Wednesday, December 9, 2009

After 5 or 6 years of not going to the dentist I finally went yesterday. I was expecting 2 or 3 cavaties, but instead the doctor walks into the room looking at my x-rays and says "So you've never had any cavaties before?" Score! According to him, it seems like my teeth are naturally cavity resistant.

Joe Schell: Hero for Hire.

Also, still busy with work.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving all. I'm looking at a busy month, but I'll probably get back here to post just before Christmas. The quarter conveniently a few days before Christmas this year.

Last weekend Kate's work-friends had a thanksgiving potluck, which was a fun time. Kate made some delicious stuffing and I helped make some sweet potato snacks (they were decent, but I liked the stuffing a lot more). I think it would have been more fun if I had been warned that it was going to go until that night (after starting at 2pm), so I could have paced my alcohol intake better and found more food at some point, but that was alright.

I treked out to ikea on Sunday. The in-store shipping for an item is $80, but you have to physically load the item (that's clearly too big to fit into your car so it's definitely going to be a handful) onto a cart and take it through the checkout- for some reason you can't just tell the cashier the item numbers. And if you order online or over the phone the shipping price will become $120 because they don't ship from the nearest store. Ikea is not very logically organized. This was a little frustrating on Sunday.

On Friday Kate and I were on the metro train that hit someone. We were coming into Brookland station and the train slammed the breaks for a second, then released the breaks, and then came to a pretty-quick stop and shut down. The lights went off and the doors didn't open, and we sat for a few minutes there with everyone looking at each other. Finally the driver said on the intercom "We've had an emergency on this train. This train has just struck a customer." We sat there for a few more minutes while security ran up and down the sides of the train looking underneath with flashlights. Then the doors opened and we all evacuated to the far side of the platform and luckily there wasn't any blood on the floor or anything. We stood there in the cold for maybe 10 minutes and some cops came to see if there were any witnesses, and then the whole station shut down and we had to go outside. There wasn't anyone outside conducting people to any particular shuttle-bus, so we all kinda wandered different directions. Luckily, Kate is like a encyclopedia of dc buses and she spotted one she recognized from around Columbia heights. The bus driver had some issues because they had closed a few roads around the station for some reason so we took the long way around. We toured some of the lovely area of Brookland/CUA. Bummer for some poor man.. so distraught just before Thanksgiving.

Today I retried to dunkin donuts brand coffee. Someone suggested that I just added disproportionally too much water. This time I used 14 heaping spoonfuls of coffee for 9 cups of water, and it still turned out to be weak, watery crap. Screw that brand. I bought some starbucks brand dark roast that mixes well into good iced coffee (at a 1 spoon per cup ratio) so I'll stick with that.

Kennelworthy: Does Sun Tzu's Art of War have a chapter specifically for superheroes?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Kate asked me a while ago if Eric ever worked, because he is constantly taking vacations and doing other things. He also posted recently about getting new ping pong paddles or something at work which he predicted would result in no work being done that day. So for your enlightenment: The sham of software engineering.

I was looking at a strategy gaming blog, and found an entertaining review of that old computer game: Black & White. I've never played the game myself. I remember Justin Cohen once tried to talk to me about the game because he played it for a bit freshman year, but by then I had already learned to not talk to him.
You can learn a lot about yourself from videogames. A while ago I was playing some Master of Orion 2 and discover that, if pushed far enough, I will order a genocide. An alien species that I was allied with was spying on me and repeatedly stealing my technology. This infuriated me to no end, and when I confronted their ambassador he would arrogantly lie to my face. Finally I took great pleasure in synchronizing the arrival of a few of my battleships to each of the species' planets, erradicating them from the galaxy before the two-faced ambassador could protest or beg or even transmit a declaration of war. Sort of an Order 66 of my own design. It was delicious.

(from a review of Ender's Game)
Geek wish-fulfillment is not the only fetish on display in Ender's Game: the other is self-pity, the lonely self-pity of the truly gifted and persecuted. Ender, you see, doesn't want to keep beating and humiliating and killing people. He is always forced into these actions, against his will, by the school governors who keep pushing him to succeed, and by his victims themselves, who just won't accept that he is the best. "Why wouldn't he leave me alone?" he wonders as he kills another bully.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

If I didn't just make this coffee yesterday I would think it had gone bad. It's so much weaker than my usual coffee. Almost like I melted a few ice cubes in my glass. Lesson learned: Dunkin Donuts makes good coffee in their shops, but the secret is clearly not in the Dunkin Donuts brand coffee grounds you can buy at Safeway. Or maybe my coffee maker is on the fritz and is now diluting the coffee for some reason. I'll have to test it with another brand.

If only I was 3 years younger I could get the H1N1 vaccine from work.

(from a review of the game The Void)
A review is designed to provide the reader with a description of the game, and then act as a buyer's guide. This will fail on both counts, since The Void is so far outside of the realms of helpful description that I might as well phone you up and make animal noises at you.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Long story, but Virgina was wrong (and I was also sorta wrong) about my taxes. The problem is I sent in a 2007 form last April, instead of a 2008 form, so they applied it as a modification of my 2007 return instead of as my 2008 return. It was sent in an envelope with a 2008 W-2 form and my 2008 dc tax return, and it uses numbers taken from those forms, but somehow the system didn't notice that. I suppose I should pay more attention to what year the form is for, but when you're just grabbing them off the website sometimes it gets lost in the details. I thought I was going to get a run-around from the VA tax phone line but really they were quite helpful. Net result: I don't owe VA anything for 2007, and they still owe me about $1900 for 2008 (minus late fees maybe). This is my reminder to call them back in 3 weeks to make sure everything is okay (also make sure they have "NW" in the new address).

Maybe I should find an accountant next year for my taxes. It'll be the first time I'd have to factor in capital gains (or losses) from stocks and I have a feeling that's going to be pretty complicated.

I was watching Cops that other day. It's not a show I watch at all regularly, I think I was reading or something else at the time and it happened to come on. Anyway, the cops had set up a fake drug dealer to bust people who were walking up to the house and buying drugs. The guy would be walking back to his car and two cops would run out from behind the bushes, tackle him to the group, and arrest him. At one point a cop said "Are you feeling smart now? You just bought fake marijuana!" Their stakeout is for busting marijuana buyers?!? Aren't they still considering legalizing that in California? I'm fairly indifferent about whether they make it legal or not, but it seems like the cops should pick a harder drug to stake out. It's like setting up a sting operation in Utah for people who are selling beer with too high an alcohol content.

Just watched three videos of Lady Gaga on youtube because I had no idea who she was. It's not to my taste.

(Jason Zweig about stock traders who lose more money than simply holding their initial investment would have returned)
"But the real reason, the real force that drives that disappointing return, I think, is psychological. The very moment when something is the most painful to own, it's most likely to be a future bargain. So if you sell something that hurts to own, you're very likely to end up getting rid of something you should have held onto."

Monday, November 2, 2009

(wrote this last night but forgot to publish it)
Tonight Kate's friend Rachel invited us out to the noodles & co. in Silver Spring. She scored a free samplers dinner because her last visit had all kinds of problems and she complained to the corporate headquarters. We got regular sizes of every dish on the menu. There were 6 of us, but still it was too much food. There were probably more than a dozen different dishes. I think I liked 3 or 4 of them, two I didn't try, and the rest were alright. No longer do I have to play the ugly american and resort to mac and cheese when we go there!

Yesterday was halloween. I dressed as Mystery from the pickup artist. I had a crazy feathery hat, a black shirt, black boa, black fingernails, pirate jewelry, and quiditch goggles. I'm sure there are pictures somewhere. I think I looked like a pretty accurate Mystery. Kate was a witch and there was a fun pre-party at kate's place with some delicious snacks, and then we went to a party out in crystal city. The party was a good hike from the metro, the weather was pretty miserable, and everyone at the party was smoking. But it was fun for a while. I didn't get any trick or treaters this year- I'm eating this bag of reeses by myself.

In other news VA wants more money from me! I never got my 2007 tax return from them, which was supposed to be substantial because I only lived there for 3 months of 2007 but my work deducted taxes for all 12 months. I had thought they were going to pay me back $2500, and instead I've gotten a bill saying I owe $500 more! That's $450 from April plus $50 interest. (April last year? Man, VA is slow. It's like they bought some computer software so decided to fire 90% of their paper application handlers.) I've got all my papers here though and I'm going to call the tax office tomorrow to figure this out. Gar!

