The blog that's gotten one comment ever! Thanks mom!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Recipe for a good morning

Run your wife a bath (ok, she ran her own bath, but still), and while she's bathing, make her breakfast.

I hope everyone's having a great holiday!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

My confusion

This just makes me so sad. I'm not even sure what to say about it. Me and some friends had a lengthy and heated discussion of what it means to be tried as an adult. I don't know the right answer.

I've grown up with video games my entire life. Yes, Galaga doesn't exactly compare to some of the latest games in terms of violence and realism. Heck, despite my friend Batty's recommendation of it, I can barely play through a few minutes of Condemned without getting to freaked out to continue. But I've never had difficulty with the distinction between what happens in a game and what happens in reality. Well, ok, there was that one time, but I only needed stitches, and no one got hurt but me. I just don't know what to do about things like this. I've got a Mortal Kombat 2 arcade game in my basement. Should I not let my nieces play it (they almost always insist I let them)? Can I safely assume that most people share my ability to understand that what happens in a game, or a movie, while entertaining, isn't exactly behavior one should imitate?

Off to a great start...

So this morning, as I lay sleeping in bed, J mumbles, "Don't we have dentist appointments this morning?".

"Yes," I answer, "mine starts at 7:30.".

"It's 7:20.".


So I get up, throw on some clothes, brush my teeth, and drive across town just in time to be told that I'm too late and they'll have to reschedule. So I drive to work, check my calendar, and see that my yearly review meeting is later that morning. Fun! So I leave work, shower so I at least won't be gross for my review. While getting dressed, I try to put on the bluetooth bracelet I had taken off for the shower. It won't snap closed anymore. I leave it. My meeting's in 15 minutes.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The bluetooth bracelet

So I got it, and it works as advertised, though it's not without room for improvement. The two major things I wish it did better, would be to shut off automatically when my car's bluetooth is on (I know, no easy way to do this, but it'd be nice), and I'd prefer if it didn't use the hands free profile (also no easy way around that). The problem there is, when I make a call with the bracelet linked, I don't hear a ring, as the ring audio is routed to the bracelet. Which is useless. Anywho, it's still all right for me. Your mileage may vary.

The Original Trilogy

So I've been having a craving for some classic Star Wars of late, and one of the features I've been looking forward to on my new TV was the ability to correctly stretch the squished and crippled content of the Star Wars original trilogy DVD's to actually use the screen correctly. So after rocking out with Tim and Sherri on Rock Band for awhile, J and I settled into our couch, dimmed the lights, and I got ready to enjoy some of my favorite movies, on as close to a big screen experience as I can get.

I watched Han shoot first. I watched the Falcon blast out of Mos Eisley and jump into hyperspace.

And then I turned things off and went to bed.

The problem is, the original trilogy discs Lucas finally released are crippled. Instead of working off of the remastered bits they created for the "Special Edition" releases, someone just took the Laser Disc releases, and transferred them to DVD. Now, I own the Laser Discs. Before the DVD's finally came out, the Laser Disc release was pretty much the only way to get the classic trilogy at halfway decent quality without any of Lucas's later edits. The problem is, the Laser Disc release was designed for standard definition screens. So you've got the movie, letterboxed. And that's what you get on the DVD's as well. So when displayed on a 60" HD screen, the image is first stretched horizontally into the new aspect ratio, and then I used the TV to stretch it vertically so that it was actually displayed correctly. This led to two problems. First, any subtitles more than two lines long were clipped. So although I know the conversation between Han and Greedo by heart, I had to rely on that memory during that scene. Second, the low definition image has been stretched so much, and then displayed on such a scale, that you see jagged edges all over the place. Having played part of the Special Edition disc to test my setup the other day, the difference was glaring.

As soon as I found myself tempted to watch the Special Edition, I gave up. Guess next time I feel like watching something epic, I'll go with Lord of the Rings. Thanks, Lucas...

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Guitar Hero as religious experience

This post at Gamers with Jobs really got to me. Just thought I'd share!

Holiday funk

So at the end of this week, I get a week off. A whole, blissful week. We're going to go to visit my parents Christmas, then back here for a quiet New Year's. No presents for each other this year. I've already got my TV, and J's getting her lost wedding ring replaced.

My problem is, the idea of time off, just off, no responsibilities, has so entrenched itself in my mind that I'm struggling to get anything like work done. Gotta be more productive. My mind seems to work in strange ways. If I accomplish anything on a given day, my brain takes the rest of the day off, assuming it's done it's job for the day.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Another busy weekend

Both Janie and I are still trying to get over a pesky cold, which made us a little slow/cranky this weekend. Saturday morning, I couldn't even manage Rock Band, my drumming was awful. Luckily, the haze had started to clear by that evening, when we attended a holiday party hosted by Jon and Drew. Although I'm really bad at mingling, we had a good time and met some fun folks. They've got an amazing place, and the party was excellent.

Sunday we tried to get some shopping done, but I just wasn't in to it for some reason. I did find a great sweater, but I wasn't in the holiday shopping mood. So J and I went home, took a nap, and then went and picked up AB and Celeste to drive to Denver for a surprise birthday party for Tim! We went to the Vesta Dipping Grill in lower downtown Denver, which was tasty as always. Afterwards, we returned to Fort Collins and our favorite martini bar, Elliot's, where our favorite bartender, Tobin, handed Tim the presents we had brought. A great evening, all told.

Now I just need another weekend to recover from this cold, and I'll be all set.

Friday, December 14, 2007

On used games...

So yesterday, Janie and I went to Best Buy with Steph and Jer to compare teevees. They're looking at an upgrade to go into the new condo they're having built, and they wanted to see what a few models looked like in person. While we were there, I checked out prices for a DDR game for the 360, figuring, what the heck, I've got the controller, might as well get a game for it. Being somewhat of a cheapskate, when I saw that the older DDR Universe title was still selling for $30, I decided to wait and swing by Gamestop and see if I could pick it up used for less. So we hop in the Prius and drive up the street to the mall, find the same title, and check the used price. $30. What the heck? I've found some good deals on used stuff at Gamestop before (the used hardware can be a steal), but I don't ever think I'll buy used games there unless I find some huge savings. I just don't get selling software used when you can get a new, fresh disc for the same price.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Kotaku's writeup for the Denver Funde Razor

I just wanted to include this link for posterity's sake. It's Kotaku's write up of the Denver Funde Razor, and it's where I found the pics of us performing.

as you wish performing at Funde Razor!

Originally uploaded by pcloeb
Check out this flickr set! There's four pictures of our band performing, along with pictures of the weighted companion cube.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Funde Razor!!!!

Originally uploaded by solarvvind
So. Much. Fun. I didn't think I would, but everyone else talked me into it, and our band "as you wish" had their public debut. We played NIN's Hand that Feeds on medium, and came oh so close to five starring it. I got a 99% on drums in any case. We also walked away with a Guild Wars T-shirt, and a Dance Dance Revolution controller for the 360! Now to get the game. Anyways, I'm exhausted, but what an amazing time. Thanks to everyone who put it on, and thanks to Child's Play!

