News: September 2, 2003 to September 25, 2003
got a bad flu, has been home from school all week; doesn't think
he'll want to GM the China game that was planned for Sunday. OMG
my Network Essentials class is so... dumb. CS222 is heaven
compared to my CS224 night class. Here's a pretty accurate account
of tonight's lecture:
2003 (Thu); Post #374
(talking about the OSI model) "So, the presentation layer.
It has... encryption..."
how painful that was to read? Now imagine it dragging on for slightly
more than two hours. Anyway, it's not entirely his fault I guess.
The students don't seem to be very percipient. And this is the first
class he's ever taught.
(explains what encryption is for 3 minutes using examples from
Instructor: "And... this is used with web browsers..."
(minute-and-a-half silence while he stares at his notes)
Instructor: (just starts speaking as if he's been doing so all
along) "...and that's what that layer's all about."
(2 minutes of staring at notes, then flips a couple pages on his
Instructor: "Okay, the application layer."
Student: "What about the presentation layer?"
(30 second pause)
Instructor: "Oh, I didn't put it on the board. Here."
(10 seconds of drawing yields a box with the word "Presentation"
Instructor: "So the application layer is the highest one.
It uses APIs..."
Had Subway for lunch. I like their sweet onion chicken teriyaki
sandwich. Esp. good with those crunchy Cheetos. Had Wendy's for
dinner. Watched the Law & Order season premier. It was okay.
That Serena character (the blond ADA) really annoys me. I dunno
how McCoy puts up with her.
Been playing with ObjectDock.
A lot of ppl seem to prefer Y'z Dock (which, BTW, isn't being developed
anymore and isn't sposed to be distributed cuz Apple threatened
to sue), but I personally can't see anything about it that's better
than ObjectDock. I'm reluctant to switch over to it completely cuz
I can't fit all my icons in there aesthetically and a lot of my
programs run in the system tray. Also, there's this really minor
issue with the background flickering for an instant when the mouse
moves off it. Okay, anyway, it's late.
finished watching the season premier of Law & Order: SVU. Before
that, it was the Frasier premier and a second new episode. All good,
though I prefer the L&O eps where they actually get around to
the trial; this one was all police work, no ADA appearances. Been
watching this anime called Asagiri no Miko. It's okay. The episodes
are all 12 minutes long though (as opposed to the usual 22 minutes),
which is weird.
2003 (Tue); Post #373
Drew got a 256 MB thumbdrive for $65 at Best Buy. He, Phill, Derrin
(sp?), and I all have a class together (CS222: Novell Netware @
10:20 am). That is an amazingly boring class, BTW. Course, it's
the same as most CS lectures... the teacher talks at the front of
the room for an hour while showing poorly designed Power Point slides,
occasionally throwing out mind-numbingly simple questions to the
class to show that he/she's interacting with the students. Oy. At
least I have one class with Mr. Sako who actually tries to make
his topics interesting. I dunno, maybe I just felt incredibly bored
cuz I was so somnolent.
Anyway, I think I'll play some GBA ROMs and read High Frontier before
going to bed.
we ended up playing Hanwool's China campaign, then my Weird campaign
(that Black Ops/ Warehouse 23 sorta thing). The China game was a
little dry, but my character managed to accomplish one of his goals
(learning some earth-college spells). Also, he's meeting some of
the higher-ups in the kingdom of Ke, though he's only allowed one
month at the emperor's palace. Justin's character seems to have
stopped trying to kill him, though Akira did tell the authorities
Bao (my character) had murdered a sword-fighter. Fortunately, Bao
had been working 10 hour days as an apprentice to a wood carver
while the rest of them hid from the soldiers, so he had a good alibi.
