Old News: September 5 to November 12, 2005

12:07 a.m. [GMT-8:00]
12 Nov. 2005 (Sat); Post #625
Yeah, yeah, nothing's happening... stop asking.

Kay, here's the short version of the dull things I've done lately: I saw The Weatherman (really good; not as good as Adaptation, but good), got my new wireless router and set it up (it's a Linksys WRT54G), watched all of season four of Deep Space Nine, still have this dang sore throat (but it's better; I think it'll be completely gone by Monday), saw a really funny show called Comedians of Comedy (Patton Oswalt, Maria Bamford, Zach Galifinakis). Apparently Arrested Development's been canceled... and the current season is only going to last 13 episodes.

12:26 a.m. [GMT-8:00]
4 Nov. 2005 (Fri); Post #624
Super quick update: Swamped with homework, sick (irritating sore throat/cold/cough thing), got the new iMac, lost my glasses (got two new pairs at LensCrafters plus a state-mandated eye exam; prescription got a little bit stronger), finished Building Harlequin's Moon and started Thud! (latest Discworld book), made a ton of spaghetti for dinner tonight (and probably lunch and dinner tomorrow). Also got Civilization IV but have barely had a chance to play it. Graphics look awesome though and I love the soundtrack. My mom wanted to know what the new glasses looked like, so here's a picture. K, later.

New glasses -
New glasses — Cameron Hayes "Hipster" frames.

9:52 p.m. [GMT-7:00]
25 Oct. 2005 (Tue); Post #623
For the past three months this site has been exceeding its bandwidth limit... rather surprising that it did it this month too since I'd upgraded to a more expensive hosting package that had a limit of 24 GB/mo.—twice the original limit. So I moved from HostPC to DreamHost. They give me 120 GB bandwidth and 4.8 GB storage for $7.95/mo. Also, I was able to put another one of my domain names to use with DreamHost's site mirroring feature; now everything found on hjo3.net can also be found on upsidaisium.com. I'd been putting off changing hosts but HostPC's recent downtime (related to power outages in Boca Raton and generator failure) got me motivated.

I've been reading Building Harlequin's Moon lately; about two-thirds through it now. Really great book. Reminds me a lot of Robinson's Mars trilogy and Kress' Beggars trilogy. Basically, these three STL (Slower Than Light) ships leave Sol to colonize a far away world because the solar system has been overrun by gray goo and uncontrollable AIs. One of the ships has a problem and runs out of antimatter fuel, barely making it to the Apollo system. To make more antimatter, they need a collider. Building one requires significant infrastructure and they figure out the quickest way to do it is to terraform and populate a planet. So they spend 60,000 years smashing the moons around this gas giant together and steering icy asteroids to make a 0.6 G world with a breathable atmosphere (they have medical nano that keeps them from aging as long as they spend about half their time in cryostasis). Anyway, the ship's crew don't plan to take the "moonborn" colonists with them once the antimatter has been generated (and the moon is unsuitable for really long term habitation), so this class system evolves with the moonborn getting treated like children and then increasingly like slaves. It's mostly from the perspective of this moonborn girl who gets involved in the ship society and later (spoiler; highlight to view) frozen for twenty years while the rest of the moonborn age.

I went and saw Corpse Bride last Saturday. Not bad, but I'd recommend waiting for the DVD. On the way home I stopped at Bed, Bath & Beyond and got a wall clock (pictured below) and a couple TV tray-type tables.

Clock I bought last Saturday.

Urban Dead added a couple new zombie skills, so I started playing again. Being able to infect people through bites is awesome! Here're my current stats (980x892; 22 KB). I've used Infectious Bite on about nine people so far. Haha, suckers. That'll learn ya' to barricade your hideouts.

I noticed this "How much is your blog worth?" link on SE and, shortly after, on Beefy's site. Ran my site though it — blam, $2,258.16! Somehow I doubt I'd get that much if I put it up on eBay...

Saw the Wallace & Gromit movie today at the AMC theater in Pacific Plaza. That place is surprisingly fancy... has an EB Games and a bunch of other shops. Took the skybridge to Nordstroms on my way out... really amazing view. Wish I'd brought my camera. The movie, BTW, wasn't that great. Still, killed some time.

My new iMac is on its way. Should be here Friday. Major link dump next post. Here're some pictures.

Magazine kiss.

Bear valentine.