Off to Fünde Razor tonight

Despite having a cold that's keeping me just this side of miserable, and driving conditions that are less than fun (it hasn't been above freezing yet today), Janie and I, plus some stalwart friends, are going to drive to Denver for the Fünde Razor. I don't think I've got the Rock Band chops to actually play in front of an audience (I can struggle through drums on hard, but I've only managed to complete a guitar piece on hard once so far). But that's ok. Having a few drinks in the name of a good cause sounds like a good time to me, and it'll be fun to watch and learn from those who have progressed further in their toy guitar wailing abilities.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


So I found this on thinkgeek the other day. It's a small resizeable bracelet with a bluetooth connection. Get a call while it's synced to your phone, and the bracelet lets you know you've got an incoming call. I find this to be absolutely fantastic, but my friends reactions have ranged from 'it's ok' to 'ick, what the heck is that?'. One friend mentioned that as he has to go out in public, he has to follow certain social norms. My problem is, people wear bracelets like this all the time! But instead of the bracelet simply asking me what Jesus might do in a given situation, this one gives me some quick data about my world.

Back from Santa Fe

Hey folks, sorry for the lack of posts. We left Friday afternoon to visit our friends Brose, Bex, and Fiona in Santa Fe, to help celebrate the impending arrival of a sibling for Fiona. On the drive down, we drove through snow, rain, and fog. While we were there, Raton pass was closed, so we stayed an extra day and returned on Monday. On the way back, we drove through snow, rain, and fog. It's still snowing here in Colorado today. I don't know if I'll ever get my driveway and sidewalks clear, every time I shovel, more snow falls.

In any case, we had a fantastic time in Santa Fe! Brandon and Nina and kids came up from Albuquerque, Brose's brother Casey and his girlfriend made surprise visits from California. Many games were played, much food was eaten, and many presents exchanged. Janie and I got to take part in our first Hanukkah. Thanks to everyone who made the trip such an incredible time!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

The new strat is on it's way

I have to admit, I'm pretty happy with EA's support. With luck, the new guitar will arrive before we leave for Santa Fe tomorrow, in which case we can take it with and test it out while we're down there. I hope it works!

Or not...

We never got to Mana Tombs. Janie started coming down with something on Tuesday, and by last night it was in full swing, so she took the night off from WoW. I brought out Solarvvind, my level 69 arms warrior I never play, and used him to help my friend Silvernail in game. Solar was my first character in WoW. I played to level 60 as a protection warrior, and only changed to arms right before the Burning Crusade came out, in order to make the grind to 70 a little easier.

Last night I discovered that one of my favorite talent skills in the arms tree, sweeping strikes, had been moved to the fury tree, and arms warriors had gotten a short duration damage buff in exchange. I'm pretty bummed about that. Not that I should really care, I play Solar so rarely. But man, it made me want to switch back to my druid, who at least has swipe to keep several folks looking in his direction at once.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Mana Tombs

For the first time in what feels like ever, the Thursday group is taking on a dungeon in Outland. Only it's Wednesday. Anywho, we're off to the Mana Tombs tonight, and hopefully it will go better than it did the last time we ventured there.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Time to get us some new roadies...

So yesterday, after beating Marvel: Ultimate Alliance, Janie and I settled in for a bit of Rock Band. We were five starring songs on medium playing guitar and bass, leading our band Holy Moses through it's world tour, when J muttered 'uh oh' in the middle of a song. I spare a glance at the rock meter, and J is dropping fast. Our stratocaster had developed the dreaded 'strum bar no worky'. I contacted EA for a warranty repair, and that part of the process was admirably quick and painless. However, now we're left waiting for a second guitar to arrive, and we were going to take the guitars and mic at least to my friend Brose's this weekend. With luck, I'll get it in time, but I'm guessing that's not going to happen. I prefer the Guitar Hero wireless Les Paul to the stratocaster myself, but J liked the high note frets for her smaller hands. Let's hope that EA comes through.

Monday, December 3, 2007

We'll miss you AJ...

So this last weekend, Janie and I drove from northern Colorado down to Albuquerque and back, to attend the funeral of one of Janie's cousin's, AJ. AJ had always seemed to be a nice kid the few times I had met him, and judging by the number of friends that turned up at the funeral, he was well liked. The family was all devastated over the sudden loss. Janie and I send our condolences to all the family.

A little bit of happy.

Check this out. I already like Scrubs, but this makes me like the show that much more.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Bender's Big Score

We had some folks over to watch the new Futurama DVD last night. Although it was fun, I couldn't help being a tiny bit let down. I was so upset when Futurama was cancelled, and have been looking forward to it's return with such anticipation, it would be difficult for anything to quite live up to expectations. That said, I did enjoy it, and I can't wait for the next DVD, or for the episodes to actually appear. I'm very curious how they'll chop up the movie into portions that will work as episodes. Seems like they'll have to go to a serial format, as it'll be hard to get any of the storylines presented wrapped into a single episode in a sensible way.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Fünde Razor

I had no idea this was in Denver! Trying to get things worked out so me and some friends can go. I was going to donate to Child's Play anyways, if I can do it while having a beer, playing some games, and maybe winning some prizes, I'd be a fool not to go!

Finished Halo 3

Only on normal difficulty, and I had two friends along in co-op to help. The warthog sequence was fantastic. When the credits rolled, I didn't stick around for the extra cutscene at the end (I didn't know it was there at the time), as we didn't get the achievement for finishing one of the later levels, and therefore also didn't get an achievement for finishing the game. Had to go back and run through the Covenant level start to finish, then Tsavo Highway for AB. All in all, it was a good game. I don't think I've got the patience to play it on xbox live much, but I'm glad I've got the game in my inventory. Now to finish Marvel Ultimate Alliance and get back to Half Life 2 or Metroid.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Work sucks

Just came from an unscheduled meeting. Our contracting company lost two more positions in the group I work in. They still get to work till the week before Christmas of course, so they really get to enjoy their 'time off'. We're supposed to have a 'celebratory' lunch with the company's CEO later today. Wee. I can hardly contain my celebratory urges.

BSG: Razor

Got around to watching this two hour Battlestar Galactica movie last night. It was pretty good, but still mainly served as a teaser for the third and final season. Or is it fourth? Anywho, I can't wait for it to start up again next March. The new BSG has always been a good source for uncomfortable moral quandaries to ponder.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

So I cancelled LOTRO.

This makes the fourth time I've left an MMO, and it was by far the easiest. It's not that it wasn't a good game. MMO's have just lost some of their interest for me of late. I'd happily get back into it at some point, but for now, I'd rather be playing games with J, and that means Rock Band. Plus, it's nice not having to pay an extra monthly fee for an underutilized service. All credit to the LOTRO team, I really enjoyed my time there, and they made the account cancellation quick and painless.

