Old News: November 20th, 2002 to December 27th, 2002

2:00 a.m. [GMT-8:00]
27 Dec. 2002 (Fri); Post #236
Ah, Christmas is over. The 26th was my sister's birthday; had ice-cream cake and mexican hot chocolate. It was good. My grandparents leave tomorrow (or, rather, today) at 6:30 a.m. I said goodbye to them tonight b/c I don't want to get up before 9:00 a.m. during my break. Actually, come to think of it, I don't want to get up before 9:00 a.m. ever. Obviously, such a wish is futile, but whatever.

X-mas gift highlights: 100 48x CD-Rs (TDK), a new office chair, stereo, George Foreman grill, some cool Japanese posters/pictures, CD binders, Nikola Tesla books, nice cologne, popcorn popper, Paul Jardin watch. Gifts I gave: leather halter/leadrope set, watch, bracelet, Greenday CDs, subwoofer/speaker system, WWII book. I gave my sister DVDs for her birthday b/c my parents got her a DVD player for Christmas.

We usually open one gift on Christmas Eve... so on the 24th, I opened a brand new VHS tape rewinder. I was a little confused b/c I don't own any VHS tapes or a VCR. Turns out my sister was in a gift-wrapping frenzy and when my mom said "Everything in that pile is Hanky's," she wrapped a new component of my parents' entertainment center as well. It was kinda funny cuz I opened it and I was like "Oh... a VHS tape rewinder... umm... thanks." and my dad goes "Hah! Who gave you that?" I looked at the wrapping. "Um, you did."

There's another TCLP today. Looks like Beefy cancelled. He's going out of town tomorrow. I'm not going, as expected. For some reason, I feel little compulsion to revisit a place where forty-year old men have tantrums and call me really vulgar names. Hm. Besides, I can find more important things to spend $20 on.

In other news, the Bell's Palsy is getting a little better; I can move the left corner of my mouth (zygomaticus major) a bit. Keep doing the exercises. Maybe the swelling on ol' Cranial Nerve VII is going down. Still mostly deaf in the left ear, can't wink, etc. Ppl keep talking about my left side as if it's numb and I can't feel it... this is, of course, incorrect, but I've given up on setting them right. Anyway, things seem to be improving in this area.

Events of late: Jones and I watched Life of Brian the other night; Hanwool brought me California Rolls (yum); I saw LOTR:TTT with Hanwool on Monday; met Derek Watts (friend from grade school) at the mall, exchanged cell numbers; received my Michael Meyers Network+ guide last week; got two-thirds of the way through Sundiver — it's good, but not Nancy-Kress-good; bought Lady Cottington's Pressed Fairies Book and Startide Rising (2nd book in Brin's Uplift series).

That's all for now. Here's a picture of our Christmas tree.

10:01 p.m. [GMT-8:00]
19 Dec. 2002 (Thu); Post #235
Did I mention I'm going ocean-fishing with Hanwool and his dad in March? Ja. Hanwool asked if I wanted to go fishing with 'em tomorrow at Ice Harbor, but I declined on account of all the dritt I gotta do tomorrow. Apparently, Mr. Lee caught a 16-pound steel-head trout there the other day; if no one catches a bigger fish before the end of the month, he'll win $25. I'm not much of a fisherman (or, rather, I don't do it very often)... in fact, I've only caught one fish in my life — an eight-inch rainbow trout. Caught it at Conrad Meadows (my family used to go camping there in the summer).

Went to Barnes & Noble today. Got three books (shown below): Sundiver (David Brin), Probability Moon (Nancy Kress), and Hokusai, a collection of art by Katsushika Hokusai (1760 - 1849). Gonna start on Sundiver tonight. Apparently, Hokusai is the artist of this Japanese woodcut (Oban format) that'd I'd been trying to identify. The Great Wave at Kanawaga: It's one of my favorite peices (thumbnail below — click for full size picture). Anyway. Today's MP3: They Might Be Giants - Older.mp3 (1:57).

The Great Wave at Kanawaga

1280 x 887, JPG, 233 kB

3:50 p.m. [GMT-8:00]
19 Dec. 2002 (Thu); Post #234
Finished Legacy of Heorot last night around 3:20 a.m. Good book, but it sort of drops off at the end. I wonder if there are any more books on the colony on Tau Ceti Four... Anyway, I reserved Sundiver by David Brin at Barnes & Nobel. Gotta go pick that up when I get lunch. Sundiver, of course, is the first book of the Uplift series. Read some mixed reviews; they range from "Fabulous!" to "Hard to get through, but not a bad book."