1:32 a.m. [GMT-7:00]
18 Oct. 2005 (Tue); Post #622
Lessee... not much to report. School, homework, food, TV. Just more of the same. Here are the two events of note from the past week or so:

Phill contacted me via IM last Friday and told me that Apple had just announced better iMacs on Wednesday. Much better specs... and the price is the same as the older model. So I called Apple and arranged to return mine so I could get the new one with the built-in iSight, DVD-R, remote, etc. Gonna ship mine back tomorrow. Woulda done it earlier, but I needed it for some ICG homework and my midterm project (still in progress). The new one will be ten gallons of awesome in a two gallon tub.

Went and saw Serenity at the Loews Meridian 16 over on 7th and Pike. Really great movie... some very surprising twists. Definitely looking forward to the sequel. BTW, that Loews theater is huge... like, four stories tall and right across the street from the convention center (which has this, like, five-story metal and glass canopy that goes over the whole street to the Cheesecake Factory next door). Had to walk 28 blocks round-trip, but it wasn't too bad... no hills. No rain either, which was lucky.

Here're some pictures of what I've been having for dinner lately:

Clockwise from the upper left: Macaroni and cheese with peas, pancakes with syrup, beef stroganoff with peas, spaghetti with meat sauce and parmesan.
(1094x1094; 399 KB)

10:39 p.m. [GMT-7:00]
13 Oct. 2005 (Thu); Post #621
In the 2nd week of classes now; just got back from Intro to 2-D Animation about an hour ago. Actually made a real pencil-test animation tonight. It's 17 frames of a bouncing ball. I kinda messed up on the squash captures though (did two steps when I was sposed to do four). Still, it came out better than I had expected. Here's the AVI I made in Premiere 6.5:
101305_ball_bounce.avi (3.95 MB)
Been doing lots and lots of homework. Did like six hours last night, gotta do some more after I post this. The only stuff I really hate is the gouache painting. Intro to Comp. Graphics is awesome though. Been doing a lot of vector work in Illustrator.

Oh yeah, I got a Mac. It's a 1.8 GHz G5 iMac with 512 MB DDR400 RAM, a DVD-ROM, 160 GB HD, and a Radeon 9600 video card. I really like it (well, not so much as to use it as my primary machine, but it's not bad to work on). Got it loaded up with my MP3 collection and Adobe Creative Suite 2. Here's a pic (that's my cityscape project for ICG on the screen):

iMac G5
New iMac. (1000x705; 142 KB)

Beefy released his second album, Nerd. As with the first, this one is free to download (though there's a bonus track you get if you donate $5 or more). My favorite track: I Don't Wanna Be Right. The title-song, Nerd, it pretty good too (I'm in it!). I definitely think these songs are an improvement over his last EP.

It's really weird to see people sleeping on the street when I walk home from class at night, but at least the area seems safe. My mom sent me a backpack in the mail which is really awesome; has a ton of zippered pockets and places for my key cards. Gotta remember to pick up the Animator's Survival Kit tomorrow... the book store was out earlier this week. Supposed to be the ultimate reference for animation. Looking forward to Civ 4 coming out on the 24th; gonna pre-order it on Amazon. Kinda been meeting some people, hung out with this guy, Jay, on Sunday.

Some great sushi takeout I had for lunch last week.

1:31 a.m. [GMT-7:00]
6 Oct. 2005 (Thu); Post #620
My mom came up from the Tri-Cities on Monday and left Tuesday. She brought up some things I needed from my old place (hangers, cables, a lamp, a colander, etc.) and got me a bunch of groceries. On Tuesday we walked over to Wild Fish where I had some really excellent sushi, a tuna roll, and gyoza. They have discounted prices on a lot of stuff during "happy hour" from 4:00 to 6:00. I think I'm gonna eat there tomorrow for lunch since I have an evening class.

So far I've been to Intro. to Comp. Graphics, Color Theory, and Lang. of Animation & Film. The last one seems like it's going to be kind of hard but fun. Color Theory I don't care for — it requires a lot of very-precise gouache painting for scales, wheels, and charts. Who knew it was so hard to paint a ten-block gray scale with proper balance? Intro. to Comp. Graphics is actually a little trickier than I thought it would be; we have to do vector work on Macs. I find myself constantly wishing for a right-click button. Have to do some thumbnail sketches (due next Monday) for the midterm project. I like all my teachers so far, but especially Ault and Mansfield.

Had chicken cordon bleu (pre-made, cooked in the oven for a half hour) and herb and butter pasta with peas for dinner. It was good, maybe a little too rich. I really like having a stove. Dunno what I'm having for dinner tomorrow, but I'm gonna bake biscuits to go with it.

Lost was pretty good tonight. I was afraid they'd really draw out the Desmond/hatch mystery for a long time, only occasionally revealing tiny parts of the history and purpose, but I wasn't pleasantly surprised. WTF was up with Jin's perfect English on the teaser for next week's episode?