Marvel: Ultimate Alliance

The game came with AB and Jer's 360's, and Jer leant it to me once he had finished it. It's a fairly entertaining time, but at this point, I just want to finish it so I can get back to Metroid and Half Life 2. I must admit though, I've got a weakness for the achievements. AB's nearly caught up to me, and taking a break from the 360, even to play a game as good as Metroid Prime 3, seems like I'd just be letting him catch up. It totally doesn't matter, but there's a part of me that doesn't want that to happen.

Monday, November 26, 2007

So what did you do with your time off?

Janie and I spent most of our time trying to keep our family entertained. I've got three nieces and a nephew, and although Becca was old enough to both get and rock out to Rock Band, Wii Sports was about as advanced as the next younger one could handle. We had skee ball in the basement, with prizes. Katie won a rather foul mouthed talking gingerbread man from the Shrek movies, which I'm sure will raise me a couple of notches on the bad uncle list. Black Friday shopping was a mess. But otherwise, it was good clean gaming and food. How about you guys? What did you do?

Happy Thanksgiving!

Yeah, I know it's late, but still. I hope everyone had great holidays. Ours was good. My sister Tara cooked a fantastic meal. Her husband Drew handled the turkey, Tara did the rest, and it was all amazing. Stuffing with duck confit. An absolutely best thing ever gratin with manchego cheese. Just a perfect meal. We still have leftover turkey, I've got to get to work on those sandwiches.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Big TV + Rock Band = ...

...sleepy Scotty. Janie, Steph, Jer and I played till midnight, and only stopped because Jer and Steph had to be up in three hours to get Jer to the airport.

Monday, November 19, 2007


And the TV is still in Denver. Now scheduled to be delivered sometime tomorrow. I'm obsessing over this more than a little bit. I drove J to emo last night over it. I guess tonight will be spent cleaning up the house some more in preparation for Thanksgiving, and trying to run network to the living room for the xbox.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

The TV's in Denver

Should be delivered sometime tomorrow. I've roped my sister into hanging out waiting for it to show up, so she can sign for it and call me to get it into the garage. We bought a new entertainment center for it yesterday, still working on the aftermath of getting it set up. Anticipation at a fever pitch, but I'm exhausted and needing a nap.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Merry Christmas to me

Let this be a lesson to everyone. Love your wife, and good things happen. Ever since I got my xbox (which was a birthday present from Janie), I've wanted a bigger TV for it. It's fun to play, but not many folks want to sit in my bedroom to play games with me. I've got a big living room, so a decent sized TV would not be amiss. I've been doing some research, but I'm a bit spastic, and every time I'd settle on something, I'd be called an idiot by someone and told to look into something else. Well, J had taken it upon herself to surprise me with a new set for Christmas. However, every time she'd picked out a model based upon my latest fevered researchings, I'd change my mind again. She finally threw up her hands, and told me to buy a Christmas present for myself. I now have a 60" Sony rear projection on its way. Thank you Janie! I love you so much! And not just because you buy me huge TV's. You are the best thing that's ever happened to me. And you keep happening to me :)

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Two more reasons I love Janie...

In a jabber conference room with some friends, one of the important topics we recently discussed was which GI Joe character we each resembled. Although suggestions made for my character were not complimentary, Janie was compared with the Baroness.

Hot. I always had a crush on the Baroness, despite her working for Cobra. I always thought she was just a little misunderstood, that I could...change her, convince her to come back to the good guys. Whole adolescent fantasy scenarios revolved around this. So, I love J because she looks a bit like the Baroness. Now to get her a black leather bodysuit. And some guns.

The second reason I've been loving my Janie recently shouldn't be a surprise, but it surprised me anyway. Janie likes Guitar Hero. When we watched the recent South Park episode mocking the game, J said 'that looks kinda fun'. I heard, 'omg, please go buy that rite now, kthxbi'. So I did, and Janie's been playing it, and I have to say, I want a second controller, because when Janie's rocking out, I want to be in her band. Janie grew up on Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, and Kiss, and getting to play at least some songs from the latter two, even in toy guitar form, has been a blast for her.

I love you J!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

I'm a dork

I've got my iPod out, and I'm listening to some Guns n Roses in preparation for playing some Guitar Hero later. I am a dork. That is all.

Monday, November 12, 2007

I've got blisters on me fingers...

So J attended a conference for four days, which gave me four days of gaming excess. I've Halo'd, GRAW'd, Orange Boxed, and Guitar Heroed until my fingers hurt to type you this message. Oh, and got about halfway through Marvel Ultimate Alliance. Highlights include trying to play through Halo 3 on Legendary with three people co-op (It's hard!), and playing and finishing every single co-op mission in GRAW2 except for the last one. We had a four player group for that one, and it was fun. We would have had a fifth, but one of our member suffered the dreaded red ring of death. Still hoping to get Jer into GRAW for the multiplayer, but we'll see. I will say, being able to talk with your friends while playing squad based tactical shooters, is the closest thing to a LAN party experience I've had in a long time. Way to go, Xbox 360. You may have finally succeeded in making a console gamer out of me.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Guitar Hero

I admit it. I've been Guitar-Curious for some time now. My friend Chris loves it, my friend Eric loves it, Chris can't wait for Rock Band. And it sounded and looked fun, when I'd see folks playing the demo unit at Best Buy. So, with Guitar Hero 3 out with a nifty wireless controller, I figured I'd see if I could pick it up.

Called around a bit, and everyone was sold out, but Game Stop had a used copy, plus the controller, which meant I picked everything up for a decent savings. The fellow at the counter tried to get me to pre-order Rock Band, but I declined, both because pre-orders bother me a bit, and because I don't think I have enough friends to make that sort of outlay worthwhile.

As to the game, it's fun! I'm only playing on easy difficulty to get the hang of things, but it's pretty good. I played from ten to around midnight, and my fingers had become twisted claws by the end of the night. I think I'd enjoy it even more if I had someone else to play with. I'll have to see if Janie likes it. I'd totally buy a second controller if I could get her to play with me. And there are enough 80's hair band songs in the game to keep her interested :)

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

So how did the funk removal go?

  1. I got to have lunch with J, which was goofy as we had trouble finding a place at work to sit down and eat, but she took me out for ice cream after. A
  2. I still have more work do to on breaking down my task list, but I've been more productive in the last two days than all of last week thanks to the work I've done on it so far. B
  3. Physical therapy went really, really badly. I need to force myself to do stretches every day, in the hopes that my knees respond, but man, last night was the worst session yet. F
  4. With everything else I had going on last night (therapy, making dinner, paying bills, gaming), I dropped the ball on making Brose his DVD. F
  5. Halo 3. Absolutely fantastic. We played through a good chunk of the campaign, only a few chapters left to go. I finally had to call it quits when it started getting late, and the batteries ran out on my headset. A

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Thanks for the ice cream!

Sensing my funk, J took me out for ice cream after we met for lunch. Thanks hon!

In a funk

I have no good reason to be unhappy. I've got a decent job, an amazing partner in Janie, more gaming possibilities that I've had in years, and surprisingly, some time to take advantage of it. But instead of celebrating all that's good, I'm in a funk. I'm arguing with people on forums about inconsequential things that don't really exist. I sit around at work, dreading actually doing something useful.