(about the Dragon Age character creation program, released before the game as a preview. It has very high pc system requirements)
Cojones: I thought it would be an application allow you to mess a bit with stats, not a character dressing program that you won't be able to use on a PC capable of running any computer game. Quad/Triple Core? 4 GB RAM? WTF!?
Slenkar: a character generation program usually displays one mesh for the character or maybe a few meshes for clothes. These sys requirements are crazy.
Slenkar: is anyone here capable of running it?
Emotional Vampire: I fail the CPU req
Emotional Vampire: Christ, what the f*** you need QUAD CORE for? I am just displaying 3D model, not finding a cure for f***ing cancer

Thursday, October 29, 2009

I went to Whitney's wedding in Alabama last weekend. I'd never been to Alabama but it seems like a nice state. The weather was a little cool (and the morning we left was moderately foggy), but pretty nice for October and the people all seemed very friendly. Wedding weekends are always pretty busy so we didn't have much time to look around. Hmmm, specifics... There wasn't any dancing, because I think Whitney isn't big on dancing, but it was more of a standard house-party reception. It would have been great because I love parties, except I was holding back on the drinking because I had to drive, and there were all these adults everywhere and other people whose names I was having trouble remembering. Actually, I guess I'm an adult now. Or close to an adult anyway. Anyway, it was lots of fun. I wish I saw Whitney and Courtney and my sister and those people more often, but we all live in very different places. There are lots of people I wish I saw more often.. but I think I alternate between being too busy, and then awkward, and then annoying. Oh well.

Tonight is way too cold to be playing kickball, but we're going to suffer through it anyway. Probably a loss because our team kinda sucks. Not that I'm any better, I'm probably dragging our team down. I play the outfield and if a fly ball gets kicked to me I probably won't catch it. I have a hard time telling whether the ball is going to be behind me or infront of me when it's way up in the air. I'd probably be better infield, but we already have a bunch of infielders. If we just skipped right to the drinking it would be fine with me.

Oh, I worked out again Monday, and I'm going to tomorrow also. Eventually I'm hoping to get on a monday, wednesday, friday schedule, but yesterday I was busy with some time-sensitive work. So far I'm not really any stronger, surprise surprise.

Yesterday I watched the Watchmen on blu-ray. I think the combination of my mediocre eyes and my moderately sized tv don't do the blu-ray justice. I can't see the difference between the high and standard definition video unless I'm wearing my glasses (which I avoid doing as much as possible because I look nerdy). Kate said it wouldn't bother her if I got a bigger tv, but the problem is that my current tv is so portable and convenient for whenever I move, which seems pretty often. Maybe one of these thinner LED lit tvs is what I need. I should stop in at best buy sometime and see if 55" is really a noticable change over 43". BTW, I still think Rorschach wouldn't have really been that uncompromising in the end of the movie. (Actually I had here a paragraph devoted to explaining why Rorschach shouldn't have been in a dilema at the end of the movie, but it was too long and you wouldn't want to read it. Also it depends on the character being consistent on his chosen set of moral rules, and Rorschach clearly had other issues. I think my big issue is that in an interview Alan Moore said that he didn't know what was going to happen to Rorschach until he had written the bulk of the story, and then he found that the ending was a necessary result from the character he had created. BS.)

(from article about Alan Grayson)
Saying that he has trouble listening to the former vice-president speak "because of the blood that drips from his teeth," Grayson went on to accuse Cheney of projecting hatred toward the president because he "doesn't shoot old men in the face."

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Linux's new slogan should be "Linux: You get what you pay for."

To recap: Kate won her race. Well, not coming in first place, but she proved it to herself that she could run it, so she's a winner in that respect. My coworker Amelia ran in the same race but I somehow didn't see her. (I would question her whole story, but she has some photos to prove it.)

Somehow, since getting comcast to install tv at my new apartment, I've been getting hbo, showtime and startz. So I've watched a little bit of Entourage, which I haven't seen since its first season. The show is pretty much the same as it used to be but now with less nudity. I guess they paid their dues (much like the first few episodes of Rome). Vince is boring, E is boring and annoying, Turtle is funnier and he's less of just a follower and more of his own person these days, and I think Johnny Drama is my favorite character. So much insecurity and machismo is one man. I watched the first episode of Bored to Death, which I guess Rachel likes, but I didn't really get a feel either way. Lots of characters acting strangely. There are a bunch of episodes on on-demand so I'll check out another one sometime.

Today it's finally warming up enough for an enjoyable kickball game. We didn't end up playing the real world team two weeks ago, that was someone passing along inaccurate information to the rest of us. We played some random team. Then last week was rained out, and I'm not sure who today's team is. No post-game drinking tonight though- actually, scratch that. I might tag along for a single beer to facilitate Sarah's date life if she and this other guy on the kickball team are too timid to just head out on their own. After that though, it's back to the apartment to do some writing because Kate and I are leaving tomorrow afternoon for Alabama. Woohoo! Whitney's getting married, and we're gonna eat some southern food!

(Mark doesn't drink milk, and also doesn't like most breakfast foods)
Kate: Mark, what do you eat for breakfast normally?
Mark: Sometimes I eat cereal.
me: Do you put anything on the cereal? Like some people put orange juice or water on their cereal.
Kate: Oh, gross! Who puts water on their cereal!
Mark: You know, Kate, a lot of people put water on their cereal... They call it skim milk.

(added slightly later)
I meant to write about this too but I forgot. Yesterday I used the building's gym for the first time. I was the middle of the afternoon and I was the only person in there, which I appreciated. It's a pretty small gym. I used to be able to do lots and lots of pullups, but now can only do two. I also used to be able to bench press my own weight, but the last time I did that was 7 years ago, and yesterday I had to drop it down to 90 pounds before I could do a few reps without feeling like I was hurting myself. Then I ran on the eliptical for about 10 minutes and felt like I was going to die. I am out of shape.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

(originally written 10/15/09 but unpublished)
I was thinking I should move money out of my checking account and into savings, but then I just looked at my credit card bill and that no longer seems as pressing. Moving service, stuff from ikea, a new computer monitor, rent, and a plane ticket to vietnam. My credit card is getting a workout. Which is more than I'm getting, because there's a combination lock on our building's gym door that I don't know the combination to (and I keep forgetting to ask at the front desk).

Yesterday I played a little MoO2. I suspect I would make a bad leader if the human race were out colonizing the galaxy. About midway through the game, my civilization was ahead of everyone in technological research, but this one species of alien kept stealing my technology with their spies. I would demand from their ambassador that they spying stop, and he would just laugh in my face. It was quite upsetting. Finally, I decided enough was enough. I built a couple warships, sent them to the nearest colony owned by the spying species, and bombed it to obilivion. I felt like it would be a good lesson to parties all involved. Then that same ambassador starts screaming "WTF are you doing!" and his government declares war on me. They can't stand up to my warships though. After destroying their fleet that was baracading one of my star systems, I divied up my fleet into two warships per enemy planet, and sent them off to bomb the species back to the stone-age.

There are several lessons here: Firstly, if you annoy me enough, I will commit a genocide. Actually, if it were real life, beheading the ambassador would probably be enough to ease my frustration about parasitic spying aliens, but that wasn't an option in the game. Secondly, intellectual property theft can be really upsetting for the victim. Maybe that was due to the knowledge that eventually they'd be using this stolen technology to attack me, but it was also partially due to the disrespect shown to my massive fleet of researchers in their being effectively replaced by a lone spy.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Today I installed linux. Apparently linux is not for you if you value your time at all. I had very modest hopes for this operating system. I wanted something that would have all the drivers I'd need, had a functional web browser, a basic mp3 player, basic xls use, and to run dominions 3 and dungeon crawl. I can't remember why now, but for some reason I decided on Kubuntu. It had all my drivers, though I think I had to update the nvidia one, but that was quite easy. It came with a mp3 player that was one of those types for organizing your music library. I prefer the basic, "just play the file" type of player, because my music is already organized by album and I prefer to conserve my computer's memory, but after spending about an hour trying to hunt down various libraries to install xmss (which is supposedly similar to winamp) I gave up and just went with the stock media player. Kind of a bummer, but whatever. Kubuntu comes with a "Konquerer" web browser which works well for the most part, except when it would randomly lock up and leave you unable to kill it or anything. I'm not sure what the ctr-alt-del equivalent is in linux, so I had to reboot each time. Then someone on the phone asked me to look at something on facebook, and then the whole thing freaked out and crashed like 4 times in a row. Konquerer does not like facebook for some reason. I downloaded and installed firefox instead, which was a pain but it browses facebook without any problems. (Oh, open office worked just fine for spreadsheet editing, there were no problems there.) Next I tried to install dominions 3. Huge problems. The program extracted and installed fine, but then the update patch requires you to overwrite a few dozen files with the contents of the patch, and old Kubuntu was not liking my overwriting. For every single file it'd ask me if I really wanted to overwrite, and when I said "yes, overwrite all" it would ask me again for the next file. Finally got everything patched up, loaded the program, and found that something about the graphics were buggy. The game played fine at 800x600, but blowing it up bigger caused everything to start glitching up. After it froze twice on me I went online to look for a fix, and then firefox made my whole system freeze up and I had to reboot. I feel like I wasted 4 hours of my life.

Moved into my new place and I like it. It stays very nice and warm unless I turn on the AC or open windows. And it's super quiet, very sunny, and pretty spacious. In fact, I have a whole corner of my living room that I'm not sure what I'm going to do with.

Today Kate is running her half marathon. I'm going up to Baltimore waay early in the morning. Hopefully it won't be raining or too cold (for the runners' sake I mean).

(from a Dungeons & Dragons movie review)
"This film has only three real actors, and one of them just killed another!"