Man, The Office was amazing on Tuesday. Such a great show. The only thing I'm afraid of with that series is that they'll overdo the schmaltz. That's a big risk with sentimental themes, right? To do it well, you have to really push it to the edge of becoming glurgy, but if you go too far it's a total failure and usually compromises the realism of the characters.

Stroker and Hoop (on Adult Swim) has been surprisingly entertaining. I think Squidbillies and 12 oz. Mouse are going to suck though. Last week's Saturday Night Live was mostly good but Horatio Sanz really shouldn't be on Weekend Update. I like one of the new cast members, that Hader guy. Seems talented.

K, I'm gonna go read Analog (December issue). Looking forward to the Sun of Suns conclusion.

1:13 a.m. [GMT-7:00]
3 Oct. 2005 (Mon); Post #619
This site is eating up a lot of bandwidth lately... went through 18.8 gigabytes in September. Had to upgrade to a better package to avoid significant downtime/overage fees. Now I've got 1.6 GB of storage and 24 GB of transfers/mo. If the usage gets much higher I'll have to start thinking about moving to a new host. HostPC has great low-end packages, but past 40 GB/month you have to rent whole servers which starts at like $60/month.

I'd lost the remote for my TV in the move, so I ordered a replacement from this place. Site looks like crap, but they got me the control for my specific model in three days. Even arrived with fresh batteries already in it.

Found out there's a garbage chute on my floor so I don't have to take the elevator or anything to throw stuff away. Pretty cool.

Started watching this anime, Honey and Clover. The first episode was great; very funny. The second was so-so and the two after that were pretty boring. It's about these poor college students and this super-talented girl who's the niece of one of their instructors who's supposed to be eighteen but looks like she's nine. Also saw Kamichu (sucked), Harukanaru Toki no Nakade (sucked), and Nagareboshi Gin (really old but not bad).

Neat link: Liquid Sculpture. Pictures of water droplets and splashes. More interesting than it sounds.

Finished Kiln People, so I ordered a used copy of Building Harlequin's Moon (Larry Niven and Brenda Cooper) on Amazon. Been kinda halfheartedly rereading Green Mars while waiting for it to arrive.

Got a haircut at Rudy's Barber Shop on Wall St. on Friday. Here's a pic:

5:35 p.m. [GMT-7:00]
28 Sep. 2005 (Wed); Post #618
Well, I'm all moved in. My dad helped me move the furniture into the apartment Friday through Sunday. Also hit Ikea Saturday night. We went to a memorial service on Bainbridge Island on Saturday morning/afternoon. It was very nice; the string quartet that played there was fantastic. If I'm ever involved in the planning some kind of formal affair I'm definitely going to find an excuse to have a string quartet play at it. Wish I'd had my camera with me when we went — it was sunny and there was some beautiful stuff to be seen from the top deck of the ferry we took. At the memorial's reception we met a lady who turned out to be an architect who worked on the design of the main AIS building on Elliott St. Small world, huh?

On Monday I tried to find a Staples so I could buy a proper computer desk like the one I had back in Pasco, but Google Maps screwed me and I got lost near the Lincoln Park reservoir. I managed to get back (I know I've said it before, but the driving here is insane) and talked to a real person about directions. Turns out there's a Staples right up Denny Way (which turns into Western with turns into 15th Ave. W, yadda yadda). Got the desk and put it together (took much longer than expected). Nice and solid. Here's a pic:

Living room (apt) with desk
Living room with computer desk. (900x675; 116 KB)

And here's the other side of the room:

Klippan loveseat
Sofa, pictures, and game table. (900x675; 145 KB)

Went to orientation at AIS this morning. Met with Jill, figured out a bunch of stuff, got my kit, and had some schedule changes made. Here's my current class schedule:

Monday: Intro. to Computer Graphics (DC102), NC 105, 5:45p - 9:35p
Tuesday: Color Theory (DG100), SC 715, 12:00p - 4:00p
Wednesday: Language of Animation & Film (DC113), SC 717, 12:00p - 4:00p
Thursday: Intro. to 2-D Animation (DC105), SC 702, 5:45p - 9:35p
Friday: Drawing and Perspective (DG102), SC 721, 12:00p - 4:00p

There's a voluntary orientation I'll be going to on Saturday specifically for people new to the area ("Surviving Seattle"). It explains how the buses work, where to shop, safety tips, etc. Should be really handy.

I'm getting a land line... it's supposed to be installed on the 30th, but I might not have a phone till Sunday. Anyway, once it's hooked up my number will probably be (206) 728-4483. Only $12.50/month as long as I use prepaid cards for long distance.

