Old News: October 12, 2003 to October 28, 2003

11:03 p.m. [GMT-8:00]
28 Oct. 2003 (Tue); Post #397
No school today. There was some kind of orientation thing in the W building, so all my morning computer classes were canceled. I used all the extra time to sleep and play 'Mech Assault on Xbox Live. I really like the Giant Killers game mode; one person plays a heavy 'mech, like a Prometheus, and everyone else plays Elementals trying to kill hir (whoever lands the last blow becomes the new giant). There's some really foul-mouthed twelve year olds on Live though, kinda irritating.

I've been looking at FFXI... I was kind of thinking about trying it out, but after reading the review over at GameSpot, I decided not to. "Needless to say, the words 'garden variety' came up more than once." Plus, the $12.95/month thing is pretty discouraging.

There'll be Halloween festivities this Friday. Phill's site (which I can't get to from my house—thanks, Charter!) has more information. I'm gonna clean up the green room for DVD-on-digital-projector watching. Gonna paint the east wall white. Need to get some big throw pillows or something to sit on.

I finally got Transhuman Space: Fifth Wave today. There was some kind of shipping problem, so my seller had to re-send the package. It's a pretty good book, but the history section is dryer than the others. There was a character background snippet in there that's making me rethink the behavior of some of the PCs' AI allies (namely the fact that they have restrictive "ethical subroutines").

Hanwool told me about this new anime called Planetes [Japanese] (or Planet ES, depending on who you believe). I really like it. It's basically about a group of what Transhuman Space would call "vacuum cleaners." Very realistic for a science fiction anime; characters actually have to worry about zero-gee effects, ships don't make any noise in space, relative velocities are a big deal, etc. If you want to get some eps (only 1-3 are out currently), try using BitTorrent with these sites: Live-eviL, AnimeSuki.

It's been very, very windy today. I have a midterm tomorrow. The water pressure in my shower is extremely low. Have to get up early to go switch my laundry over at my parents' house. Here's a neat picture of the fires in California I found through Slashdot (it's from the Earth Observatory).

California Fires
Satellite picture of the Californian fires from October 26th.

3:45 p.m. [GMT-8:00]
26 Oct. 2003 (Sun); Post #396
We had our Transhuman Space Mars game last night. Everyone actually got here pretty close to on-time. There was more "accounting" to do this session, but it established a good foundation for later play since we were able to figure out some of the more complicated rules and setting details. Anyway, I think it went better than the first session. The more we play in the THS setting, the easier it gets and the games go more smoothly with less work. Here's a quick rundown of the events in the game (skip the next two paragraphs if you're not interested in the GURPS stuff):

Session opens on Libra 27th/April 4th (it was a little weird since we were semi-skipping time; the game wrapped up sometime in Scorpius, the 12th I think). Yuki got fully healed (rented a womb-tank), Cho got healed up to 0 HP. Kelly missed the news coverage about an obscure murder in Guxiang and got arrested during an outing in Nix Oh. She ended up losing her gun and a set of disks (which turned out to contain a 20 TB lifelike virtual model of a Chinese facility on Earth). Anyway, Kelly managed to get out of prison in New Shanghai on $50,000 bail (and promptly had her tracking device removed by a street doc). Ten found out about a job tracking down an EI in Port Lowell, so everyone made arrangements to travel there (Ten and Kelly had to travel in cargo crates). Right before leaving Nix Oh, Cho detonated a bomb in his dormitory (sort of a halfway house, really), killing four people and critically injuring a fifth who later died in the hospital and was brain-peeled.

In Port Lowell, the group had to upload Ten back into his body (since he had wiped his systems before transport; being an EI is risky business), find and rescue Kelly (who was trapped in a box in a warehouse slowly suffocating), and find some sleazy "coffin room" hotels that didn't use thumb- or geneprints. Ten made a search daemon that watched for certain situations that would indicate the presence of the EI. Eventually the team managed to find the EI (in an upgraded ST 15 cybershell) and restrain it long enough to power it down. Then they removed the memory core from its computer, gave it to the police in exchange for the $2,000 bounty and started figuring out how to sell the body. After 7 hours debating the matter in a conference room, they finally decided to take the 'shell to a dealership and volley offers back and forth. In the end, they got $290K for it (minus a 6% tax), making each share about $54K. Kelly got some biosculpting done, Mark may be getting his Newshawk upgraded, and Ten finally got his leg repaired (which had been deadweight ever since it was shot by Fenton Gao on that rainy night in the jungles of the Noctis Labyrinthus). Yuki and Cho haven't really decided what they're going to do with their shares, but it sounds like one or both might be purchasing AI Allies and Cho might have a VII installed.