Friday, September 18, 2009

I'm cancelling my gamefly account today. I was planning on cancelling it anyway, because my gift certificate is running out and I'm busy, but now I'm cancelling it early because gamefly seems to have decided to stop sending me games. My account has sat since Monday at "You have no games out. Add titles to your GameQ now!" Meanwhile my queue has 8 games on it, two of which are listed as "High availability" and three of which are "medium availability". Either they have grossly miscalculated all availability indicators, or they're somehow holding out until next month when they get to charge me $16. Or maybe they have the games tiered somehow so that they'll more readily send you less popular games. (I have noticed that they'll jump to the last game on my queue if it's an unpopular one.) But I'm not adding throw-away games to my queue because I don't want to play throw-away games. I don't have that much time. Thumbs down.

For my future reference: my list of games to try is Punch-out, Fight night round 4, infameous, prototype, batman arkham asylum, and tekken 6. (Also on my queue were Madden 10 and Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2, but I'm not really very interested in either of those.) Tekken six comes out in the end of October, hopefully it will be awesome. Please no more extended juggle sequences.

Today I work. Next week I move! Whoa! I'm thinking of putting my current ikea dresser out on the curb when I move and finding something better at for me new place. This dresser has never worked well. The drawers don't come all the way out, and then they don't go all the way back in again. I think it was pretty cheap when I bought it, and I've been using it for years. If only good dressers didn't weigh like 200 pounds. Someone should work on that. I'm willing to pay more for a dresser if it's light. Maybe some kind of rebar skeleton with a thin fake-wood shell?

(from a Dungeon Crawl forum, about this character's death)
AlStar: However, that's not the main reason I'd annoyed at losing this guy: First off, he got thrown into the abyss by a Zot trap, and, through a combination of Yred's damage mirror and lots of greater heal potions, killed an executioner and made it out. You just don't see that often from a level 12.

But mostly, the thing that pisses me off is that I found GOLD DRAGON ARMOR, just sitting on the ground on level 9 of the dungeon. There's absolutely no chance the random number gods are blessing me like that for another thousand games.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Hello everyone. Often I find myself writing here for a few minutes, really working myself into a fury, and then realizing that I've got better things to do but nothing has been concluded, so I delete the whole thing. The time it takes to write a post is not at all proportional to its length. I don't know how Leslie does it. The only way I will survive this post is by keeping the paragraphs about completely separate topics.

Oh, I skipped our last kickball game because I wasn't feeling well. I was all achy, though I'm feeling better now and a real sickness never seemed to develop. There are two equally unlikely possibilities: that drinking a lot of tea and taking vitamin C when you're starting to feel ill will cure you before you actually develop a sickness (though I tend to believe that the reverse is more likely- that taking medication will facilitate a sickness), or that I developed a psychosomatic illness after going into the office and worrying about touching the same doorhandles as a bunch of unhygienic engineers. Anyway, supposedly I'm better off having missed the game because the other team were super competitive trash talkers. Hmmm, I would transition here, but I can't think of a good concluding sentence.

Also, I got a new apartment. This basement is too cold for spending another winter. My next apartment is part of a large building out in Mt Pleasant. It will be my first large apartment building since the dorms. I'm slightly worried that my couch and bed mattress won't fit in the elevator and we're going to end up dragging them up the stairwell to the 4th floor. And by us, I mean the movers I'm going to get, but I feel for them too. I move at the end of the month.

I'm watching Fired Up, which is much funnier than you'd think. It's sort of like She's the Man, where they set up a semi-ridiculous premise, and then throw in mostly plausible characters. The dialogue is well timed as well. "That's a joke! But it really happened!"

(review of the trek episode "Best of Both Worlds")
Even Troi, who the writers always seemed to have trouble using, mixes it up. Wesley is also there and they managed to give him lines that don't provoke immediate visceral hatred. Will wonders never cease?

Friday, September 4, 2009

We had our first kickball game yesterday and totally kicked ass! Kate plays a mean third base, and we have three ex-army guys who are good at kicking the ball far. The other team also didn't seem to understand about tagging up on a fly ball, so we had more than a few double plays because of that. We're in the same division as the real world. They were at the same bar afterwards, but I didn't talk to any of them. If something dramatic happens when we play them in kickball, it might end up on tv! I'll aim for the pitcher's face when i'm kicking. (I won't really, and if anything does happen and someone gets hurt, know that this was an empty boast. I don't scheme very often.)

After yesterday's NSFW xkcd, which wasn't funny, I'm switching the link to xkcdsucks, which I have found to be more funny on average than the recent xkcd comics. And I'm removing the link to the dominions forum, because that game is like crack for me and I spend way too much time reading about its strategies.

(from xkcdsucks about this older XKCD comic)
Oh and come on: Icarus's problem was that he used wax, which melts at a fairly low temperature. Hot glue is hardly the same - sure, it can melt, but if you've ever used a hot glue gun and accidentally touched the hot part you know just how f***ing hot it has to be, and how at that heat Our Hero has bigger problems than falling a few feet, like having his skin burn off. God knows how Mr. Hat is surviving operating what is essentially a small star.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Today was Kate's birthday (Happy Birthday Kate!) so we saw an early showing of Paper Heart and then went out to thai food.

Before the movie the theater was empty except for about a dozen people in line for a free screening of Worlds Greatest Dad. It was a very unusual crowd. Like all the literature and movie nerds took the afternoon off to go see a movie, while bringing a book so they wouldn't have to talk to each other in line. I talked to one guy for a few minutes while kate was in the bathroom. He was like a movie encyclopedia! The old guy next to him looked up from his manuscript long enough to say "What movie is he seeing?!?" before he decided I wasn't worth his time.

The movie was entertaining. It had funny parts but it wasn't really a comedy, and I sorta felt like the romance was very one-sided. It was kinda like 500 Days of Summer that way. It was about one person, and that person's experience in a romantic relationship. The girl kinda reminded me of Jamie, not just because they're both asian, her mannerisms were also similar. Like, for example, the way she squints her eyes. Ha, just kidding. (Editors note: that joke is not funny upon re-reading.) Michael Cera played himself. Or the character we always see him play at least. Kate finds him endearing and I'm pretty indifferent. As the movie nerd informed me beforehand, it was a good movie, but definitely a chick flick.

We went to a thai place out on 6th street in Chinatown and it was just okay. My fried rice was a little bland. (I'm a fried rice expert.) Kate got something more intricate (she's a thai foodie) and reported the same thing. Lately I've had a problem figuring out whether, when I order my fried rice with pork, if they've really given me pork or chicken. It always tastes very similar to chicken at least. I should go back to that place I used to order fried rice from on U street. They do a good pork fried rice. Also I tried a thai iced coffee for a change. It was similar to a thai iced tea, but with a weak, super sweet, coffee flavoring. I guess that's what I should have expected, but I'd never had one before. Stick with the teas.

shihonage: Things grew complex enough so that I have to think seventy times, cut once. Run code in my head before I write it, complex code. I can't cut more than once, because I have severe dry eye syndrome which makes every minute of looking at text into a rationed resource.

ps. Adding a link to Sean's blog. The kid was my best friend in third and fourth grade before he moved to Montana. And I'm reordering the blogs by update frequency.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

It's a good thing chevy chase bank is so convenient. I was just looking over my account history and they charge me $2 each time I use a different bank's ATM. This is in addition to the $1.50 or $2 that the other bank charges you to use their ATM. Freshman year I accused the NIHFCU of stealing for doing something similar.

I just got the toxic avenger musical soundtrack in the mail. The evil dead soundtrack is pretty great, so I have high hopes.

(from a star trek: voyager episode review)
Rocket scientists of the week: Kim and Torres, with their brilliant deduction that if you connect the stars on a starmap, you get a flight path. It's hard to think of a Voyager scene that's makes a character look any dumber, and that's saying something.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Last weekend I saw Inglorious Bastards with Matt and Lisa, and then saw 500 Days of Summer with Rachel, Peter and Kate. It was a movie weekend.

Inglorious Bastards was very entertaining. It alternates between tense scenes, funny scenes, and then extreme violence. The premise was a little absurd. It was also a bit disturbing to see people in the audience clapping while watching a man get beaten to death with a baseball bat. I guess anything goes when it's a Nazi. Brad Pitt was pretty good, the actor who played the villain was quite good, and I was surprised to see little Sam from freaks and geeks playing a soldier. You didn't see much of him during the film though.

500 Day of Summer was good in a tragic and uncomfortable sort of way. Kate told me that the first scene is meant to throw you off and think that maybe their relationship worked out in the end, but about a third of the way through the movie I knew there was no way it could end well. Relationships don't work when one person is obsessively passionate and the other person can't make on their mind. I think I was at a disadvantage during the movie because I don't look for rings on peoples fingers (which was a key story element in this movie) and I have a hard time keeping track of a timeline when the it's just a jumbled bunch of numbered days. And at the end I interpreted the next girl being named Autumn to mean that the poor kid was doomed to go through a cycle of obsession and was about to get his heart broken again. (It's tough being a passionate man.) Kate thought it meant that he was moving forward with his life and that things would be different. I guess we'll never know.

