anyway; he got sentenced to something like fifty years with possibility of parole at twenty. In retrospect, that was probably way too generous given that five ppl died. We broke for food around 8:00 pm and watched Ocean's Eleven. It was good; I hadn't really seen it properly before (just once on an airplane when I was sleepy).
  • After resuming, the group met up with Ludwig, a post-ban Felicia bioroid from Personnel Files, played by Ryan. Kelly accidentally killed a guy in a bar in Timbuktu, but only Ludwig knew; he set up a police sting at another bar across town and lured the group there, minus Ten (who was getting refitted for the Xanthe Terra expedition). Anyway, a fire fight ensued and Ludwig shot Kelly and Yuki with his electrolaser. To summarize what followed, Mark gypped Kelly out of $15,000, then KO'd her and stole the rest of her cash before giving her to the police. Yuki was nabbed by the cops for planting a throwing knife in a plainclothes' thigh, but managed to get away with a $10K fine and 130 hours of community service.
  • Today a few of us watched the two Matrix movies to prep for Wednesday's viewing of Revolutions. I missed a big chunk of Reloaded cuz I wanted to catch the Simpsons Halloween special on FOX. Also saw the premiere of Malcom in the Middle, which was okay.
Geez, that was longer than I thought. Guess I should update more frequently. I'll post some pics of the movie room sometime (it's pretty cool; the "screen" is like 6 feet across and I've got a good subwoofer in there). Anyway, later.

Jack O' Lantern Mk. II.

From left to right: Derrin's, Jason's, Phill's, mine, Alex's.

"Eighty percent of success is showing up." — Woody Allen