It's been pretty cold at night lately. Around noon I went to Bonnie Koon's house to set up her computer and show her how to use the web and ...AOL (not my choice of ISP, but whatever). On Saturday I saw the Forsmans when they came to get their trailer from the field next to my house. Talked about Sean's graduation from the Academy. I've been doing chores for my parents since they're out of town this weekend (they're at WSU in Pullman with my sister).

Got Xbox Live and a couple DVDs at Circuit City on Friday. I wanted to get Crimson Skies for the Xbox, but stupid CC didn't have it yet (even though it came out on the 21st). The employees there are such morons. For some reason, they had to check me out at the Customer Service desk (of course, this was after making me wait 10 minutes for the girl at the regular checkout to try to learn how to use her terminal). Anyway, I got A Mighty Wind and 28 Days Later. A Mighty Wind was really good; it's a Christopher Guest mockumentary. I liked the music from it too. All weekend long, Hanwool and I were making dumb references to the "Wha' Happened?" guy and the Catheter song.

A Mighty Wind DVD

7:39 p.m. [GMT-8:00]
22 Oct. 2003 (Wed); Post #395
To summarize the day's events:
  • Went to class. Surfed the web in CS223. Did login scripts in CS222.
  • Had McDonalds for lunch. Listened to Paul Harvey.
  • E-mail, Anandtech Forums, talked to Justin.
  • Went to Studio 64 to get my hair cut. Finally got an annoyed hairstylist after a 55 minute wait. When I got out of there, it was too late to go to class (not that it mattered too much; we were just going to have a lab on choosing topologies).
  • Returned home to find gnomes had put soda in my fridge and a bucket of Halloween candy on my computer.
  • DDR'd for the better part of an hour.
  • Took out the trash.
  • Carved my pumpkin.
  • Updated my blog.
Wasn't that fun? Anyway, I'm going to go eat pork chops.

Looks like a gleeful pig on meth.
My jack o' lantern.

7:32 p.m. [GMT-8:00]
21 Oct. 2003 (Tue); Post #394
Had another real estate comparison photography job today; one property way out beyond Rancho Reata in Kennewick, another in a super-posh part of Richland (Meadow Hills Drive). Very nice houses. The company I'm working for just lost their guy in Yakima (he was doing some bad stuff), so it looks like I'll be doing a lot more work for them. Also, sometime soon somebody's going to come down from Moses Lake to show me how to do interior inspections.

My classes were mega-boring this morning. In CS222, the instructor spent the whole hour making a login script. CS223, the hour before, was a little more interesting; we learned a bunch of stuff about streams, the "grep" and "sed" commands, and some of the more obscure wildcards (like [] and {}).

I put up the LAI I was talking about before. Added a THS section to the GURPS page. Got some feedback from the online game's GM on my clone character.

At about 4:00 pm, I drove over to this place near Livingston to help Phill and his step-mom load free sod into Phill's truck. I can really feel my biceps now. You'd think I could feel them before, but apparently not.

Going to have some ramen for dinner and try to stay awake long enough to watch Frasier (OMG, why am I so freaking tired? I slept 8 hours last night!). Anyway.

That bright water tower on the right in the distance is only 3 miles from my house. Ooo.
Part of the nice view from the Richland property.

10:24 p.m. [GMT-8:00]
20 Oct. 2003 (Mon); Post #393
Sheree's birthday today; I think she's 19. Halloween festivities coming on the 31st. I did some more photos for that real estate company I work for every now and then. These ones were for some place in Kennewick. Stupid MapQuest messed up the directions (told me it was on south Union when it was really two streets away). Anyway, I stopped in to Mueller's Funeral Home and asked for some help. The guy there was really nice; he brought up Yahoo Maps on his computer and showed me the address I was looking for. So if you know anyone who's going to be dead soon, let me suggest Mueller's in Kennewick. They're nice.

My CS224 teacher decided to show up today. Yay. Learned all about a bunch of incredibly outdated network topologies. My morning classes were largely pointless... I turned in my Unix test in CS223 and learned a small amount about NetWare login scripts in CS222.

Made the programmed LAI ally for my THS character for the upcoming online game. I'll put it on the site as soon as I write up some descriptive text to go along with it. It's pretty cool. I'm gonna play a "renegade" MacLarren clone.

I am extremely tired. Worked hard this weekend helping build giant horse sheds at the EEC in Kennewick. Still sore. Getting tired of Fresca. I think the mushrooms in my dinner omelet were bad. Ooof. Okay, I think I'm done whining. Wait: Arrgh, I have so much stuff to do tomorrow... Okay, now I'm done.

Watched Still Standing and Everybody Loves Raymond. They were good. Planning on having ramen for breakfast tomorrow. Mm, chicken flavor. Had a 16 oz. double-shot toasted-marshmallow latte at 2:50. It was good. Only three more purchases before I get a free drink.

BTW, I'm not too trusting of Hotmail lately, so if you want to e-mail me, please use this address:

Aaaaaand... I'm done. TTFN.