(betting whether the 2008 Casino Royale was a remake of an earlier Bond movie)
Puja: If I lose, don't tell Sunjeev.
me: Why not?
Puja: He won't like that I bet so much money.
(brief discussion about whether $20 is really so much money)
me: But if you win we can tell him?
Puja: Yeah, then it's okay.
me: Won't he know that you'd been betting anyway?
Puja: Yeah but then it will be like I was really certain and I just bamboozled you.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

I just got back from Rachel and Adam's wedding out in San Diego. It was lots of fun. The sun was a little hot but in general the weather was quite nice, and the wedding appetizers were a little strange (there was some crazy octopus gazpacho and I accidentally ate some kind of duck liver sandwich) but I wasn't bothered by it.

There's something wonderful about being at a wedding when you're unrelated to the couple. It's probably one of the happiest days in their lives, and they didn't have to invite you along but they chose to anyway. I don't know Rachel and Adam all that well so I felt really privileged and I loved everything about the event. Also, everyone ended up being so cheerful, even Adam's step-mother who supposedly got a little angry or Rachel's dad who tells strange nomad-stories just seemed like quirky pieces of a beautiful larger picture. I really had a fantastic time.

Oh, and I saw strippers.

(blog about quest grinding in World of Warcraft)
When WoW implemented daily quests, I realized the industry was really going in the wrong direction. Daily quests are hardly different than a list of chores for some kids living on a farm. You login, you load up on your "dailies", and you grind them out for money and reputation. People do these exact same quests hundreds of days in a row. To make things worse, the culture of the game has devolved such that people averse to grinding out their dailies are called lazy.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Yes, it has been a long time since I updated this thing. I am a busy man these days. Busy and important, as I like to tell myself. This has been my first non-busy few days in a while so tonight I'm hunkering down with an el riconcito burrito (something about their ground beef is delicious) and some star trek. Should be a promising night. Gonna be a busy week as I try to finish my bi-week a day early because I'm flying off to a wedding on Friday.

Ah, this is a good episode. Any time Picard argues with another starfleet officer about whose mission holds precedence, you know is going to be a good episode. And he just pronounced "charade" so that it rhymes with "promenade". I did that once at a dinner with Kate's dad and Kate's sister made fun of me. Apparently you can't take pronounciation tips from Jean Luc.

(about a science fiction roguelike whose premise is that the earth's core has destabilized and exploded, and you have to recover the core from where it landed on another planet)
DraQ: I could readily ass-pull more plausible SF stories when I was four.
DraQ: Why try to make SF if you intend to s*** all over science? They could have invented fantasy setting as dissociated from reality, as they deemed necessary, after all. Compared to this crap Plan 9 From Outer Space looks like diamond-hard SF.
DraQ: Will not buy/download/warez.
Jasede: DraQ sticks it to the man again, vowing not to download the free roguelike from Pirate Bay.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Update, update, update. Let's see, it has been 13 days since my last update. It doesn't seem like all that long, but so much has happened. Since then I have achieved a year of age. We went to the six flags water park, which was lots of fun. It'll be sad when I'm so old that people think it odd for me to be water sliding. The six flags park is decent, but I wish there was a really good one nearby. Maybe someday I'll move to a city with a water park. There were some issues with the weather forecast causing me to change the day, which made it so a bunch of people couldn't make it, and then the weather was nice on the original day after all. It was a huge mess. If only the dc storms weren't so severe.

Umm, last weekend was Joe, Whitney's fiance's going away party. Because of threatening rain, we went to redrock pizza instead of having an outdoor bbq. I think I've grown disillusioned with redrock, they make a decent calzone, but the pizza isn't really to my taste. It was fairly fun though. Afterwards we had some drinks out infront of Joe's front stoop, which was much more fun.

Kate took me out to Good Stuff for my birthday. My burger was very good, and we saw the guy who was on tv. Though we didn't pull him aside and talk to him like Rachel did on her visit. Then we walked around the capitol on one of the nicest dc nights of the summer (weather-wise). Some symphony was even playing. It was all very romantic, just like I had planned.

Also last weekend, Kate and I went with Rachel and Peter out to Great Falls. I had never heard of it before, but apparently there are some pretty big waterfalls just outside of dc. It was a nice warm day, and we bought sandwich makings and picnicked out in the park before hiking around the falls. Then we briefly went swimming in courthouse, and then went out to see the new harry potter movie. Yes, it was a very busy day. I felt kinda bad for Peter. He didn't seem to feel like swimming (the pool water was very cold, I wouldn't have either), and then re-watching a movie he'd already seen probably wasn't his ideal evening. Anyway. The new harry potter movie is super good. So much better than the previous two movies. Rachel called it a "cute" movie, and I'd agree. But that's what makes the harry potter movies good! They spent more time in classes, Malfoy is back to his sneaking, and there's more young love. On the other hand I didn't like how they glossed over the "half-blood prince" aspect, and most of all, there was no Weasley face mauling at the end! The end battle was instead more of a assassination followed by the baddies sneaking out. Oh well.

Tomorrow I fly to san francisco. I'm going to see Eric, see san francisco, then go home and see a high school friend, and then see lots of family. I'm not bringing any work with me, and I'm looking forward to this whole thing.

I've been watching the next generation from the beginning of the series. So far I've made it to the third episode. The first episode has Miles O'Brien as the transporter engineer, but everyone calls him "Connor". Also in the first episode, which I had seen but it never occurred to me before, Q shows up and pretty much lectures "I've seen the original series, and I don't want this to be more of the same!" Then the next few episodes try to highlight Picard's preference for prudence and thoughtfulness over rash action. Some other things I've noticed: there is no galaxy where Tasha Yar would be considered attractive, and the first few episodes put too much emphasis on Weasly being so brilliant and earnest. Also they talk about the ferengi as though they're a super dangerous race, when really the Ferengi are a bunch of traders who only want money.

(Walking down the street with Giorgia and Kate late at night)
street man: Whatever you did to be accompanied by two such oscar-worthy ladies.. you keep that secret to yourself!
me: Umm. Okay.
Kate: You hear that Giorgia? Oscar-worthy.
Giorgia: Oh, I heard it. I don't know what that means, but I'll take it.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

I scored a 13 on this Asperger Test. I think I once wondered because I am not a very emotional guy, but apparently there's no AS here. Finally my inattention to detail is paying off! I can't imagine having a telephone conversation and wondering when it was "my turn" to speak. Sounds so awkward. I used to be so non-talkative that my mom had to explain to me that a conversation is like a game of catch: you have to throw the ball back. But I can't help but feel that if you're having a real conversation it is more than just a series of "turns to speak". Information is exchanged. For example, when I'm on the phone: if I have something to say then I'll say it, if I wonder what you have to say then I listen, and when I don't feel like doing either, I hang up. Just ask Kate what a smooth talker I am on the phone. So, so smooth.

(commentary about a editorial where a games reviewer complained about how 40 hour games are too long for adults with other commitments, as opposed to the teenagers with time to kill)
mondblut: Waah waah kids and wife don't give me enough time to play so games should bend to *my* restrictions. If he'll breed a couple more times and won't even have one hour to play, would he demand that games shouldn't be produced at all, since he can't play them anyway?

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Up early because I got a text message at 5am this morning saying "Your data charges are very high. To minimize a costly bill & service interruption, please call AT&T 800-331-0500 or 611 from your wireless. AT&T Free Msg"

Thanks for the free message, AT&T. So I called customer support when they opened at 7am this morning, and I think I got someone who was either being interviewed or instructing the other support personnel on how to handle a caller or something because she started the call with a chipper "Thank you for calling AT&T this is Kelly and I will try to do my very best this morning to help you with anything I can!" And she was surprisingly helpful, though I don't think she was expecting my kind of problems this early in the morning.

Turns out AT&T wants to charge me $800 for two youtube videos I streamed yesterday, when I thought it was going through my wireless LAN. (It was reviews of StreetFighter 4 and Marvel Ultimate Alliance, btw.) Or they want to strong arm me into signing up for a data plan.

She had a hard time following how the fact that I had remote desktop connected to my desktop through its local IP address earlier (and that the apparently worthless settings on windows mobile say that my data connection is disabled) made me think that this youtube application was streaming through my LAN. I told her I didn't want the data plan, so she backdated a cancel order on my data connection, and she thinks that will automatically cancel the charge. She said that if not, "they" are going to make me sign up for a dataplan which they can then definitely backdate. We'll see. I'm supposed to check back in a month.

Kate: I KNEW you were going to put that quote in your blog!

Monday, July 6, 2009

My supervisor is on vacation for the next week or two, so until then I have my old officemate as the person signing my work. I'm feeling pretty good about it because he's easy going and he and I get along well. Today I sent an interview summary to him, and clicked back probably 10 seconds later to find that he had already approved and submitted it. Interview summaries aren't a big deal at all, but I still found it kinda funny how quickly it was approved. I should get him one of those t-shirts: "The buck doesn't even slow down here."

I had a fun 4th of July weekend. I think it was the mildest 4th of July weather that I can remember since being in dc.