So here's the plan. Here's what's going to happen, to get me out of this sad cat doldrum.
  1. I'm going to have lunch with Janie. Even if it's only half an hour, I'm going to get together with her, and that'll be a bright point to the day. We've got some tasty leftovers in the fridge that I'm looking forward to.
  2. I'm going to break down my work task list to make it more manageable. Part of my problem is that I've got what look like huge, monolithic tasks. Just like every task, it can be broken down into smaller, easier to tackle jobs. I can get this stuff done, I just need to frame it in a manner that doesn't seem so depressing.
  3. I'm going to go to physical therapy tonight, and get a good workout in. My knees have been feeling a bit better of late, might as well keep that improvement moving forward.
  4. I'm going to burn a DVD with a bunch of my favorite TV and send it to my friend Brose in Santa Fe. He's a kindred spirit, he'll enjoy this stuff, and we'll have even more to talk about.
  5. I'm going to play some Co-op Halo 3 with Jer and AB tonight.
There. Sad Cat's five step plan to fighting the moh's. Let's get to it!

Sunday, November 4, 2007


So I picked up The Orange Box for the 360, and started playing through Half Life 2 again. But before I got to into Half Life, I stopped by and checked out Portal. Excellent game! Fiendish puzzles, funny dialog, and a satisfying conclusion. Even though the puzzles are designed to be solved, there's something very satisfying about reaching the solution the game designers designed for you to reach.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Video game dreams...

So last night, Janie and I played some Beautiful Katamari on the xbox before dinner. After dinner, while J caught up on one of her TV shows, I caught up on Halo 1. Which explains why I dreamed of the Master Chief pushing a Katamari around the Alpha Halo, picking up Covenent weapons and forces. Hrm. Wonder if the Forge is powerful enough to let you build that into Halo 3?

Monday, October 29, 2007


This is for Brose, who witnessed Leela attacking me for daring to let Brose into her territory. Hours later, she's asleep on my lap. Sorry for the bad picture quality, and sorry my cat is insane!

Fiona likes corn on the cob

Our friends Brose and Bex were up this weekend for AB's party, and their daughter Fiona is simply the cutest being in existance. Some Greek deity of cuteness is going to turn me into a tree or something for that one. Thanks for coming to see us guys!

Happy Birthday AB!

So, per an earlier post, I had been planning spending Saturday in AB's company, playing through Halo. In point of fact, this was a deception, an artful ruse, in order to get AB to my house in preparation for his surprise birthday party.

It failed miserably.

Despite emails between his brother Thomas and I, and despite having though AB had agreed to meet at my house, they instead got back into town both an hour ahead of our scheduled start, but ended up in the wrong part of town too. I had to drive across town to meet AB at Jax, all the while lamenting the fact that I would be forced to alter my carefully practiced story in order to get things back on track. Now, James Bond, I'm not. I couldn't fib my way out of anything, and so it was with little surprise that I heard AB murmur "This is getting crazier and crazier" as we left Jax, with the intention of meeting Jer somewhere on campus to pick up his bike...

In any case, we threw AB a surprise 30th birthday party on Saturday (it should have been a bit of a surprise, as his birthday is in December). The idea was for a geocaching outing, revisitng places around town that AB is fond of/lived in/may have visited once. It mostly went well, although one set of coordinates did have us visiting a field full of cattle in a part of Fort Collins none of us had ever seen before. The event culminated in a party at AB's house, and the gifting of an Xbox 360.

So once again, happy birthday man. I've been trying to thank all of my friends for the 30th birthday present they got me, and I'm sure I'm coming up short every time.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Finished reading the Taken Trilogy...

...and I stand by my earlier thoughts that it's an ok read. However, there were bits that I was frustrated by. Characters seem to have strong opinions at some points, completely and inexplicably change those opinions, and when they finally are confronted with queries as to this change, come up with rather lackluster reasonings. I also felt like things were restated, often repeatedly, which I found frustrating. If you'd been following the story, you wouldn't need the problems the protagonists faced spelled out, again and again. But with those two quibbles, I'll admit that I was curious to see how it would end, that the read passed quickly, and that I'd welcome more books set in that universe. There are some good ideas there that I'd love to see explored further. Except for the kissing horse faced aliens bit. I'm entirely ok leaving that fertile soil untilled.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Halos One and Two

AB, having previously played through some of the first two Halos, has agreed to help me catch up, story wise, by playing through as much of them as we can in co-op on Saturday afternoon. Sounds like a fantastic time to me!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

It's possible I suck at Halo 3

Ok, so I fared all right in my one multi player experience, but that was with a group of friends playing four way split screen, none of whom had all that much experience with teh h4l0z. But so far, the single player has shown me that I've no reason to be cocky. I'm only playing on normal difficulty, and I'm not dieing all that often, but that's more due to a slower, more methodical method of play than I'm used to. Bioshock had me thinking that I was a wrench wielding dreadnought. Halo is teaching me that Brute's are not fun in groups, that once your shields are down, get to cover, and once your opponents shields are down, finish them off quickly. Grenades are actually an effective way of dealing with crowds of enemies. The default rifle, plus the battle rifle, if used well, are extremely effective weapons. The shotgun and energy sword are your friends in tight quarters.

My major issue so far, is that I really wish I had played through Halo one and two at this point. Almost to the point that I've considered picking them up and playing through the single player on the 360. Almost. I've a feeling I'll be feeling better about things by the time I've finished the journey through Halo 3.

Tom Tancredo...

...embarassing Coloradans since 1998.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

On books...

I post a lot about gaming on this blog, and indeed, gaming is an important and frequently pursued hobby. But not my only one. Also of interest is reading, preferably something of the genre science fiction. May I make the following recommendations, if you find yourself sans reading material? The Taken Trilogy by Alan Dean Foster was recently loaned to me by Tom, one of my wife's uncles and a fellow aficionado of works of speculative fiction. Whereas I have a tendency to re-read books I've enjoyed in the past, he tends to find stories I've overlooked, and to my great benefit, shares them. The Taken Trilogy is one such gem, along with Peter F. Hamilton's Commonwealth Saga. I try to return the favor from time to time, but Tom has almost always beaten me to the punch, reading works before I've had a chance to suggest them. I've recently ordered Sun of Suns on Cory Doctorow's suggestion on Boing Boing, and it's my fervent hope it's as good as the preview chapters I've read indicate, and I can pass it on before Tom's gotten to it.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Happy dance

Oh my dear sweet lord, I hope this is true. KOTOR is one of my all time favorite games. And Bioware is an amazing developer. If this comes to pass, I'm going to have to add a third MMO to my list. Or more likely, drop one of my existing ones.

It is done...

...well, Bioshock is, in any case. I must admit, I got a little misty eyed at the end. That was one very entertaining game. I won't give anything away, for those of you who are still playing or have yet to start. It's always been my practice in games to take the best path, morally speaking, that I can. I feel this was amply rewarded in the case of Bioshock. I'm a little sad it's over, but at least now I can get started on something else. What should I do next? Halo 3? Finish GRAW2 or Zelda, or Metroid?