2003 (Mon); Post #372
The Weird campaign was pretty good, though I think a couple characters
were kind of overlooked in all the action. The session pretty much
consisted of Jack's (Justin's) team meeting up with Gregor's team
(a vampire, witch, sentient virus, Egyptian scarab spirit, and a
talking briefcase), dealing with Fred's (Drew's) shapeshifting and
killing Hanwool's former character, Bob (the mass of spirit-bees),
who was possessed by the Terra Grimoire. The whole shapeshifting
ordeal was caused by the discovery of a bottle of "Vitamals
- Chewable Vitamins" (an item from Warehouse 23). The results
were rather random; Fred ended up transforming into a skink (lizard),
then a blue whale. The blue whale transformation caught Jack and
Gregor unawares; they took something like 4dx4 concussion damage
since they were basically at "ground zero." Gregor died.
Fred started dying as he was crushed under his own weight (taking
1d-3 damage per second). Jack, thinking quickly (but not mercifully),
jumped onto the whale's back, crushed all the vitamins in his hands
(ST 40 vampire) and dropped them down the whale's blowhole.
Meanwhile, Morty (Ryan) and Bob the sentient virus (possessing,
at the time, the body of some Ohioan farmer) drove back to Chino
and encountered a police roadblock. Bob possessed one of the cops
and shot the other (narrowly missing Morty). Morty stole a cop car
and drove back to what remained of the teams. Of course, this whole
time a huge shield volcano is forming in the middle of a Nevada
highway. The simultaneous ingestion of every shapeshifting pill
in the vitamin bottle caused Drew's character to change into a sequoia.
Unfortunately, he also has Instant Regeneration and Regrowth. The
result? A tree that grows at the rate of 1 inch per second.
Anyway, long story short, Drew's made a total of 17 death-checks,
turned into a small grove (after collapsing from a height of 900
feet), and Morty, Fred, and Scab (Hanwool's scarab spirit) managed
to work together to incinerate the swarm (though Fred just kinda
had to stand there while Morty climbed him). Fred changed back to
normal sometime around 6:00 am. The group was then recalled to Warehouse
23, somewhere in Colorado.
This week, I think we're doing Weird on Friday night and China Sunday
afternoon. My new fridge is working really well. I cleaned up the
kitchen area and vacuumed. Got some peanut butter and jelly, another
loaf of white bread, and some Honey Bunches of Oats cereal. Had
linguini in meat sauce with mozzarella for dinner and sour cream-lemon
pie for dessert.
got back from seeing Underworld with Hanwool, Justin, and Phill.
It was okay. Better than the Blade movies, anyway, IMO. Before the
movie, we (with the exception of Justin) grabbed dinner at Rattlesnake
Mt. Brewing Co. It was agreed that everything was very good. I think
we're doing Hanwool's China campaign tomorrow; Drew should be coming
this time but I think Phill will have to baby-sit again.
2003 (Sat); Post #371
Here are the pics from the Coos Bay trip:
Bastendorf beach at about 2:00 pm on Wednesday.
The wharf at Charleston, as seen from a bridge over the sound.
Me standing in an odd little cave in the side of a 60 foot
cliff at Bastendorf.
The Euroclydon, a trawler, offloading cargo.
got some kind of issues and seems to be trying to goad me into a
quarrel but I'm just going to do my best to avoid that whole ugly
mess. Anyway, I'm back from Coos Bay. Picked up a 256 MB thumbdrive
(6 MB/s transfer speed) at Fry's on my way down. Earlier this evening,
my parents and I used the trailer to pick up my fridge at this lady's
house over on Ledbetter in Kennewick. It's nice; in much better
condition than I had expected. Had to take my door off its hinges
to get it inside though.
2003 (Fri); Post #370
Have some really neat pictures from the trip. I'll try to put them
up tomorrow as I'm currently sleepy and have yet to haul 60 lbs.
dog and cat food from the clinic. Notable events from trip: fixed
grandma's computer (Adaware (231 bugs!) + AV software (63 infected
files!) + upgrade to NTFS and Win 2K SP2 + canned air on CPU HSF
+ new drivers), received many towels, a heavily-used-but-still-working-perfectly
hot plate griddle device, and some neat old bowls, went to the beach,
took lots of pictures (esp. of marina), had small amount of sushi
(tuna and yellowtail), saw grandma's new "Roomba" (a robot-vacuum
that does neat stuff), and drove a total of 6 hours on the 16-hour
round trip. I also got a rice-cooker/ vegetable-steamer that I'm
eager to use.