This week I'm gonna be a little busy catching up with work. But next weekend: Six Flags Water Park! Woohoo!

kate: so what you are saying is
kate: usually you are a jerk
kate: and today you decided not to be
kate: and surprise suprise
kate: they reacted well in return?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

First of all, if you borrowed an Office Space dvd from me, please return it.

I just finished my end of the quarter, and it was a rough one. New vows about not procrastinating have been taken and are being taken more seriously.

My phone has been sketchy lately. It's been turning off in my pocket, and twice I've been clicking through the menu and it has shut down in my hands. So I'm getting a new one. Not the iphone because I don't like it. And not the Palm Pre because they're not planning on releasing the SDK any time soon. Instead I ordered a slightly older HTC Fuze. (I always thought it was pronouced "fuzz" but I just watched a video and they pronounced it "fuse".) It's gotten some mediocre reviews because of the AT&T bloatware, but I plan on removing all of that and installing a custom ROM as soon as I get it. It runs on windows mobile so there's a pretty wide selection of Apps available.

I can also get the phone without having to get a data connection, so that will save me $30 a month. I figure I'm online all day anyway, there's no reason to double my phone bill just to get the internet in my pocket. Pretty much everything I can put on there from my computer or write myself a note to do later at the computer, and there are GPS apps that don't require data connection. Maybe I'll have it push emails when I'm at a wifi but I doubt it.

Yesterday two trains collided on the dc metro up past fort totten. The national transport safety board is now "revealing" that one of the trains was old and should have been replaced. News flash: All the trains on the red line are old and should be replaced. For some reason the red line is where all the old decrepit trains go. Riding in it you can tell it's dingy and old, and you feel like you're in a third world country. I bet 75% of the train malfunctions happen on the red line.

That's all for now. Oh and I fixed my KVM switch. And by fix, I mean that I re-plugged and restarted everything and now it's working again. A little frontier medicine. It's a relief, it was quite the pain swapping USB cables manually.

Gene: My family tells stories from the great depression that you had to keep your dog close. If your dog left your yard and went wandering he'd likely end up shot and never return. People were literally hungry all over the world. This does not touch that. We are all still fat.

Friday, June 5, 2009

My KVM switch stopped working today. I'm not sure what the issue is. For now, I've disconnected my regular computer. It's nothing but work from now on, which might help keep me from wasting time by fidgiting with music, etc. (Note to self: it might have just been the work laptop's software just being finicky. You didn't try restarting the OS. Try plugging it all back together and rebooting next time.)

My landlords have built a new back deck. Kate was pretty amused to discover that it goes right above my kitchen window. Actually, it wouldn't be very noticable from inside except that they put a wooden fencing around the base of the deck to keep animals from living down there. And that goes right across the front of my window. No more morning sunlight. I guess I never really lingered in my kitchen to enjoy it anyway.

Today, on a whim, I used water from my britta to make coffee. There is no discernable difference in taste.

midnight edit: I'm eating some Ben & Jerrys cinnamon bun ice cream that Kate suggested I buy. Super sweet, but delicious.

(from a citibank stock forum. There's a lot of passion on these boards.)
arat: I just wanna sell this garbage called stock.

Monday, June 1, 2009

I was trying to make two turkey sandwiches for lunch today, but I discovered that I had only enough turkey for a single sandwich! I didn't want to go to the store, and besides I had already put mayo or mustard on all 4 slices of bread. Instead I split two hot dogs down the middle and fried them on the griddle to throw into my second sandwich. It's ingenuity like this that caused the industrial revolution.

Somehow I kicked my ottoman and bent my toenail in half. It doesn't hurt too much, it's just pretty uncomfortable. I guess there won't be any running today. I put a bandaid on the thing but I'm guessing chances are good that half of it will blacken and fall off. Gross. I've seen other people loose nails that way, but it's never happened to me before.

Some recent family drama. My mom's cousin John is planning a family reunion in July, and requested RSVPs from all the households as to who is coming. I told my mom I was going long ago, but apparently (as she told me on the phone last night,) she didn't RSVP for me. Because I don't qualify as a dependent for her taxes, she figured I was my own household and should rsvp for myself. WTF. Anyway, now I've emailed John, but it's after the RSVP date, and he sent out about a dozen RSVP reminders. (Though no listing of expected attendees or anything to indicate who has responded.) I'd be surprised if he replied with "too late" or "Damnit I asked for RSVPs a dozen times!" but if he does, f*** it, I'll stay here. You kinda feel obligated to go to a family reunion when there hasn't been on in 10 years, but it's probably not going to be fun. Sacramento in July is burning hot. And since when is one person a household? I still don't think I am at fault here. The more I think about this, the more annoyed I get. Time to do some work.

(Walking back to the metro after the Rent show. Joe almost bumps into a girl standing on the sidewalk)
Joe M: Oh, excuse me.
Joe M: (loudly to us) I just almost ran into a prostitute!
(Joe waited about 2 seconds, the girl was maybe 5 feet behind us, and she probably wasn't a prostitute. It's almost like Joe was drunk, but we hadn't been drinking.)

Friday, May 29, 2009

I saw Rent with Kate, and my sister-in-law-in-law Whitney and her fiance Joe. It was a great show! I'm a pretty big fan of the movie soundtrack as opposed to the broadway soundtrack, but when watching it live the message machine songs and the other little jingles didn't bug me at all. And the two tracks I always skip: "Today for you, tomorrow for me" and "Over the Moon" were much more entertaining than they are on the soundtrack. Good performances all around, with the possible exception of Mimi and Joanne (Mimi was good about half the time (she's no Rosario Dawson), and I thought Joanne overacted most of the time.)

About 1/3 of the way through the show I figured out that I really had to urinate. And my seat was almost exactly in the middle of my row, so it would have meant climbing over 10-15 people. Definitely not ideal. I suffered through it instead. Probably the last 3 songs before the intermission were spent with me thinking "Hurry up and get to the intermission!" I enjoyed the second act much more. Kate was super cold through the show (they were pumping the ac enough so you could feel a constant breeze), but I spent the first act sweating in concentration, and didn't notice it too much during the second act. Joe, who hadn't seen or heard much about the show beforehand, thought it was going to be a tragic play where the characters are killed off by AIDS as it progresses. (Maybe he watched Team America, with their song "Everyone has AIDS") Then he had a little difficulty following the storylines when they were advanced by mid-song events, which is understandable. Before I saw the movie, and had only heard the soundtrack, I thought Angel was two characters, a woman and a man. What can I say, it was confusing when some lyrics referred to Angel as "her" and some as "him". BTW, Angel was super good in this production. Definitely a good show over all.

I've been investing in stocks lately. Well, maybe investing isn't the right word.. I've been slowly trading in stocks. There are lots of articles on MSN money and yahoo finance about building a portfolio, and each one is more full of crap than the last. Diversify your stocks, diversify your mutual funds, diversify your portfolio into markets/bonds/cash, and then don't forget to dollar cost average it in case you're in an upswing in the market. Wow, talk about hedging your bets. Is it just me, or is this like going to the race track and, instead of researching anything about any of the horses, putting a bet on all the horses to show? Or taking a blackjack cheat sheet to a casino so that you know the statistics for maximizing your odds at each combination of cards (ie. a cheat sheet so you win 49.5% of the time). It's a strategy for losing money more slowly. Micros is my stocks buddy, and I've been pretty successful just occasionally bouncing ideas off him. I have a lot of strong opinions about investing, and maybe I'll write more about it later. Actually, at one point I was thinking of starting a separate blog about it because I find myself reading and disagreeing with so much common market sentiment, but that would be too much work for now. I'm pretty busy with my real work these days.

Mitch Hedberg-
If you find yourself lost in the woods, f*** it, build a house. "Well, I was lost but now I live here. I have severely improved my predicament."

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial day today. It's gotten nice and warm in my basement this weekend. Currently a beautiful 79 degrees in here, which is almost borderline too warm for me. It's a little humid in here too. The humidity mostly only bothers me because it makes my cold beverage drip all over my desk.

My landlords are on their honeymoon this week, so it's nice and quiet (besides some contruction going on in the backyard). Should be good for getting work done, which is something that I need to do. I am behind, but not unmanagably so. I only need to do about 200% this month. Tonight I am going to make a detailed schedule and then stick to it like it's the bible. I'm not too worried.

Yesterday I wrote up a post about Street Fighter 2, but then didn't post it. I'm not sure were it is now. I've been playing Street Fighter 2 on my ps3 because it's on the hard drive and it only takes about 10 minutes to get a game in. The problem is, this version of street fighter (it's the HD remix) is so damn hard. I'm pretty decent at street fighter but this game kicks my ass. On easy mode, I can get all the way up to Saget, but then he kicks my ass for the next 5 minutes. Super frustrating too, because his flying knee goes way across the screen to knock you out of a jumping attack, and he'll back up and rain fireballs on you all day if you let him. I usually end up cussing out the television and wanting to break my controller. Supposedly SF4 is better. I should just uninstall that game (I think it was only a $10 download). That's probably the cause of my high blood pressure. (Though I went to a doctor last week, and he said my bp was fine. It was probably because I had been shaking Kate out of frustration and was all riled up before taking the blood pressure test at Giant)

(Mick56 quotes a corporate report that implies that the number of outstanding stock shares is higher than estimated)
padddyh13: Hey Mickey Mouse...don't you know bashers never provide links? Is there a basher parade now at Disney World?
sidslids: Go to the g-damn corp website and look at the form. I bet you pour hot water on your cheetos so you don't have to chew. And here i am using my jaws like a sucker.