Been fixing a machine for somebody that wanted Windows XP on it. I usually use Win 2000 cuz it's more efficient, easier to tweak, faster, etc. But using XP again is kinda making me want to go back... the next system I build (just need a Socket A mobo) will use XP Pro. I actually figured out that I can install XP Pro off two bad CDs if I just alternate them during the install. I have three XP CDs, but it looks like 2 is enough. Of course, I used the uxtheme patcher [uxthemepatcher1.zip; 16.9 kB] on this client's system (lets you use custom themes and visual styles in XP). Once again, TweakXP was invaluable in setting up the system. Well, got things to do; sayonara.

2:17 a.m. [GMT-8:00]
18 Dec. 2002 (Wed); Post #233
Shea requested that I update tonight, so how could I not? Well, here it is. Not much happening. Oh, I can move part of my face a little. I have control over a muscle below the eye called the zygomaticus minor. (See image below.) Unfortunately, it's very weak since it's been atrophying for about 3 months now. So I exercise it every day. About 30 "reps" three times a day. It's surprisingly difficult, like trying to execute a complex combo in a SNES fighting game (up, up, left, roll from bottom to right, A twice quickly, hold B for 1 second, then L and R simultaneously... or something).

Anyway. Lots of school stuff going on. Not looking forward to tomorrow and Thursday. Keith showed me this funny site called "Strong Bad's E-mail" or something like that. It's a bunch of little Flash cartoons about some guy with a mexican accent who wears a wrestling mask (apparently they wear masks now...? whatever) and answers e-mail. The best ones are #43 and #53. Good stuff.

Hanwool is rebuilding his dual-processor machine (he had to RMA his mobo after the PSU connector melted). He actually started talking about a aluminum case that's "only" $80. I almost drove over to his house and punched him. Lucky for him, gas is expensive and it's cold out.

The Legacy of Heorot is getting really good. In the Ringworld books, the main character (Louis Wu) never really seemed to have any real personality (IMHO). In this book, the characters seem fairly realistic... they have quirks and traits that make them unqiue, plus a few of them are struggling with "Hibernation Instability" from when they were frozen for the century-long trip in their starship. It's neat. I think I may start David Brin's Uplift series (six books) after I finish it. Either that, or go back to Nancy Kress (the Probability series seems pretty appealing). I'm always a little uneasy trying new authors... some of them I just can't get along with (Terry Brooks, David Weber). Dunno what it is, but something about their style just can't keep me interested. Then, there are some authors I like, but still find a lot of their work a little stifling, or thick (Heinlein, Asimov). When I read Niven or Kress's stuff though, I can barely put the book down. Anyway.

That's all I want to type for now. Onyonghe gasayo (or maybe "Eonyonghi keosaeyo," depending on how you romanize it... at any rate, it's Korean for 'goodbye').

The zygomaticus minor facial muscle.

12:59 a.m. [GMT-8:00]
17 Dec. 2002 (Tue); Post #232
[27 Dec. 2002 (Fri) update: A bunch of people were complaining about this post, so I censored it. Here's a précis of what it said before: Covenant (guy who threatened to kill me and cussed and yelled at me at TCLP) is a dork. The end.]