Been finding some neat stuff around here. There's a Subway five blocks to the south (they use magnetic cards to track "reward points" instead of stamps like in the Tri-Cities), a couple convenience stores within three blocks, and a Starbucks two blocks away. Still not sure where to buy stuff like produce.

Didja know that "I'm Oscar.com" web site from last week's Arrested Development is really there? Kinda funny. It also had a clue about this week's episode (the "Wee Britain" ad). Love that show. I thought the quality started to dip towards the end of season two, but so far season three has been great.

I read something really interesting (IMHO) in Kiln People the other night that I thought I'd share:
"Albert, do you know what happens inside a chrysalis?"
"A chrys... you mean a
cocoon? Like when a caterpillar—"
"—turns into a butterfly. People envision a simple transformation: the caterpillar's legs turn into the butterfly's legs, for instance. Seems logical, no? That the caterpillar's head and brain would serve the butterfly in much the same way? Continuity of memory and being. Metamorphosis was seen as a cosmetic change of outer tools and coverings, while the entity within—"
"People think the caterpillar changes
into a butterfly, but that doesn't happen! After spinning a chrysalis around itself, the caterpillar dissolves! The whole creature melts into nutrient soup, serving only to nourish a tiny embryo that feeds and grows into something else. Something altogether different!"
Anyway, here's a picture of what I had for lunch: a turkey and havarti sandwich from the French bakery downstairs.

Turkey and Havarti sandwich with Jones organic red tea.

4:03 a.m. [GMT-7:00]
23 Sep. 2005 (Fri); Post #617
Okay, so I went to Seattle, moved a bunch of stuff into the apartment. Went to the Ikea store in Renton — that place is amazing. Huge, tons of stuff, most of it very inexpensive. Got some tables, chairs, an end table, and a really cool TV stand (the "Norrebo"). We had dinner at the Whistlestop Ale House. Had the seafood alfredo, it was very good.

Going back to Seattle tomorrow (today). This time I'll be staying up there. Moving a bunch of furniture and heavy boxes... my dad and I are going to a memorial service on Saturday. Have the cable tech coming on Sunday to activate my TV/internet.

Been super busy lately. Barely awake at the moment. Gotta do a million things tomorrow.

Ummm... lessee... using Opera 8.5 now. They made it free, no ads. Great in most every way except it still lacks a real Google Toolbar.

There were some really good shows on earlier this week... the Simpsons premiere was fairly funny, and Family Guy/American Dad were both good. Harvey Birdman has become much funnier since they added Birdgirl. I'm starting to like that Stroker & Hoop show. The Office premiere was fantastic... great to see the staff not hating Michael for once. Managed to be funny and sweet without getting glurgy, IMHO. My Name is Earl was better than I thought it'd be... will watch the next one for sure. SVU was decent, but I'm getting tired of the "Stabler has a dark side" thing getting repeatedly hammered into the skulls of the audience. Do something with it! He should either conquer his demons or finally snap and do something that gets him kicked off the force. Battlestar Galactica keeps getting better. Col. Tigh is my favorite character ATM. Hope Caprica-Boomer will get more acceptance from the crew... she's proved herself like three times now, right? Lost was awesome, though the episodes always seem way too short to me. Arrested Development exceeded my expectations... Ron Howard is a genius and the perfect narrator.

K, this was probably one of my less-sensical posts. Let's wrap it up with a Futurama quote.
Morbo: Morbo will now introduce tonight's candidates. Puny human number one, puny human number two, and Morbo's good friend Richard Nixon.
Nixon: Hello, Morbo. How's the family?
Morbo: Belligerent and numerous.
Nixon: Good man.
2:20 a.m. [GMT-7:00]
17 Sep. 2005 (Sat); Post #616
I got renter's insurance through State Farm this afternoon (Centennial requires at least $50K liability coverage). It was surprisingly cheap. I got a really great package ($300K liability, $38K personal property, $5K medical) and it's only costing me $12.95/month. I have a bunch of deductions that made it so I only had to pay the minimum even though I added extra features (i.e. got a discount cuz I use them for my car insurance, never been convicted, haven't filed a claim in the last five years, etc.).

Burnout Revenge is really great. I love the hidden shortcuts on tracks and most of the music is keen (plus you can customize the playlist to remove songs you don't like). Right now I'm Rank 6. Graphics are a lot better than in Burnout 3: Takedown and it seems they've removed the annoying glare effects that made it hard to see very far ahead in bright sunlight. Traffic checking is too cool for words.