Monday, May 18, 2009

(originally written 5/8/08 but unpublished)

I'm watching 300. Don't ask me why. This was such a great comic book, and they made it into such a ridiculous movie. I hate the poetic narration and the narrators annoying way of speaking. There's over acting all around. I don't think the king in the comic yelled this much at all. In fact the line "this is sparta" (which the king bellows) doesn't even have an exclaimation point.

Also the king tells the hunchback that he can't fight with them because he wouldn't be able to raise his shield to protect the man next to him in the phalanx. Then in the battle it's the loosest phalanx you'd ever see where each man just shields himself and has a nice little gap between himself and the next guy. That's when they use the phalax at all. Most of the battles are just every man for himself. The battle scenes were better when set to NIN like in the film's preview. Courtney probably wasn't thrilled when she and I went to see this in the theater in texas.

(talking about the new wii punch out game)
me: the new punch out game looks like it might be good.
dan: punch out will suck
me: punch out will be awesome. I was born to be a boxer.
dan: if the new punch out is (from what i hear) exactly a remake of the first one just with wii controls as an option, then who cares, play the old one. by the by you my friend were not made to be a boxer.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Kate's gone to california this weekend, and I haven't shaved since wednesday. I don't have a real beard or anything, I just look like one of those scruffy guys you see hanging around the laundromat. I did shower for some reason this morning though. I feel guilty if I go a day without doing that, almost like I'm devolving as a person.

Wednesday I saw the Thermals with Rachel. It was fun. We tried to skip the opening bands and then didn't wait around for the encore. It was an efficient concert, which I appreciate. Waiting around for an encore is sooo often not worth the effort. You have to wait 10 minutes until the band's ego is sufficienty stroked, and then they play 3 more songs while you're thinking about how badly your feet hurt from standing so long and you wish you could be sitting down listening to it on your stereo instead. The new thermals album is too repetitive for me. They have that song "we were sick" where they say that line at the end of every verse and chorus. Boring. And their song "Now we can See" has a chorus that's just "oh way-oh oh" repeated over and over. Bleh. On the other hand, their drummer at the concert was immensely entertaining. He had a huge grin on his face the whole time, sorta like my cousin Brian does when he drums. And when a part of a song didn't have any drums he would stand up and pump his fists like AWK. I bet I'd be a good drummer. I've got rhythm in my soul, I just need some practice. The first step, of course, would be buying Rock Band. I played some at Kate's sister's apartment and it was pretty fun. I'm just not sure I want all the rock band gear sitting around my apartment.

"If you prefer your games fast and flashy, you'll hate Dominions 3. But if you're the kind of strategy gamer who revels in hunkering down with a highly complex and deep game with a phone-book sized manual and a steep learning curve that really makes you pause, ponder, and think, this is definitely the game for you."

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

I've seen the new star trek movie twice now. It's an enjoyable movie. I like how they're rebooted the series and managed to incorporate time travel without worrying about paradoxes. But I don't think it's as good as First Contact. I'm not sure I'll ever like Kirk as much as Picard. Hearing my captain say "I don't believe in no-win situations" would be a little disheartening if I was a crew member. Being braver and thinking further outside the box isn't going to create a victory out of every situation. See pretty much the entire Next Generation series for examples.

Also the science in this movie was worse than the usual trek stuff. They didn't make up much technobabble, but Spock creates a black hole to stop a supernova, gets sucked into a black hole but then just reappears in space, and for some reason Nero needs to drill down and create a black hole in a planet's core to destroy a planet. Seems like a black hole on the surface should be good enough. At least they didn't try to explain the red liquid.

(from an article about how the Army has videogame combat-simulation setups in malls to entice potential recruits)
Naturally, critics are out in full force, including a former Army staff sargeant, Jesse Hamltion, who accuses the Army of misleading kids with deceptive, unrealistic scenarios. Hamilton notes that recruits are unlikely to see active combat and that "the only way to simulate the heat is holding a blow dryer to your face."

Friday, May 1, 2009

I finished watching Band of Brothers last night. It's a pretty good series. I think it could have been better if they had strayed a little further from the facts. That's the trouble with movies that are based on true stories: they're never as exciting as they could be. In this case there were too many characters (like a dozen), and even though each had unique moments, none of them were very distinctive beyond that moment. You've got one guy who ends up behind enemy lines, a guy has a brief psychological crisis, one guy has a doomed romance. The problem is, beyond their distinguishing episode, each guy is just a regular guy at all other times. Maybe that's how reality is, guys are generally just regular guys, but I prefer my tv to make them more interesting somehow. Heck, beyond Captain Winters and Captain Spiers, I never even figured out what any of the characters' names were. You can tell the show is based off memiors, and they just filmed the "best of" of the memiores. But I wish they'd gotten a writer in there to combine some of the characters (though it would kinda suck to be an old WWII veteran and find out that you have been combined with several other people to make a documentary more interesting), and make some of them more defined. There weren't any real character flaws to be found. Not like in Rome, where they added heavy creative license to the historical figures, and everyone is much more interesting.

Dan deleted 50 of his facebook friends but I survived! I just checked. I think I only ever deleted one facebook friend. It was this blond girl who was Lem's friend. She took a bunch of photos at some bar, one of which was a photo of her and Lem, and if you looked closely at the mirror in the photo, you could dimmly see Eric's and my reflections watching like stalkers. I thought it was funny and tagged both of us. Then she friended me, and I got way too many status and photo updates, and I unfriended her. Nothing of value was lost.

(at a house party, talking to Dave when Eric wanders up mid-conversation)
Me: We were just talking about how long we'd survive if it got a degree hotter each day.
Dave: It's 80 degrees this week, then if it was 87 degrees next week, and another 7 degrees hotter the week after that.
Me: I'm built for the heat. I'd out last everyone.
Eric: On the third week I'd kill myself.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Last weekend Kate and I went to the national zoo. It was pretty warm, like 85 degrees, and the zoo was packed with people. We saw some funny looking birds, a panda lying on its back feasting on a pile of bamboo it had collected onto its stomach and a gigantic komodo dragon. I think Eric, Dave and I went to the zoo freshman year and it wasn't nearly as lively. On that visit it was pretty much empty and the animals seemed pretty miserable.

We also went to El Tamarindo last weekend (thought not that same day, because the zoo was exhausting). I wish I could make mojitos like they do at there. We've tried the mango, strawberry, and peach mojitos and they've all been excellent. Don't get the "regular" flavor, that one's no good. But somehow the fruity ones are delicious and pretty well spiked. And the half-pitcher (which is like 4 glasses) is still just about $7. The food on that visit was just okay. I wish I could remember what I ordered the first time I ate there. I have a good feeling about the place, as though my first meal there was great.

Today was 89 degrees. And tomorrow's high is 65 degrees. Surprisingly, the temperature high for tomorrow is at 6am. It's going to get colder and colder through the day. And it's going to rain. I bought groceries today so maybe I won't go outside at all.

I wanted to watch Pulp Fiction today, but after looking through a lot of boxes it seem that I left that DVD at my parents house. Bummer.

(about Mysteries of Westgate being released with a 3-install limiting DRM with remote activation)
Raygereio: Sorry Ossian Studios; I really liked what I saw in the previews, but in a couple of years from now I still would like to be able to install and play your adventure pack without having to sacrifice a couple of chickens to Asmodeus so that he'll make sure Atari keeps the servers needed for online activation going for an indefinite amount of time

Sunday, April 19, 2009

At a party last weekend someone said that Nicholas Cage has never been in a good movie. I kept quiet because it's definitely a matter of personal opinion, but I disagree. Here are the 10 best movies with Nicholas Cage, as determined by me, in chronological order I think. If you think otherwise, you're wrong.

Peggy Sue Got Married
Raising Arizona
Valley Girl
Guarding Tess
Trapped in Paradise
Leaving Las Vegas
The Family Man
The Weather Man

The girl who defended Nicholas Cage thought his good movies were National Treasure and the Rock. She was so very wrong. The Rock was good the first time I saw it, but National Treasure somehow rubs me the wrong way.

Also last weekend, I was standing in the kitchen with Kate and she started sniffing the air. "I think you have food going bad in here," she announced and started checking under my sink and looking through my fridge. Finally, after not finding any moldy food, she bent toward an old mousetrap near the back of my fridge on the ground and said "Ugh. I think you have a dead mouse in that mousetrap." These traps have been in the kitchen since I moved in, and I've never had any indications of mice running around in the kitchen, so I never bothered touching them. Neither of us knew how to open the trap and check whether there was really a mouse in there, but Kate picked it up and said "it feels heavy" so we put it in a plastic bag. At some point a little later she decided that maybe there wasn't a mouse in there, so I just left the trap in the plastic bag on my floor. Later that evening I was stretching my arms and noticed that they were slightly smelly from an inactive day without deoderant. I said "You know, I think I might have forgotten to put on deoderant this morning." Kate said "Let me smell." She stuck her face up to my armpit, and immediately let out a very loud "ACK!! GAAH!!" I didn't think my pits had that strong an odor, but apparently it it's a similar smell to a dead mouse.