8:45 p.m. [GMT-8:00]
12 Dec. 2002 (Thu); Post #231
Didn't update for quite a while again. Don't worry, you didn't miss much. Things of note, in no particular order:
  • The GURPS group got split into two four-person groups. (last Sat.)
  • I finally completed my "Mr. Show with Bob and David" collection and burnt it to CD. Four seasons worth. Took up eight 700 MB CD-Rs. (Thu.)
  • Got my hair cut. While there, I asked if 'frosting' was hard to do. My stylist, Maria Sanchez (IIRC), said it wasn't, so I had it done. The whole thing only cost me $25, which was cheaper than the price listed on the wall. I like it. There's a picture below, but it's pretty low quality b/c my parents borrowed the digital camera for their trip to Indio, CA (some polo/horse thing). I had to use the camcorder (SONY DCR-TRV17) to snap the pic and it only does so at 640x480 without flash. Anyway. (Wed.)
  • Saw my neurologist (appointment was at 3:30 today). Had to wait 50 minutes to see him. He said not to continue the electro-shock therapy and that I should massage the left side of my face vigorously every morning to keep the muscles from contracting and making my face deform. On the upside, I think I can move my left ear a little bit and he said my eye was closing better. (Thu.)
  • Went to Circuit City and got Tank Girl (cult movie; DVD), Mech Assault (Xbox), and Tetris Worlds (Xbox). (Thu.)
  • Finished watching Great Teacher Onizuka (GTO). Well, at least the first 26 episodes. Hanwool says there's 43 ep.'s total. Very funny anime. Need to burn them to CD (and buy a new CD binder). Picture below. (last Wed.)
  • Brought some stuff over from my parents' house. A sword, daggers, picture, statuettes, a scarf, etc. (Wed.)
  • Got a nice thank-you letter from the Nisbetts (wedding present). Postmarked Dec. 5; I forget when I received it (maybe Tuesday). (Tue.)
  • Hanwool and I went to WalMart and bought 100 shrimp, two kinds of red, seafood cocktail sauces, and a big sandwich. Ate the shrimp till we felt sick, ate the sandwich, watched The Fifth Element DVD. Kept making jokes about the characters from GTO ("I am Doraemon!"). Fun. (Tue.)
  • I framed my A+ Certificate (which came in the mail earlier this week) and the Japanese "The Royal Tenenbaums" movie promo card I got on eBay. I'd post pictures, but I hate using that camcorder for photography (4 MB memory stick, grainy, small pics, ick). (Tue.)
  • Brought some DVDs back from my parents' house (they borrowed LOTR: FOTR, Amelie, The Time Machine, and The Powerpuff Girls). (Thu.)
  • Talked to some friends of my sister (ppl who live in the same dorm, anyway) on AIM. Weird folk. (Mon.)
  • Played Marvel vs. Capcom 2 for the PS2 a lot. Jones left his PS2 here and I played against Beefy, Shea, Ryan, etc. Fun game. (last Sat.)

Huh, I guess quite a bit actually did happen. Um... oh, yeah, I'm getting cable internet access installed (right now the guys are s'posed to come out on the 27th, but I'm trying to get into an earlier slot). Gonna have the cable installed at my parents' house next door and either use the existing 300' CAT5 to run it to my router here, or set up some directional antennas and stuff using 802.11b. Probably go see a movie tomorrow; there's like three in theaters that I want to see. Ich werde ins kino gehen. Blah. Adjø.

10:08 p.m. [GMT-8:00]
3 Dec. 2002 (Tue); Post #230
It's been an entire week since my last update. Oops. Been very busy. Just gave a presentation on Computer Ethics and the Patriot Act for my MIS 350 lab. Went fairly well. Also wrote the term paper the PowerPoint pres. was based on yesterday/this morning. Eugh.

Thanksgiving was good. My grandparents didn't come up from Oregon after all. My grandpa didn't want to travel (doesn't like flying and prolly didn't want to drive 8 hours). Anyway, we went to my mom's friend's house (sort of my aunt; I call her mom 'Grandma Shortsle'). Had turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, two kinds of gravy, brussel sprouts (which I really like), homemade rolls, and some kind of Mandarin orange-mango-canteloupe-whipped cream dish. All really scrundelescent (a neologism from a SNL skit that my friends keep using). And, of course, there were pies. Pumpkin, pecan, chocolate-pecan, and chocolate-cream. Pictures below.

Went to TCLP. Battlefield 1942 and Counter-Strike were fun. Lots of smoke. For some reason, it was in the smoking section of the bingo hall. Stinging eyes, burning throat; not fun. Phill got headaches, and his step-mom from Brazil had a seizure and had to go to the hospital. Hanwool and I went with him to bring some sweat-pants to his dad (Hanwool drove; we were just glad to get out of the bingo hall/hotbox). I really hate smoking. Actually, I don't really care if ppl do it, so long as they don't do it around me for long periods of time. Heck, I can take 15 minutes of some filthy smoker easy. 17 hours of filthy smokers? No way. I probably won't go to the next TCLP — besides the smoking and rude, vulgar 40-year old losers, I only played like 3 hours of real games. So that works out to $6 per hour of gaming. Hm. And I had to haul 3 computers, a chair, 3 monitors, etc. etc. Too much work when I can just LAN at home when I feel like it. Organizational/setup-wise though, it was done pretty well ('cept the smoking). A few ppl unfairly criticized Mr. Vertz, who put the whole thing on and invested quite a bit of his personal time and money.