Got an email from Justin — he and his mom made it to Florida. They moved into a three-bedroom apartment on the 9th and he got a job in the Animal Kingdom Lodge at Disney World earlier today. Sounds like he likes it there.

I'm going to Seattle tomorrow (today). Gonna get the key to my apartment and move some things in. My mom's coming, she's delivering a Weimaraner puppy to this Microsoft employee in Redmond. I don't have to drive and I torrented/burned some comedy audio CDs, so the trip shouldn't be too boring/horrible.

This site has some interesting concept art galleries. (Of course, that's not totally accurate; some of the images are just scans from the Ministry of Space comicbook or photos of Gear Krieg miniatures. Still, it's neat stuff.)

Last Exile skyship
I forget where I found this... I think it's concept art for a skyship from from Last Exile.

9:40 p.m. [GMT-7:00]
10 Sep. 2005 (Sat); Post #615
I sanded, puttied, and stained the shelves late Tuesday night, got 'em moved into the house Wednesday evening. I couldn't get the belt sander to work right, so I had to use the Black & Decker mouse sander which resulted in a couple slightly rough areas. It's nothing worth fixing (i.e., re-sanding and re-staining) IMHO, just something to remember for future projects. Overall, the shelves came out very nice. Definitely sturdier than anything you could buy in a store. I was kind of excited to see how it'd look filled, so I unpacked everything and loaded it up. (Because of a minor miscalculation regarding the volume of my collection, the shelves only barely hold it all. Might have to build another set soon.) Here's a pic:

DVD shelves
Finished DVD shelves. (689x1051; 316 KB)

Anyway, I just got back from Seattle this afternoon. Got through the "new student clearance day" just fine... I need to tweak my schedule a little bit next week (would like to get some class times changed). The next thing I have to worry about for AIS is my orientation on the 28th.

Managed to find a great apartment; it's a one-bedroom on the third floor of the Centennial Tower at 4th and Wall St. Signed a 6-month lease on Friday. It's only about four blocks from the school (downhill from the Tower to AIS). The building is owned by Equity Apartments which is kind of cool because it means I can move to different buildings they own without breaking my lease and paying only minimal fees. Like, if I eventually want a two-bedroom unit at 2300 Elliott (which is closer). Parking at the Centennial is ultra expensive though ($100-130/mo.), so I'll probably find somewhere else in Seattle to store my car at after October. Here're some pictures I took of the apartment:

1-br apt. interior pics
Centennial Tower one-bedroom apartment. (1200x600; 177 KB)

And a floor plan, why not:

Centennial Tower 1-br floorplan

Also got some really nice shirts and new pair of shoes at Men's Wearhouse and Macy's, resp. Oh, and a couple DVDs at Fry's in Renton.

Going back to Seattle next weekend (9/17) to move some stuff to the new apartment. Will be moving the bigger items and furniture the weekend after that.

Here's an amusing anecdote from Jason Striegel's blog: How I Failed the Turing Test.

Also, I found this new webcomic (well, new to me) called Rob and Elliot. Not super original, but the art is great and I liked it enough to add it to my biweekly webcomic rounds.

Rob and Elliot link-button

I'm off to watch Quantum Leap, MythBusters, and Dawn of the Dead documentaries. I may even go buy a soda beforehand. Blam.

4:12 a.m. [GMT-7:00]
5 Sep. 2005 (Mon); Post #614
My dad and I started building my DVD shelves Sunday night. Got most everything cut, ripped, dadoed, and notched and the sides pre-drilled. We planed the sides which really helped smooth them out and reduced warping (the selection of 2x8s/2x10s at the 27th Ave. Home Depot was not great). Basically we just have to cut the plywood backing to size and assemble the thing now (well, and then sand and stain it). Gotta buy some small-headed screws tomorrow.

I'm really looking forward to Burnout Revenge. It'll be out next Tuesday (9/13). S'posed to have greater emphasis on battling, improved graphics, allow more interaction with traffic (i.e. you can slam non-rival cars), and there's a new game mode, "Traffic Attack." Might just have to renew my Live subscription.

Burnout Revenge screenshot
Burnout Revenge screenshot. (640x448; 132 KB)

My gnome mage in WoW is up to level 25 now. Been doing a ton of quests in Duskwood. Got an awesome rare wand that does 27.1 DPS.

Since I don't have any interesting links, here are a couple topical 4chan pics:

NOLA disaster, SC2000
The NOLA disaster a la SimCity 2000... (964x731; 382 KB)

NOLA disaster, Katamari
...and Katamari Damacy. (596x396; 113 KB)

"Whenever you have an efficient government you have a dictatorship." — Harry S. Truman