Stopped by IF around 6:00, picked up some KODT (#83 plus the Origins
special and the new Blackhands #1), PvP, Girl Genius (#9, #6-8 are
hard to find), and two GURPS books (from the Transhuman Space line;
High Frontier and In the Well).
making this post 'cause I'm on hold with Amerion. Had GURPS games
Friday and Saturday nights; Hanwool's China setting, then the new
campaign. The new campaign's sort of a Black Ops/ Illuminati/ Warehouse
23/ Monsters sort of thing; it went extremely well. Basically a
bunch of high powered characters (650 pts.) run around doing jobs
for some shady, super-secret government branch. The group consists
of a vampire (Justin), a half-demon (Jones), a water-thing
(we never decided what it was exactly; Drew), and a ghost who takes
the form of a swarm of bees (Hanwool). Keith's invitation was answered
with surprising hostility; he didn't come. Phill had to baby-sit.
2003 (Mon); Post #368
Going to Coos Bay (Oregon) tomorrow, will be back sometime Thursday
Stargate SG-1 DVD sets arrived yesterday. I'm about 80% through
season 3 right now. It's pretty good; probably better than the previous
seasons. There's a really interesting documentary on North Korea
on PBS right now. Finished A World Out of Time a while ago
and started Trinity. AWOOT was really good, though I thought
the ending was a little weak. Seems like there should have been
2003 (Thu); Post #367
I've read the first four stories in Trinity and the only one I didn't
hate was "Explanations, Inc." While I enjoyed the use
of the "ppl can recall past lives through high-tech brain surgery"
device in Brain Rose, it really bored me in her other works. I think
one of the big differences between Kress and other authors is that
Kress tends to pick one or two fairly uncommon concepts and really
focus on those (like "Reality" and alien-radiation-machines
in the Probability series, or prejudice and gengineering in the
Sleepless trilogy). Other authors tend to use a broader spectrum
of changes and advances in their stories. Either tactic can work.
Kress also tends to examine her characters a lot closer than other
authors... again, it either works or it bores the heck out of you.
Leisha Camden in Beggars in Spain: fascinating. Tom Capelo
in Probability Sun: boring.
Looking forward to our next GURPS game, though I'm uncertain about
how my character's going to deal with two issues: Akira's not-so-subtle
attempts to kill him and his desire/ goal to return to modern Earth.
Also, lingering in the back of my (his) mind is the matter of the
Kourin. She grants him amazing powers and has yet to ask for something
in return. Will Bao become an indentured servant for the rest of
his life? Can he be forced to return the gift? How dangerous would
it be to turn against the Kourin?
Got a bunch of neat comic scans; everything by Kevin Smith, everything
by Jhonen Vasquez (Invader Zim creator), all of Dilbert up to 2002,
all of Futurama (yes, they had comics!), and all of Sam & Max.
So far, out of all of that, I've only read Vasquez's "Filler
Bunny: I Fill Up 15 Pages!"
was weird, opposite our usual Saturdays; Ryan actually decided to
grace us with his presence and Beefy bailed without explanation.
Phill had to stay at home and watch his stepmother and her baby
or something. But the game actually went pretty well despite Justin's
repeated attempts to kill our characters. (FYI, any time a really
old sage confronts your party of criminals and sends her guards
away, it's usually because she could explode your heart with a word.
She didn't get to be 150 in a TL3 world by taking huge risks with
her life. Duh!)
2003 (Mon); Post #366
Anyway. The Halo 1.5 beta got leaked. Have heard some interesting
things about it. Last night I finished Infinity Welcomes Careful
Drivers (Red Dwarf book) and started A World Out of Time.