Friday, October 19, 2007

Classmates... a web site that basically acts as a message board, helping folks who've lost touch since their school days find each other. I signed up with it years ago, and since I'm still using the same yahoo address I've had for decades, I still get spam from them. This morning, I got a message saying someone had signed my guest book, but of course, I'd have to upgrade my account to see who it was. To anyone who wants to find me, please, google Scott Ledet. This page is right up there, usually the second result. I'm not hard to find. And it doesn't cost anyone any money. As flattered as I am that someone signed a guest book I didn't know I had, I'm apparently too cheap to spend the $15 to find out who.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Halo 3 impressions

First of all, if one is going to attempt four player Halo 3, it helps to have a 50" screen (thanks Tim!). I was bummed to discover that four player co-op wasn't supported for a single box. I had been looking forward to trying that out. We did try the slayer and infection game types however, and much fun was had. Compared to other FPS's, it did feel like we were moving at a snail's pace most of the time. The weapons were fun, but none more so for me than the energy sword. I'm sure in large maps it's less useful, but when quarters are cramped, I'll take it any day. Looking forward to trying out the campaign.

Bioshock progress

My poor little splicer continues to apply gene tonics like it was going out of style. Some of these are super useful, like the ability to simply vanish if I stand still for a second. I'm still trying to escape from the Fort Frolic area. I've rescued every little sister I've encountered so far, earning gifts every so often from their creator. Right now, I'm playing splicer hit man, working for Sander Cohen, a mad artist whom I'm sure will turn on me soon. Indeed, he already has, thinking I didn't like his master-work, but as I remain useful to him, I'm left to continue doing his dirty work for him. With luck, I'll get out of here soon, and continue my search for Andrew Ryan, Atlas, and the truth behind Rapture.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Game night

What started as a quiet evening of Jer and I playing Bioshock has escalated a bit. Recalling that Tim has yet to see the Xbox really in action, and that he currently has a 50" DLP at his disposal, we added him to the mix. Then figuring that where one or two were gathered in the name of gaming, so should all be gathered, we got AB in. And recalling that AB has been hounding me to pick up Halo 3 for a while now, I did so. So instead of Jer watching me play Bioshock, it's now four guys on a couch taking turns with Halo 3. Looking forward to it!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Spending the weekend with grandpa

Last weekend, I took Janie down to Pueblo, to spend some time with her family. Her grandfather is getting on in years, and J wants to spend as much quality time with him as she can. And this turned out to be a perfect weekend for it. We bought him a DVD recorder and tried to teach him how to use it, though I'm not sure I fully understood the details. On Sunday, we had grandpa mostly to ourselves, and took him out to the Pueblo Zoo, which was a surprisingly good time. The zoo is hidden in a park, you can't see it from the road, so it took some finding. Once there, it was perfect fall zoo weather, a little rainy, nice and cool, and the animals for the most part seemed quite happy. One thing I noticed is that the zoo lets you get up close to the animals, which seemed a change of pace from most zoos. A sun bear came up and gave us a good sniff as we stood three feet from him. It was a pretty good day, only marred by the fact that the penguin's weren't on display, as their habitat was undergoing a yearly rehabilitation. It was a good time.

Thursday, October 11, 2007


So while I'm dragging my heels on getting through some of the games I blogged about earlier, two additional games have come out which are screaming to be purchased. Halo 3 is the franchise first person shooter of the 360, and it some point, I'm going to have to get it. And just yesterday, the Orange Box came out, one of the few games I'd call a deal at $60, with Half-Life 2, Half-Life 2:Episode One and Two, Team Fortress 2, and Portal. I have a small confession to make. Despite playing most of the way through the game, I never completed Half-Life 2. Here's a great chance to fix that mistake.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

The worst job in the world...

Ok, so it's probably not that bad, in the big scheme of things. At my workplace, there are coffee stations, where one can get a cup of joe, or in my case, some green tea when pick me up's are in order. As they often are. Under these coffee stations, there are cabinets full of coffee related supplies, and one cabinet of foul darkness. For this cabinet contains tubs, wherein harried employees, too busy to walk all the way to the cafeteria to return their used meal trays, can stash the remains of their meals, allowing them to return to work that much sooner.

These cabinets smell strongly of old Italian dressing when opened. The smell makes me hold my breath any time I'm forced to go near them. And there is someone who has the unfortunate job of driving a small cart from coffee station to coffee station, collecting these tubs of filth to be returned to the washing station at the cafeteria. Each and every coffee station on this fairly massive campus has a dish cabinet, and all of them smell of Italian dressing. Truly, those tasked with collecting the refuse of others have both my respect and my thanks.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Fun Toyota WoW commercial

My gaming conundrum...

So I finally completed the last achievement I wanted to get in Crackdown last night, putting that one to bed. But I've been looking at the other games I've got on my to play list, and right now, it's a daunting task...

WoW: Janie and I played our lowbie Draenei for the first time in weeks. We have a regular group that quests in Outland on Thursdays, only lately, it hasn't been so regular. I'm worried about whether this will keep going. I want it to, if only as a way to hang out with friends I don't see too often (Brose in particular).

LotRO: Another fun MMO that I'm not playing nearly enough to make it worth the money. I keep wondering if I should cut back on my MMO expenditures, and if I do, which one do I cut? Or do I quit both?

Bioshock: All the reviews mentioned how quickly they got through this game. I have been taking my sweet time. First, I prefer to play with an audience (Jer loves to watch), and second, I've been creeping through the place, looking for every secret I can find. I don't even think I've reached the half-way point.

GRAW2: I bought this mainly to play online with Batty, but have had the most fun playing split screen with local folks (Batty and I have yet to play). It brings back the fun I used to have playing the Rainbow Six games at LAN parties. I still have to complete it's campaign mode.

Tie Fighter: Ok, what's this doing on here? Well, I'll tell you. While immersed in the Air and Space Museum's, I got the bug to do some flying. And although I had the following game on order, I needed my fix sooner, so I've been trying to get this classic running using DosBox. In my opinion, simply the best space combat sim ever (including the wonderful Freespace 2).

Flight Simulator 2004: An oldie, but a game that should run well on my hardware. I've got a full HOTAS setup from CH Products, along with rudder pedals. Looking forward to it. And finally...

Metroid Prime 3: Jer bought this one for me for a birthday present, and I'm very sad to say, it hasn't gotten the play time it has so richly deserved. It's been absolutely fun so far, but I just haven't had the time.

So what does one do? I mean, look at all this gaming goodness! I'm just one man! Lord help me when Mass Effect comes out...

Serious cat vs Scott


You decide.

Final DC pix update


Here's the last of the DC pix, fully updated now, though of course without descriptions, as I'm lazy. I want to label them, but I just don't care. Hope you enjoy!