I saw Steven Tate at the event. We talked about system specs, our digital cameras, and our majors/certifications. I returned a bag to him I'd had since Christmas 2000 (we carpooled from WSU in Pullman and he forgot it). Heh. Drew and JD are going to go get their A+ cert.'s in the next 3 months or so. Prolly with Derrin (Darren?), whose borrowing my A+ manual right now. Ummm. That's all I have for now. Adjø!

5:45 p.m. [GMT-8:00]
26 Nov. 2002 (Tue); Post #229
I got my CompTIA A+ Certification today! Phillip, JD, and I drove up to Moses Lake (started at 7:00 a.m.) to take the exams at a registered testing center (Big Bend Community College, building 1500). I scored an average of 810 on each exam (you need 600 to pass). Phillip got an avg. of 1 point more than me. JD just took the OS Technologies exam (they charge $139 per exam and you need two for full certification; kinda steep). Anyway, we got there 5 minutes late, but it wasn't terribly busy and the ppl in the office didn't mind. We had to take turns cuz there were only two computers to test on (it's an adaptive test; the difficulty of the questions change as you answer). We headed home around 10:30 a.m.

On the trip home (about an hour and a quarter), Phill suggested we drive up to Jump Off Joe (a really high, local hill) and see the windmills that are being built there. Turns out the road to the windmills is really out-of-the-way, so we just looked at the antenna towers and what-not at the top of Jump Off Joe. Pictures below.

When we got hom, there were a couple woodpeckers in my backward picking at the felled trees that are still out there. I snapped a picture of one. It's kinda weird; I haven't seen woodpeckers in our area since the early 90s. Last time I saw one was when I was in the 4th grade. Dunno why I remember that.

Quick update on past events: Friday, ppl came over and we played Magic and Cranium (courtesy of Shea). Lots of fun. I got out my Super Nintendo and everyone took turns playing Super Mario World. For some reason, that old game is pretty addictive. Saturday, attended Beefy's mom's wedding. Pictures below. Jones an' Beefy stayed the night. More SNES and Magic. Sunday, we played our GURPS game (postponed 1 day cuz of the wedding). Went well; the characters basically spent the whole session escaping from the hospital in Gravenå (though they came up with some pretty bright ways to do it).

Game events of note: Justin blew himself up with something like 20 M59 concussion grenades at the Olympus site; Aaron did some really cool stuff with his Body of Water advantage; Jones killed a ton of ppl by accident (Strength 22 tends to do that; even pulling his punches he ended up injuring most opponents lethally); Hanwool pulled some Jet Li-type karate dritt to escape from the sub-basement morgue after the military learned of his Teleportation power; Beefy tried to seduce a particularly gruff, uninterested nurse. Everyone got around 15 points... everyone seems to be learning the system okay. Well, that's all I have for today, so adjø!

Michelle and Gareth's wedding

Phill and JD at the top of JOJ woodpecker in my backyard

windmills on JOJ

3:48 p.m. [GMT-8:00]
21 Nov. 2002 (Thu); Post #228
Kinda weird day. I went to my 8:45 a.m. physical therapy appt. with Mrs. Phillips. I was doing the electro-shock on my face with her helping me find the right muscle points (sometimes they're really hard to find). I got the mastoid and the muscle at the corner of the mouth stimulated well, then we worked on the corner of the eye, then the point near the eyebrow. Then I got really dizzy, couldn't hold my arm up, and things started getting dark and sparkly (like when you push on one side of your eye for a while) even though my eyes were wide open. I started to sort of collapse, but Mrs. Phillips steadied me and helped me onto a bed. Then she ran out of the room and came back in really fast with some machine on wheels. She took my blood pressure and found that it was at 190 over 105. That's really high for me (usually, I'm at 130/70 or so). After resting for a while, it started to go back down. She said that it was an "extremely atypical response," and that she'd never seen anyone react that way before. When I got down to 130/80, she said I could go. By then, I felt normal again. She suggested I have someone pick me up, but I felt fine, so I drove myself home after calling my parents to assure them everything was okay (Mrs. Phillips called my mom while I was out of it).

Anyway, Mrs. Phillips also found a web site that sells the electro-shock device for $179; all I need is a prescription from my neurologist. I asked her if that would be more cost-efficient than another deal she'd found where I could rent one for $45/month. She said it probably was (translation: I'm going to have this palsy for another 4 months, at least).