(from a messageboard about Citigroup stocks) C is like my wife... Unpredictable!!!

Friday, April 17, 2009

I saw the watchmen last night with Rachel. I enjoyed it, despite the long length, slow dialogue and male nudity. I think eric disliked the music, but I liked it. The old lady (whose name I don't remember because they introduced way too many characters) had a prosthetic face that looked pretty terrible. The action scenes were similar to 300, and I'm not sure that's a good thing, though I liked all the scenes with Rorshach. I'd rather watch a whole movie about him than about Wolverine's origins. I'll probably skip that one when it comes out. I'm surprised these heroes were so quick to accept that the ends can justify the means. Usually being a hero means you believe in something. Anyway, well done, pretty interesting, very long.

Monday's basketball game was interesting too. Have basketball rules changed recently? There's 30 seconds left in the game, the leading team has the ball, why doesn't the defending team foul to try to get the ball back? From what I could tell, neither team was doing very well with their freethrows. But instead the losing team just played regular defense with a full court press. Maybe that old end-game strategy is considered dishonorable these days. In the end, the Wizards lost because at 3 seconds before the end of the game they just let a guard take a 3-point shot from the top of the key. Nobody even ran toward him or anything. Disappointing.

ShieldWolf: You can't get that kind of rich without being a crook, and every one of them are.
Alpha803: Care to tell us who JK Rowling stole from? How about David Beckham? George Lucas has done OK, who did he rip off?
IceFox: He ripped off my childhood!

Monday, April 13, 2009

For some reason the ice coffee in my fridge froze. I've never had anything freeze in there before, maybe the fridge is getting more efficient over time?

At Giant on Friday, Kate and I took the little blood pressure test that they have by the pharmacy. It said I have high blood pressure! As if! I'm far too relaxed for that. My mom likes to remind me that I have a genetic predisposition for high blood pressure, but I never really took much notice of it until now. I was always banking on my being secretly adopted. These people couldn't really be from the same genepool as me! Now I'm reading food labels for sodium content. It's a sad day. Tonight I'm going to a basketball game with some of Kate's friends. My first professional basketball game ever.

(joe gets out-saracasm'd on gchat)
me: i just like to keep things in my calendar
me: the night you're leaving is the same night of the thermals concert, btw
kate: lol
kate: oh good
kate: I was worried about that thermals concert
me: worried? why?
kate: no
kate: I don't even know what you are talking about

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Haven't posted here in a while. I'm a lazy blogger.

Been busy the past few weeks. There was an end of the quarter crunch that was worse than I've ever done before. I think my supervisor probably isn't happy about it so I'm trying not to fall behind before the mid-year review. Then when he's like "Joe, this end loading has got to stop." I'll be able to say "Oh, I've learned my lesson, look, this quarter I'm totally caught up!" I sorta have learned my lesson too. Feeling like you're part of a science experiment on the effects of sleep deprivation isn't very fun. I went out to dinner with Kate's visiting siblings, and went to Eric's going away party, and both events are kind of a blur. I don't think I held my own in a conversation about FPGAs with Chris Toombs, and then some guy at the party thought it was funny to ask me if he could get my a roofie. I wasn't sure if that was some sort of pickup line, or if he was just joking around for his buddy or what. Eric has some of the weirdest friends. Just goes to show that a friend-of-a-friend is not at all close to being a friend. It's really only a tiny step (tiny, tiny step, depending on the friend in common) better than being a complete stranger. Maybe the situation would have been funnier if I had been more awake but I suspect not.

Today I again considered getting myself some Star Trek dvds as an end of the quarter present, but again I couldn't bring myself to do it. Too many discs, too many hours of video, and too much money. Someday I'll work up the guts to just buy it and damn the costs/time/non-nerd image.

Kate and I saw "I Love you, Man" and it was okay. I thought the parts with Jon Favreau were hilarious, but Jason Segel's character was annoying and Paul Rudd was kinda boring. Making new guy friends is a hard task to rush, but I still would have been out of there as soon as Jason Segel tried to get honest about his or my sex life. I don't ask my friends about those things, but it isn't because I'm feeling constrained by societal norms and I secretly wish that I could. Kate didn't like the fiance, but I thought she was alright. She's kinda cute in a "the office" sort of way.

Last night I watched about 15 minutes of "His Girl Friday". It was a little interesting, but also exhausting. One of the netflix reviews says "Cary Grant plays Cary Grant" and it's true. Though it's not his fault that he doesn't really have time for much acting because the dialogue moves at such a frantic pace. They probably went through a normal movie's worth of dialogue in that 15 minutes that I watched. I don't think I could date a girl who talks that quickly and intensely all the time. Though I'm not a great listener (as Kate could tell you), but if she talked that much I'd probably start to worry about missing something important.

Next week I think I'm going to see the Watchmen. Anyone want to go?

(user comment to a washington post article about the $825 Billion stimulus bill. I like the Demowussy part)
Tom333: You want to stimulate the economy, Obama? Stop the embargo on UFO techology. We already have the technology for zero point energy and space warp drive. We back-engineered it from crashed UFOs. Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton both promised to end the UFO secrecy but they wussed out. Don't be a Demowussy, Obama. Disclose the UFO secrets. Before some other coutry beats you to it. England is already disclosing UFO files. We had a shooting war with UFOs in the 1950s. Full Disclosure. NOW.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

I was going to write up this big long post about an argument I had today on my stairs with a lady, but then it got too long so here's the abriged version: I walked back from the grocery store to find a lady in the act of stealing a delivery package from my front steps. She was doing this weird thing where she picked up the package and knocked on the front door, and then as I approached she tried to tell me that it had been delivered to her house (though I had spotted the package waiting on our porch about an hour earlier when was I heading off to Giant) and she was just trying to get it to the rightful owner. Then she tried to take off with the package ("I'll just bring it back later") but I stopped her and insisted that she leave it with me instead.

Thieves these days are so pushy. On the upside she said "you have a blessed day" when she gave it to me. And I am feeling better today (the past two days I've been sick). Now I just have to get an impossible amount of work done before Monday.

(Friday is Emoc- Banjolina Jolie's last performance before Eric moves and, coincidentally, Kate's brother Daniel is visiting this weekend)
me: btw, if you and daniel are looking for something to do on friday night.. i heard there's supposed to be a pretty good band playing at solly's
kate: by pretty good do you mean not so good but your friend's in the band?

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

I wasn't planning on posting today, but XKCD today is too good to not mention. I have had that exact dream before. (And thought exactly "shitshitshit!") My work is coming along, though this morning my laptop's network card decided to stop recognizing my router, and I don't have the permissions to mess with it. I love it when my laptop has problems and it doesn't give me permission to fix them. Hopefully when I restart it a little later it'll work itself out, otherwise I'm going to be spending a lot of time in the office this biweek (yuck!).

(netflix user review of the movie Southland Tales)
There's a story about the film "Team America: World Police" that I would love to know is true. Supposedly, in one of the screenings of the film for Paramount, as the film opened with old-fashioned marionettes (before pulling back a wider shot revealing more elaborate puppets) that a studio exec exclaimed, "Oh, God, they f**ked us!" I can't help but wonder if studio execs at Sony might have had the same reaction from their first peek at Richard Kelly's "Southland Tales."

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Why is it when you have more than one attorney, it's called a harem of "attorneys" but if you have more than one power supply they're spelled "supplies". Surprisingly, if you look around you can find a rebel website or two who call them supplys, though that word looks awkward.

Pretty busy with work, among other things. Quick update here. Recently I mangled my first attempt at homemade mojitos, mangled my first attempt at my mom's style fried rice, and discovered I'm developing an increasing double chin (Kate says I'm not nodding vigorously enough).

(commenting on an article by Scott Jones, editor of "crispy gamer" website, about how he voted for Fallout 3 as game of the year even though he secretly disliked the game)
Baby Arm: Note to parents: if your child has a vagina, don't name it Scott.

Friday, February 27, 2009

This is my 100th post on here.

Eric is moving to San Francisco. I haven't seen the kid in a couple months, and in the past year or two haven't seen him very often at all, but there's something about his moving away I find quite depressing. First Dave, now Eric. I am now roommate free. Kate has pointed out that San Francisco is a great city to visit, and she's right. It's definitely a nicer visit than Kansas or Ohio, where I was thinking of moving a few years ago. Plus I have a few other friends who live in SF. Eric should like the weather out there, it's always slightly too cold.

I'm sampling the band These United States because they're linked from the Page France myspace page. I'm digging this song "Honor Among Thieves". Sadly, all their other songs on myspace are much softer. Not sure I'll get this album.