Friday, October 5, 2007

DC pix, round two


Here's an updated DC gallery on Flickr. These are mostly from Janie's first few days in DC, sans Rose and I, hanging out with her other NHLI sisters. More to come.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

DC pix, round one


So everyone is demanding pictures, and being the easily bullied soul that I am, here's the first set. Janie took our camera with her, so when Rose and I arrived, we were left with only my camera phone, so apologies in advance for the pictures presented here. With luck, I'll get the regular pictures uploaded soon.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Back from DC

Hey everyone. Sorry for the lack of updates, been in our nation's capital since last Thursday, and didn't feel much like spending time in front of a computer. My knees are officially borked from all the walking, and Janie was feverish on the flight home, but we survived, and had fun while we were there. One thing that this trip definitely reinforced: buy a Lonely Planet guidebook before visiting new places, and use it. I've been a fan since my friend Batty turned me onto them years ago, and this one was top notch. We found fun bars in Adams Morgan we'd never have gone near without it, it never suggested a restaurant we didn't love, and it was generally useful the whole time we were there.

The highlight of the trip for me, as I knew it would be, was the Air and Space Museum, along with the new branch at Dulles. Seeing Space Ship One brought tears to my eyes, and walking though the doors at the Dulles branch, seeing the P-40 and Corsair flanking you (my two favorite WW2 fighters), with the Enterprise in the background, and then stepping forward to see the SR-71's a geek like me's dream. I have to buy a flight sim for my PC. My HOTAS has sat too long unused...

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

My friends are smart...

So AB submitted this little tip to the lifehacker blog about a month ago, but they just published it as a front page idea. Way to go AB!

Chasing pellets...

So Jer and I played some Bioshock last night on his 36" standard def set (verdict: very playable!), and we noticed this little homage to gaming past left by the level designers. Thanks Bioshock devs, made our day! Well, the game made our day, this was just bonus.

I failed at sleep...

So when Janie's out of town, I don't sleep all that well. In the past, I've dealt with this by staying up horribly late for the first few days, making me so tired for the following days that I'll gladly drop off to sleep at the first sign of a soft place to fall. However, since I'll be joining Janie in DC in a few days (tomorrow already!), being a sleep zombie didn't seem like the best way to go. Last night was especially bad. I finished getting a few things I needed for the trip located, watched a bit of TV, and went to bed right after midnight. I had two nightmares, one involving tiny Alien Xenomorphs jumping onto the bed and trying to take away my cats, whom I had to defend. The other, although I swore I'd remember it so I could tell you guys about it, is lost to me already. Speaking of the cats, the damn things are morning people, and routinely are up and doing stuff as early at 4 AM. Between waking up from two nightmares, and kicking squabbling cats off of the bed, I'm in no way ready for me day, despite it starting over an hour ago.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Lost ring update

Well, it still hasn't turned up, but we did discover that it's loss is covered by our homeowner's insurance. We haven't filed a claim yet, as we're still hoping that it may turn up. But if it doesn't, at least we won't be out the whole cost of the ring. I wish we had any info on it other than the sketchy details I can recall about the diamond and ring when we bought it over eight years ago.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Missing Janie...

So Janie's in DC, for the last week of a training she's been doing this year, and I'm missing her, as I always do when she's away. I got a voice mail (missed the call, sorry J), informing me that she's missing me too, and also that her wedding ring turned up missing today. So, two things. One, if you come across a lost wedding band in the DC area, let me know, it might be J's. And two, gentlemen of our capital city, hands off. She's mine.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

My feline doppleganger...

My friends say that I look like this cat. What say you?

Monday, September 17, 2007

I'm handy!

A long time ago, when telling my friends about my dad's penchant for finding old rusty jeeps and turning em into cool, fully functional jeeps, my friend AB commented 'what happened to you?', inferring that in my case, the apple fell further from the tree than is often the case. And he has a point. I dislike getting dirty. I'm not a do-it-yourselfer, for the most part, instead preferring to pay someone who knows more about a subject for their time and knowledge. However, when it came to my broken bed, I didn't know of any bed repair persons to call upon. So I headed to the Bungalow Depository to pick up a few things. The pictures below bear witness to the fruits of my labor.

bed repair 1

bed repair 2

bed repair 3

Friday, September 14, 2007

Help out Gamer Dad

GamerDad is a website run by a father, offering up reviews of games with kids in mind, and advocating playing video games with your kids, and being aware of what they're doing with their game time, something I think's a pretty good idea. Earlier this month, he suffered a heart attack, and surprisingly or not, running a gaming blog doesn't tend to carry the best health insurance. His wife has a request on the site asking for donations to help them out of their medical bills (he's already had multiple bypass surgery, with more surgeries to come). If gaming is a hobby you enjoy, go over and help out a bit if you can. There are lots of gamers in the world, if most of us pitch in even a little, it'll go a long ways to helping out a good cause and a good guy.

Lunch break

Jer at Culver's. He gets a bit messy.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Next X Prize: To the moon!

So Google is sponsoring a thirty million dollar prize for a team to develop a delivery system that can send a robotic probe to the moon and return live video and images, without government backing. Just as with the X Prize that brought us Space Ship One, this sort of stuff is incredibly inspiring to me. I want to see folks placing satellites at the lagrange points, I want to see us expand out from earth. I love this stuff.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

360 developments

So last night, I got to try the 360's voice chat feature for the first time (other than with a few morlocks on xbox live). My friend Batty signed on, and requested a chat, and after we figured out that he was muted, had a fun chat, wherein I convinced him that he needed to buy UNO. Unfortunately, it was too late for me to actually play a game with him, so he got started on Bioshock, and judging by his achievements, made good progress for one day of playing! Looking forward to playing some GRAW2 with you, Batty.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


All hail Meebo. After struggling with crashing clients all day, I finally decided to try a web based client, and Meebo seems to be working fine so far.


So, the company I work at has instituted a new policy, forcing all IM (well, at least AIM, ICQ, Yahoo and MSN) through a proxy, to make sure we aren't sinking ships or downloading virii. I could care less really, as I'm not in the habit of doing either of those things. But apparently this new setup only works with the default IM clients. I've long been a fan of multi-IM clients, especially Trillian, but Trillian, in both the 2.x and 3.x flavors, crashes with this setup. So does Pidgin. And so I'm left cut off, disconnected from my friends. I know that Skype's IM works, but none of my friends (save Batty in Japan) uses Skype in this manner. I'm still looking for a workaround, but in the meantime, I'll just be looking forward to 4 or 5 local time, when Batty's getting ready for his day across the Pacific.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Thanks, Tim and Sherri!

Tim and Sherri took J and I out as a birthday present for Janie. Of course, J's birthday was back in June, but our schedules had conspired against us getting together till now. We've decided to try and revive a tradition of meeting for martini's on Sunday nights. But as my stomach can still attest, all things in moderation. Especially martinis.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

The iPhone...

Damnit. I didn't need to know this. I stopped by the AT&T store with my friends Jer and Steph so Jer could see a demo model of the iPhone. They had two out, one connected to the store's wifi, and the other connected to AT&T's GPRS network. I now officially want one. I like my HTC Wizard, and it can do a lot of things that the iPhone can't (easily run third party apps for instance), but wow, is that an amazing, intuitive, and effective interface.