I've got a good game planned for our next GURPS session. Actually worked out a rather detailed background on a particular NPC. Also, I've fleshed out a lot of the world background. Today's MP3: Rosemary Clooney - Come On-a My House.mp3 (1:58).

11:42 p.m. [GMT-8:00]
20 Nov. 2002 (Wed); Post #227
I realize I haven't updated lately, but there hasn't been a whole lot going on. On Tuesday I got up at 7:45 a.m. (very early for me) to go to physical therapy at the Corrado building in Richland. Met a lady named Pam Phillips who examined my "asymmetry" (i.e., my face paralysis) and used a little device to shock the muscles on my left side. It feels kinda weird, except when used on the muscles around my nose... then, it hurts like crazy. Imagine sticking the outer edge of one of your nostrils into a electric fan. Now, repeat about 15 times. Right.

I have three more appointments to go to (including one tomorrow morning at 8:45 a.m.); she'll do the electro-shock on me, but she's teaching me how to do it myself, too. Here's how it works: you wet down two napkin-like pads, put one on a contact that you rest one forearm on and wrap the other around the tip of the device (which has a wire leading to the forearm-contact). You hold it like a gun, touch it to certain muscle points, and pull the trigger. It has a little dial that lets you control the power of the zap (power 1 to 5). Anyway, it's pretty hard to locate the points with the device, hence the training. At some point, I have to rent or buy the shock-device... $80/month to rent, $400 to buy. Yeesh. Kinda annoying when you consider that it's little more than some wire and a 9-volt battery.

Tuesday night, Phillip came over to return my A+ Certification book. He and I are going to go take the tests sometime this month or next (there's a testing center in Moses Lake). We hung out and watched Frasier (which was a little too dramatic for my tastes; comedies should stick to what their writers know best, IMHO).

Today, I scanned a bunch of pages from a recent Against the Grain (librarian newsletter) for some research for my COM 420 class (we don't have to go to class until Dec. 11 as long as we communicate through e-mail mailing lists). In the afternoon, I returned the newsletter to TommiAnn (classmate in ENG 356) and turned in my internet citations (MLA format) for the upcoming research paper. Then I drove home, stopped by the clinic, met Paul Hess's aunt (he and I were a grade apart at Tri-City Junior Academy), fixed a problem with the clinic's IS (estimates wouldn't print out; turned out the program is buggy concerning those templates, found a kludge that solved the prob.), and grabbed the FedEx package that came for me. It was, of course, the Magic cards Ryan, Aaron, and I had ordered. Woo.

So, Ryan came over, we built/updated our decks, and played Magic. My new blue Palinchron-Stroke of Genius-High Tide deck is awesome (some cards are pictured below). I think we must have played half a dozen games and his Elf deck only won once. Heh. I can't wait to test it against, say, Shea's Necropotence deck. Maybe even go toe-to-toe with JD's About-Face deck. Speaking of JD, I've been doing some stuff on that game we invented. It now relies on 2d6 rolls instead of 1d10 (allows us to use the natural bell-curve instead of artificially implementing one with more complex d10 tables). Also worked out some bugs with the crystal placement. Still have a problem concerning the connection of different player's roads. Anyway.

At 9:00 p.m. or so, Ryan and I went to Burger King. Hadn't eaten there in quite some time. We started to watch the Miss Congeneality DVD (Sandra Bullock movie) while we ate. Then Aaron showed up to collect his cards and pay me ($10 — now I can buy some more comics from Dan). I showed Aaron how well my new blue deck could beat Jonesy. I think he's afraid. Mu-ha-ha. Ryan gave me a Thanksgiving decoration (I didn't have any) and a Wizard magazine (he's nice). Wizard was more interesting than I thought it'd be. I'm no comic-afficianado, but there was some neat stuff in this issue. I must have the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. It looks so-o-o kewl. The Invisible Man, Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde, Captain Nemo, Mina Murray (former Dracula-victim), and Allan Quartermain team up to work for the British government in the late 1800's. At least, I'm pretty sure that's how it goes. At any rate, I'm gonna buy every one of 'em I can from Dan (at Infinite Frontiers) tomorrow (I think there's 6 of them out...).

That's all I've got for now. Long post. Well, adjø!

"If the facts don't fit the theory, change the facts." — Albert Einstein