It's extremely good. I've got about 60 pages left. Someone on AT
got me looking at this John
Titor (the supposed time traveler from 2036) garbage. A surprising
number of ppl have actually bought this guy's story. The idiot on
AT is planning on moving to another country to avoid the next US
The chicken nuggets at Wendy's really are better than McDonald's.
went to the Bookworm and got some new reading material. Starswarm
by Pournelle, A World Out of Time by Niven, Trinity and
Other Stories by Kress, and The Undersea Trilogy by Pohl
and Jack Williamson. I wouldn't have bought the last one except
the cover looked vaguely familiar and I realized I'd read the second
book in the series a long time ago (it was really good). They had
this really cool illustrated version of A Brief History of Time,
but it was $40 so I didn't get it.
2003 (Sat); Post #365
Had Carl's Jr. for lunch. Hanwool's China campaign should be starting
soon. My character, Bao Hong Xiao, is a famous Chinese artist/ calligrapher
living in Yokohama, Japan. Hope it'll be fun.
Hooray, new books!
Kevin with a minor image-stitching/ table issue on his new
web site design. I think it looks very good; much better than
the old design. Everyone seems to like it except Nick and D. Gonzalez
who've been criticizing it in their generally tactless manner.
2003 (Thu); Post #364
Incidentally, I happened across this
page thanks to a reference in in the AT forums. It's really
hilarious. Had Mongolian Grill again today, but they didn't have
any zucchini, so I had to use mushrooms and broccoli instead. Wasn't
and played the Homeworld
2 demo. Very good game. I only have two complaints: the textures
could have been higher quality (of course, there may be options
for this in the final release) and the camera controls are a little
annoying (for the most part, you can't change them), specifically
the "pan" methods. I wish they'd done it the way Maya
does (alt + m1 = rotate, alt + m2 = zoom, alt + m3 = pan). That
just feels more natural, IMHO. Still, the game looks amazing. I
haven't really figured out formations yet, so I'm going to read
up on that.
2003 (Wed); Post #363
I ordered Stargate SG-1 seasons 3 and 4 (used) off Amazon. They
should be here, hopefully, next week. Can't wait to see them. For
some reason, the local Circuit City stopped stocking the Stargate
boxed sets. Oh well, the prices I got were like half what I would've
payed at CC.
Started rereading an old Red Dwarf book I have. I realize I'd forgotten
most of it... it's like HHGTTG,
but a little more realistic and a little darker. It's closer to
actual SF than the stuff I'd been reading (two new Callahan's/ Spider
Robinson books and Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchette). After I finish
this, I really need to go get some new books.
two GURPS games this weekend. Amazingly, no one killed anyone else
on Saturday (well, no PCs died, anyway). Sunday was another
story. Justin killed Hanwool and Beefy killed Justin. If we play
GURPS again next weekend, I might change genres. Or get Hanwool
to GM. It's beginning to look like the only way to stop party infighting
is to say "a wizard put a spell on all of you and now you can't
hurt each other or you'll all die," or something. I hate using
major fiats like that.
2003 (Tue); Post #362
Sunday night we had a little LAN party. JD, Kevin, and Drew came.
Everyone else basically whined and gave excuses like "I'm too
tired to bring a computer," even though the next day was labor
day. Anyway, we played Warcraft III: TFT and some Co-op BF1942 (see
image below) using the Vaio as a ded. server. Kevin introduced me
to Freelancer, which is an older game kind of like a cutesy-fied
version of Freespace 2 with "role-playing." Still, it's
fairly fun (except for this minor bug that makes certain text disappear).
I installed UT2003 to see how it'd look with my Radeon 9800 Pro...
very pretty. I run everything at 4x anti-aliasing and 4x anisotropic
filtering (no one seems to know exactly what AF is, so here's
for best performance/ quality. Why not higher? Mainly because of
Desert Combat. I don't know what they did, but that game seems to
suck up resources like a twenty ton sponge. On my ti4600, it actually
lagged a little at certain points.
Kevin urged me to download the Half Life 2 gameplay video. Now,
587 megs later, I can say the game really looks amazing. Supposed
to be out September 30. Oy. Another game I'm looking forward to,
Homeworld 2, comes out on the 16th. I just glanced at some gameplay
vids though and they weren't too impressive. Oh well, the demo comes
out tomorrow and I can see if I really like it or not.
I pwned them.
may come and go, but enemies accumulate." Thomas Jones