Good bye, Aaron and Sonoko!!!

This morning, before leaving for work, I said and hugged my good byes to Aaron and Sonoko. They aren't leaving until tomorrow, but they're heading for Denver tonight, so they don't have to get up quite as painfully early to catch their flight. Have a safe trip you guys, and thanks so much for staying with us!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

It's been a busy few days...

So Aaron and Sonoko have been staying with us for nearly a week. They head back to Japan on Friday, something I'm really not looking forward to. I've got few enough close friends these days, and those two definitely count towards that total. While they've been here, we've gone out to eat innumerable times, had martini's at our favorite martini place, mixed up some lychee martini's of our own, played enough Wii sports that my arms are aching today, and gone hiking/picnicking in Rocky Mountain National Park. Through a good part of that time, I've been fighting one heck of a cold too, which hasn't quite given up on me. In any case, thanks for coming to see us, Batty and Sonoko! We'll miss you guys tons when you go home! At least now that I have a 360, Aaron and I can schedule some game time every so often.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Good times...

So yesterday, Steph and Celeste and Janie all attended one of those parties where you eat and drink a lot while someone tries to sell you kitchen paraphenalia. Taking advantage of this, the significant others of those ladies got together at AB's with his 40+ HDTV and my Xbox 360 for some Bioshock, and then some GRAW2. Much fun was had by all, it's been a long time since I've been able to sit around on the couch and play console games for hours.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

*kicks self*

So I logged into my bank account, and noticed that a deposit had been made into my savings account. For $20,000. After a few hurried phone calls to Janie, we determined that neither of us had any businesses on the side pulling in that kind of scratch, and that somebody somewhere had made a mistake. So I jogged down to the bank, explained the situation, and the teller started sorting through the day's deposit slips. Turns out, someone had come in to make a $20,000 deposit today, only their account was one digit off from ours. Once again, life proves to differ from Monopoly. There are indeed bank errors in one's favor, but you don't get to keep the $20,000.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Found keyboard...

So I found this crazy ergo keyboard out in the hall at work today. I'm going to give it a spin, see if it is worth replacing the one I brought from home.

We're back...

J and I took the weekend to go to Sterling and visit with our friends Batty and Sonoko, who are in town from Japan, helping Batty's folks with computer work for their business. Aaron and Celeste joined us too (we crashed at AB's mom and step-dad's place, they spoiled us muchly), and J and I stopped by my folks to borrow my Jeep from my dad. We got to take it up into some hilly country with some cliffs and do a bit of exploring. It was a very fun weekend, though I'm left rather sore from bouncing around in the Jeep, and sunburned from being an idiot. The second day, I at least put on sunscreen before going out, and wore a hat, but the damage had already been done. With any luck, Batty and Sonoko will be up our way in the not too distant future, and we'll get to spend some more time with them before they return home.

Friday, August 24, 2007

This bed has a two person limit...

So last night, after Janie and I got done with our Thursday night WoW session (had an excellent Underbog run), our friends AB and C came over to check out Bioshock on the 360. Now, I consider it absolutely silly to run a 360 on anything but an HDTV. And I'm not silly. Unfortunately, we only have one HD set, and it's in Janie and I's bedroom. So when folks came over, we all clambered onto the bed to play games. And unfortunately for Janie and I, apparently we bought furniture designed to make sure we weren't into inviting friends into bed with us. The corner where I was gave way, the bed dropped about a foot, and everyone scrambled off before any further collapsing could occur. Using a cinder block wrapped in a towel, we rigged something for the time being, but both Janie and I ended up sleeping on the far side of the bed from the broken corner. I don't think we'll be getting any warranty repairs either, as the place we purchased this furniture from (a shop at some outlet malls) has already gone out of business. We'll be out of town most of this weekend, but when I get back, I'll get to try and find a more permanent fix. No cats were crushed in the destruction of this bed.

I love Penny Arcade

Check this out. It's a four page Wired article, but worth it. The guys Tycho and Gabe are some of my heroes, that's for sure, first for being so damn good at what they do, and second, for things like Child's Play, a charity they started which collects and donates video game systems and games to children's hospitals around the country. It makes me very happy that they're so successful, because they deserve every good thing coming to em. And someday, I'm going to make it to PAX.

Land of the free?

This article from the Washington Post details a manual used by the white house. In it, the policy seems to be, people can protest all they want, as long as the president doesn't notice.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


I cannot believe I'm sitting in my basement typing this. First, because I've been glued to my tv since I put the game into the xbox. And second, I'm now so scared of dark places that I should be sitting in my bedroom, with every light turned on, dual wielding flashlights.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Using the xbox as a media streamer

So, using Tversity, I was able to get my torrented TV playing on my HDTV last night. I'm super happy about this. Unfortunately there are a few quibbles I've got with it. Streaming media cannot be fast forwarded or reversed, so it helps if it comes in smaller chunks. I used Handbrake to convert one of my Gundam DVD's, and it looks great, but if I want to watch one of the last episodes on the disc, I've got to watch the whole thing. I'm going to change the way I grab media to favor single episodes over whole discs.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

It's working!

So after spending most of the weekend fighting with my wifi, I gave up, went to Home Depot, bought a 500 foot spool of cat 5, and ran my network to the 360. So far, I'd like to report that I'm going to likely suck at GRAW2, but the demo for Bioshock is so ridiculously stunning, it alone makes the 360 worth the price of admission. Of course, I could have just bought it for the PC, for less than the 360 version will cost me, but best not to think those thoughts. It does look beautiful on the HDTV.

Friday, August 17, 2007

So the 360 is here...

...but it's not online. Despite having no problems being able to connect to my wifi network from the room the 360's in, now I can't connect, either with it, or with other devices. I seem to have bumped something and halved the range of my wireless. I know the network itself is still working, as my MAME cabinet in the basement is still online. Don't you hate it when a new toy gets you considering completely rethinking your home network setup?

Just a quick update...

The 360 should arrive today. I'm really looking forward to it (especially in light of the incredible reviews Bioshock has been getting), but even once it arrives, I likely won't unbox it until Sunday or later. J's got plans for us in Colorado Springs tonight, and my nephew Tade is having his first birthday party tomorrow, so it's shaping up to be busy as always.

As for the RAM, I ran with the new stuff in a dual channel set up, but kept getting crashes when the system tried to read an address and couldn't talk to it. So it's out, and will be going back to Newegg soon. The old stuff is back in, and working fine. I had to run some group quests in the Barrow Downs in LOTRO last night, to 'test' it out. I think this should do nicely.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

I'm a jerk.

So yesterday my new RAM came in. I quickly got to work getting it installed. And, wouldn't you know it, the system refused to boot. After an evening of troubleshooting, it looks like my old, expensive ram doesn't like dual channel configurations, despite supposedly supporting it, whereas the new stuff does dual channel just fine. So, my options, I could keep the old stuff and return the new stuff, I could ditch the old stuff and run the new stuff in dual channel, thus doubling my memory bandwidth. Or I could keep fighting with it in the hopes that I could get both sets of memory to work dual channel. But I'm pretty much out of ideas there.