10:33 p.m. [GMT-8:00]
16 Oct. 2003 (Thu); Post #392
Finished my Civ III game. Took a total of 6 hours. To sum up events from 1475 on, I sent a galleon over to the Babylonian peninsula and captured their last city. Then I built up about 45 knights and cavalry and attacked France. Their cities fell pretty easily, though I had a terrible problem with resistance (2 of the cities actually revolted, converted my military units, and declared themselves French citizens). Of course, I just sent in a few cavalry units and built a ton of temples. France was totally wiped off the face of the earth in the mid 1600s.

So I'm building up my nation, irrigating, converting to monarchy, building roads, aqueducts, etc. Then, in the 1720s, with no warning, Germany invades me! By this time, I had railroads pretty much everywhere but hadn't yet made the conversion to infantry (was still relying on knights and cavalry with a smattering of immortals, the Persian special unit). Anyway, Bismarck takes three of my cities really fast. And, because infantry have an attack of 6 and a defense of 10, I'm basically unable to take them back. I think I dumped like a dozen cavalry into getting Rheims back. Didn't work. Fortunately, my northern cities were producing enough infantry to keep the Germans at bay.

The war was pretty standstill until the end of the 1800s, when I (with some tech traded from the Zulus) finally managed to produce tanks. The next few dozen years were spent recapturing lost territory and counter-invading northern Germany. In the 1930s, I had a huge problem with pollution. This was remedied when I took Heidelburg and liberated ten workers who were immediately sent via railroad to the mess (shift-P is an incredibly useful command after the industrial revolution). Anyway, I conquered all of continental Germany and two of its islands. They only had 3 cities left in 1959, but that was the year I used a hero to contribute to the building of the United Nations wonder in Ashur. I'd been making nice with the Chinese and Indians for the last couple decades (giving 'em free luxury trade items like furs and incense; the Zulus would have been on my side too, but the Greeks killed them off in the 1920s), so that helped me win the UN election and achieve diplomatic victory. Anyway, my largest city was a 30, I was remembered as "Clackton Mishtoon the Fair," and scored 1633. It was a pretty good game.

Thinking about going to see the Texas Chainsaw Massacre tomorrow. Looks like the online THS game is starting in two weeks. I'm thinking about playing a "reformed" clone from the McLarren Unity at L4. Of course, he'd be biosculpted to look different to avoid prejudice and so forth. Probably have some neat biomods installed. But iono, I also really want to explore the RPing possibilities of an SAI, ghost, or bioroid. Anyway.

Central northern Persia circa 1959. The teal on the world map (lower left) is me, the green is Greece.

5:37 p.m. [GMT-8:00]
15 Oct. 2003 (Wed); Post #391
Went to CS224. Got there a little before 5:00, waited 15 minutes, teacher didn't show up, so I fueled the car and came home. I was kinda curious about what I got on Monday's test, but my disinclination to sit in quiet rooms for long periods of time with nothing to do won out.

Ryan borrowed In the Well and the main Transhuman Space source book today. If any of the players need to get ahold of these before Saturday, talk to him. To quickly review the character creation guidelines/ notes for this particular campaign: (a) unusual characters (bioroids, AIs, ghosts, humans over 100) get a flat, arbitrary bonus of 5 points, (b) the character's cash-on-hand at the beginning of the game can't exceed $8,000, (c) players get a bonus of 5-15 points for providing a character background (minimum 1 paragraph explaining generally what the character did/ where the character lived, etc. before January 1, 2100/ Libra 23, m0039).

Been playing Civilization III. Right now I'm on a Warlord game as the Persians (large map, continents, warm, 5 billion year old planet). The year is 1475 AD and I've nearly wiped out the Babylonians (they have one city left on a distant peninsula surrounded by Chinese territory). I'm getting ready to invade France, to the south (I have about 35 knights and cavalry ready to attack and most of my southern cities are fortified with 2 musketmen each). The Greeks kinda worry me... they're on this other continent, but their empire is huge and they've dominated the other nations on their landmass (India and the Zulus).

Anyway, after I finish this game I'll upgrade to PTW (which I forgot to install on Freya). Then maybe I'll do some Alpha Centauri. Iono. Here's another screen capture (I changed some stuff).

Full Screenshot (1280 x 1024, PNG) [328 kB]

7:58 p.m. [GMT-8:00]
14 Oct. 2003 (Tue); Post #390
Okay, everything's fixed now! I can now log into hjo3.net via FTP, the counter works. Yay.

The ObjectDock icon I uploaded to wincustomize.com finally got approved and became available for download at 8:00 am this morning; so far it's been downloaded 76 times. If I had known it'd be that popular, I would've made it look better at greater magnifications (right now it doesn't look very good above 80 pixels). Anyway, I uploaded a couple wallpapers (one's just a PSP thing, the other is something I made and rendered in Maya).