My desktop has caught some malware. When I open firefox it opens a large popup in IE advertising random software or software-related books on amazon. I was just searching for a flash tutorial on google, honest. And I downloaded a flash plugin without thinking about it much, maybe that was the problem. For now, I've routed IE through a fake proxy so that it can't connect, and disabled all my unknown firefox extensions. I'll reinstall the OS later when I have more time.

quote pending

Monday, February 16, 2009

Just spent a fun weekend in Woodstock, NY with my sister, cousins, their friends and Kate. We spent some time in the hot tub, sitting by the fire, and playing drinking games. The SUV I rented turned out to be totally unnecessary and pretty expensive, but that's alright. Also it turns out that it's impossible to rent an SUV that has 2 cigarette lighters. I wanted to run a gps device and my fm transmitter at the same time, but instead we had to swap the music in when we hit long stretches of highway.

I got pulled over by the police today for the first time ever. This was in dc. After dropping kate's things off at her house I was giving her a ride to her office and then I was going to go on to return the car at the airport. A cop pulled in behind us somewhere around Logan circle, and I watched her (it was a lady cop) in my rear view mirror. She drove up, looked at my license plate and then punch it into her little computer. (The rental car for some reason has georgia plates, so I thought this was the reason she thought we were suspicious.) She followed us though the circle, for 2 or 3 blocks, and just when I was discussing with Kate how you could tell whether the cops wanted you to pull over or not (because they routinely drive around with their overhead lights on), the cop lady beeped her siren at me and pulled me over.

Now, I'm not totally sure what happened. Maybe Kate has a better understanding of the events. I was busy focusing on not arguing and appearing compliant so that I don't get dragged out of my car and beaten.

Cop: I pulled you over because your tags are out of date, and you just ran a stop light.
me (surprised): Really?
(This was a real surprise because I noticed at the exact instant that the cop car pulled into the street behind me, and I usually pay attention to stop lights even when there isn't a cop behind me. But circles can be tricky so it's possible.)
Cop: Are you from around here?
me: Yeah, though I don't drive often.
Cop: Can I see your license and registration.

(I gave her my license and she took it back to her car. Kate and I did some fishing around in the glove compartment for any registration information but came up totally empty except for some insurance stuff that didn't really have account numbers or anything. Quality Alamo car rentals.)

Cop (hands me back my license): You know, if you don't feel comfortable driving in the city then you should let someone else drive.
me (very mildly): Well, I do feel pretty comfortable driving.
Cop: It's a rental car, right?
me: Yes.
Cop: (At this point she babbled for a good 30 seconds. It was something to the effect of: it turns out that the vehicle is registered, it just doesn't look that way from the stickers, and so she got mislead. Somehow I think she admitted to messing that up, but made it sound like it was my fault)
Cop: I'm going to let you off with a verbal warning. You need to stay alert and be careful when you drive.
me: Thank you. Okay, I will be careful.

When I got down to the airport and the car rentals, I told the guy that I got pulled over and that the cops said the stickers on the car are out of date. The guy said "No they aren't, come look." Sure enough, the sticker on the back says "10" for 2010.

Now the question of me allegedly running a stop light in logan circle. Kate (who was awake and sitting in the front with me) didn't see me run anything, I didn't see myself run anything. And we both knew there was a cop behind us (we were discussing it the whole time) so you'd think it'd occur to one of us if I ran a stop light. Also, Kate says that the cop said stop sign the first time, and then corrected herself and said stop light after I said "really?". It's a fishy story. I wonder if the dc cops know that it's okay to be in the intersection when it turns red, so long as you're already inside the intersection. I should have asked the lady cop what, exactly, her definition is of a "red" light. Now I'm imagining my future re-tellings of this story where I act much more manly or cunning. Perhaps lying about being an ignorant tourist, or pulling some macho "Woman, don't you realize you're about to try to give a ticket to a man!?! I'm an alpha male!"

(about Revenge of the Sith)
"What kills me is that Spielberg saw this movie and cried. He wept!! That means that Spielberg is either the biggest Star Wars nerd in the history of Star Wars nerds...or it means that he knows nothing about directing great movies and just gets lucky everytime out. Unless he cried at how inconsistent and unfulfilling it was."

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Yesterday, at Giant, Kate remarked to me that the organic brocoli looked exactly like the generic brand. An older black lady was picking out some brocoli and said something to the effect of "Yeah, they're the same, but don't worry because it's all good." And then I couldn't believe my ears. Kate told this black lady "I heard that." I pulled her aside immediately afterwards and gave her a little talk about the expressions you can and can't use infront of black people.

Saw this comic today. Kinda funny. Then, when surfing through other comics of the series I came across one that was extremely work in-appropriate. So don't make the same mistake I did. These few others are too amusing though.

(emailing with Dan after he skipped on meeting up with Sean and me at a bar. I told him that he missed out on a mostly-empty bar with a large group of drunk girls. While Sean and me aren't single, but it could have been Dan's night.)
Dan: Now you say a dozen drunk girls, but no mention of their hotness, so what does that tell us..

Monday, January 12, 2009

Funny article in the Washingtonpost about those expensive inaguration appartment rentals going untaken. Eric was trying to do that, but I'm not sure if he actually found a taker. And Lauren was telling me over Christmas that I should try to do it, but it really sounds like more work than it's worth. Sorta like playing the lottery, except this is more work with less payoff (though the odds are a little better).

I just told my officemate that I'm going to be going on work at home next week and he told me that I'd been a good officemate. I told him I was sorry if my laying out of office "rules" put us on a shakey start and he said not at all, that he'll do the same thing when he gets a new officemate. Then we cried a little and held each other. I haven't ever really had a terrible officemate. Josh slept most afternoons and was a horrible example of work ethic for a new employee, but he was friendly, entertaining to talk with, and pretty practical when you asked him questions. Loan argued on a phone a lot with her mother but she was fun to joke about, with her unusual english and she was amused when I would make proclaimations "as the man of the office". Grant has been really quiet, but in trying to set a good example I've stopped all naps in the office (sometimes at the cost of my ability to think), and he's fine when you talk to him, though we don't have much in common. Actually, looking back, I don't think I've ever had an issue with any coworkers in any of my jobs. Sometimes it pays being easy going.

Also I downloaded the new Street Fighter 2 HD remix for my ps3, and that game is insanely frustrating. I've never played a game that's made me want to break the controller this much (though I haven't broken anything yet, just done a lot of yelling at the tv).

(from a review of xbox game Space Giraffe, after the reviewer describes how a game series can either cater to the casual gamer, or take the "conceptual high ground.")
"In that scenario, you can all too easily end up with something like the Street Fighter or Virtua Fighter series, endlessly refined and tweaked for the benefit of insanely hardcore fans until you get a game so spectacularly impenetrable to unsuspecting newcomers that the instructions might as well be written in ancient Phoenician, full of absurd nonsense about "Z-ism" and reversed air counter-tackle returning stumble throw blocks, until normal people run away crying and you're left with an audience of about nine completely socially-dysfunctional autistic savants in Tokyo."

Monday, January 5, 2009

After seeing this headline in the news for a few days, I finally clicked on it to see if there were any hot example photos. Sadly, there are not.

Facebook makes a pretty good argument about how they don't allow nudity, whether it is obscene or not. And I don't mind if you want to breast-feed your kid, but why don't you do the rest of us a favor and put the camera away while you do so? Yikes.

If I was labeling blog entries, this one would be called Joe Vs. Dave. Dave and I have a 49% similarity on Netflix, which sounds like it means that if Dave likes a movie I'm actually more likely to dislike it than I would be otherwise. Dave's recommendation is really a disrecommendation to me. I find this pretty curious. Here are the movies that we've both rated, but disagree on the ratings by more than a single point. Actually, there aren't very many of them. Dave's score is the first column, my score is the second column.

4 2 Blow
3 5 Donnie Darko
5 3 Goodfellas
3 1 Hard Candy
2 4 Independence Day
4 2 Little Children
5 3 Little Miss Shine
5 3 One Flew Over the Cookoo's Nest
5 3 The Royal Tenenbaums
5 3 When Harry Met Sally

Who has better taste? Clearly I do. To be fair, Dave has only rated a few dozen movies. The only times we've really disagreed about movies has been for Blow, Hard Candy, Independence Day, and Little Children, which one of us liked and the other didn't. All the rest of the movies we commonly liked or disliked, just to a different degree. Maybe I should have given When Harry Met Sally an extra point. (Or Independence Day one fewer point, but I saw it in Jr High and really enjoyed it then.) Now I'm going to queue up Solaris and hope that George Clooney's bare ass doesn't ruin it for me.

(walking around in the freezing cold wind)
kate: Hold on, I want to put on my hat.
me: I should have worn a hat too.
(kate gestures to my hooded sweatshirt)
kate: You should put your hood up!
me: I don't want to be one of those people who walk around with their hoods up.
kate: Why not?
me: It's not raining. I'll look silly.
kate: It will keep you warmer.
me: Everyone driving by will think I look ridiculous.
kate: I know if I was driving by, and I saw someone walking around in this weather who had a hood but wasn't wearing it, I'd think, (Kate slips into a deep voice with a southern accent) "That boy is a damn fool!"