Looks like there'll be a good Frasier on tonight. And then a new Law & Order: SVU. Ummm... I had stuff I wanted to post about, but I can't remember what it was now. Oh well.

6:09 p.m. [GMT-8:00]
13 Oct. 2003 (Mon); Post #389
My host is messing around with the nameservers, so my page is currently FUBAR. Well, not really; it's just "frozen in time" at Friday's entry if you view it at hjo3.net. If you use, it appears as it should except that for some unknown reason my counter isn't working. It's weird, if I run the CGI directly by accessing it on the web it works just fine. But at the bottom of this page, all that shows up is a "[an error occurred while processing this directive]" message.

The worst part is that everything was working perfectly last night. Zahhhhhh.

12:27 a.m. [GMT-8:00]
13 Oct. 2003 (Mon); Post #388
Yay, I installed a counter. It's a CGI-script written in Perl. The one I'm using is called the "Ace Text Counter." I actually got to use some stuff I learned in my Unix class to set it up; I had to chmod the counter.txt and counter.cgi files. You can see the counter at the bottom of this page (unless you're reading this from the archives).

JD and I were talking about getting some ppl together to go see Matrix Revolutions at IMAX in Spokane (and having sushi) in November. Phill and I had discussed this briefly a while ago too. Sounds like fun, IMHO. Here's an excerpt from our AIM conversation (I should mention that Hanwool's been sick lately, coughing a lot and all that, and of course we were all together the night before):
Ender3445 (5:33:06 pm): you don't happen to have a sore throat, do you?
hjo333 (5:33:10 pm): yeah i do
hjo333 (5:33:14 pm): freakin hanwool
Ender3445 (5:33:15 pm): fucking hanwool
Ender3445 (5:33:17 pm): lol
hjo333 (5:33:17 pm): lol
Well it's late and I have to get up at 7:00 am tomorrow. Adjø.

2:53 p.m. [GMT-8:00]
12 Oct. 2003 (Sun); Post #387
Ended up seeing Kill Bill on Friday with Drew, Justin, Phill, Hanwool, Ryan, Ryan's SO (Paige), and JD. It was a very good movie. I think it's probably the best I've seen this year, though 28 Days Later comes in a close second IMHO. We'll have to see how Matrix Revolutions and LotR:RotK turn out. Anyway, the music in the movie is surprisingly eclectic and most of it's very good (esp. Twisted Nerve and Bang Bang).

On Saturday, we were going to have a GURPS game (a Mars-based Transhuman Space campaign). Ryan decided not to come at the last minute but all he would say is that "something came up," so I hope everything's okay. Phill, Justin, Hanwool, JD, and I did an hour-long review of the THS setting (which mostly consisted of a straight read-through of the main THS timeline with discussion on each new technology/event) and everyone read the "THS Mars Cheat-Sheet" that I prepared (a detailed précis of the timeline from In the Well plus some basic info on weather, clocks & calendars, notable locations, planetary statistics (circa 2100), and scans of the planet-map from ITW and the special 0.38 G encumbrance table). I may post it here (though I worry that there might be issues with the images being copyrighted, but they've been reduced in size, so maybe it's all right)... it's mostly 3 columns, 0.5 inch margins, and 8-point Arial font.

After the "lecture and homework," everyone worked on their characters (200 points). I have to say, I think the players came up with the most original, interesting characters I've seen from them yet. I'm not allowed to talk about Justin's (it's a surprise), but Phill made an incognito slinky star, "Mark the Martian" (a stage name), who's a Mars Adapt (Red Bear) with a Newshawk buzzbot he can teleoperate (it's from Personnel Files, which I got from Infinite Frontiers earlier that day). Hanwool's playing a specially modified Nyame series bioroid produced specifically to protect and befriend the then-child daughter of a Triad bigwig (since she's grown, married, and taken over the family business, the bioroid has been sort of exiled but provided with an Independent Income as a way of saying "thanks"). JD's playing the only totally digital character, an "emergent intelligence" SAI who used to (when it was an LAI) work for the TSA/ the Martian Peruvians and now has a secret vendetta against hir* creators.

BTW, JD, if you're reading this, I just realized that your character probably has a -20 point secret and the Zeroed advantage for a total of -10 points (not totally sure on the Secret cost as I don't have Basic in front of me).

Anyway, that, plus some hand-mutilating fence-building this morning, was my weekend. Oh yeah, and my parents brought me sushi from Bellevue on Saturday for taking care of their dogs! It was half tuna and half yellowtail; very, very good. Picture below.

* "Hir" is the accepted possessive pronoun for genderless entities in THS.

Mmm! Sushi!
Part of my order of sushi from "I Love Sushi" at 11818 NE 8th, Bellevue, WA, 98005.

"Only I can change my life. No one can do it for me." — Carol Burnett