As to why I'm a jerk, I kept calling Jer, the friend who bought me the RAM as a birthday present, giving him the latest details and seeking advice on other things to try. He was convinced that the differently specced memory (the new stuff is DDR400, the old is a fictional spec of DDR600 designed for overclocking) was what was causing the problems. I thought otherwise. I feel like I was being a bit of a jerk, to the guy who had bought me the RAM to begin with. So, Jer, I'm sorry I was being a jerk. I'm mostly better now. I think I'm just going to stick with the new stuff in dual channel and call it good. If anyone would like to do some BIOS spelunking to see if there's a way to get both sets going, be my guest, but I'm out of ideas.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Xbox 360 annoyances so far...

1. Lack of built in wifi. I mean, come on. My fix, a bridge, which will allow me to connect to my WPA wifi network. And it costs about the same as the official wifi adapter, which doesn't support WPA.

2. Lack of media streaming unless you have a windows media center edition OS. My fix, an open source app which may do the trick. Of course, I won't know until I get the hardware in hand, which is still two weeks out. More annoyances as they come up.

UPDATE: Looks like I may have spoken too soon when it came to the media problems. I've read that this guide will help set up a pretty reliable configuration, and that it works under XP Pro. Now I'm just champing at the bit to try it out. No more watching downloaded TV on a laptop!

It is done...

So, after much hemming and hawing, I ordered an xbox 360 last night. I tend to be first and foremost a PC guy, but I believe there's room for consoles. I already own a Wii, which I enjoy quite a bit, but after seeing HD graphics, I was awfully tempted to add a 360 to the line up. The PS3 was ruled out on price alone, although it's slowly developing into an actually interesting console.

What finally sold me on the 360, besides my friend Batty's nagging, was the $50 price drop on the premium model, and the addition of HDMI output. Amazon was even nice enough to list the 360 premium's in two entry's showing which came with HDMI and which did not. Right before I placed the order, I noticed an accessory I hadn't seen before. A USB wifi adapter. For $90. Now I had assumed (yes, bad idea) that the 360 included wifi. I just couldn't comprehend why that wasn't included. And why on earth it would cost $90 for an adapter that didn't even support WPA. So I ordered a Linksys bridge instead. I just hope it works, the HDTV in my house is a long way from my wifi router.

I'm going to hold off buying any games for it until it shows up. And I'm going to try to buy used when I can. New 360 games tend to sell for $60, and I'm having a hard time justifying that. Looking forward to Bioshock though!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Thoughts on internet advertising

Today, I downloaded and installed an ad blocking plugin for Firefox, then wrote a regex to block a specific ad. Why did I go to this trouble? Because if a flash animated dancing alien tried to sell me a new mortgage one more time, I was going to start breaking things. Advertisers, if I'm willing to go to that amount of work to avoid your ad, you're doing something very, very wrong. Ads are a fact of life. The good ones may inspire laughter, or even a purchase. The worst incite violence. Please, unless you want to be personally responsible for setting off a tidal wave of people punching their monitors, enough with the crappy flash ads.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Need sleep badly...

After installing LOTRO the other day, my system performance has been less than great. My PC is no slouch, but it felt like the hard drive was paging constantly, and game performance went downhill every time this happened. My Windows install dated from right after I first built this PC in early 2006, so a clean install wasn't out of the question, it was just a pain I had hoped to avoid. Borrowed a 200 gig USB drive and got to work sometime around 8 pm last night. Even with USB 2, transferring all the data I wanted to save took forever, and I ended up ditching a lot of my torrented TV shows that I had already seen but wanted to keep. Got the OS install finished, and left with two different MMO's updating, while copying my backed up information back to the fresh, clean OS. Climbed into bed around three.

This morning, ran a sanity check with LOTRO. It does seem better, but I still saw some stuttering issues that had been the impetus for this little update. So, better, but not quite perfect. My friend Jer was going over my system specs, hoping to find some smoking gun as to why I'm having these issues, where he hasn't had any problems. His solution was to order me another gig of RAM. Thanks Jer! All right. I left my phone at home, and I need coffee. I'll be back in 15, assuming I don't fall asleep on the couch...

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Stories like this make my skin crawl


I remember a time when I was proud to be American. I wish that were still the case.

Missing Janie

Janie's on one of her training trips this week, leaving me to my own devices. This usually means I'm up at all hours playing games, taking breaks to go to work. At one point, I played so much because I enjoyed it. Now, I play because I can't sleep when J's gone, and I need the distraction from missing her. With Celeste's permission, I now present an IM discussion we had this morning on this subject.

Cecelia: You doing okay with Janie being gone?
Solar: Eh. I get all sad and mopey.
Solar: There was a time in Janie and I's relationship where I reveled in her trips. I could be a huge slob and play all the games that I want! But lately, I just miss her when she's gone.
Solar: Games, fun as they are, are a woefully poor substitute.
Solar: I prefer playing Janie.
Cecelia: umm
Cecelia: TMI!
Solar: :)
Solar: She has all these great buttons.
Cecelia: dude
Cecelia: Unfortunately she doesn't support multiplayer
Solar: lol

Sunday, August 5, 2007


You know when you have an itch that you just can't seem to satisfy? Thus Scott, this evening. Although I play World of Warcraft, I saw a friend playing Lord of the Rings online, and the Tolkein fanatic in me suddenly had to play. I borrowed a copy of the game from someone who no longer played, complete with account details, planning on just reactivating the account and giving it a whirl. After hours of installing at patching, I attempt to log in. No good. The user name or password must be incorrect. Luckily, the original account owner was online in WoW. A few phone calls, and I had new account info, which, matched almost exactly what I already had, and still didn't work. So I reset the password. I waited for an email giving me a link to follow to set a new one. The link claimed it had already been used, or had expired...

...gah! If I could buy a frelling copy of the game at this point just to play, I would. Instead, I'm going to go watch tv and eat ice cream. Gaming is such a harsh mistress.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Storm update

Well, despite having a few puddles of water in the basement last night, plus more heavy rain after J and I went to bed, things were fairly dry in the morning. As for the gutter spouts going into the ground by the foundations, I've been told that unless the builder was insane, these are connected to another pipe to divert the rainwater away from the house and into the soil. The leaks we had were simply due to the soil taking on more water than it could handle and getting saturated. All in all, I'm feeling a bit better about the situation.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Ah, the joys of owning a home...

So this storm passed through tonight. As my gaming system is in the lowest part of my basement, and that's where I spent most of the storm, I thought things were fine. Come to find out however, a lot of water has seeped through the southern wall. The gutters and drain pipes, instead of pushing the water out away from the foundations, are actually sunk right into the ground along the southern side of the house. This does not seem like a good design to me. As long as it keeps raining, more water is getting poured right by my foundations. Anyone have any advice?

My Jeep is pretty...

My parents took the CJ-3B with them to a big get together for Jeep fans in southern Colorado this week. It's sponsored by a large four wheel drive club, and there's folks from all over the country there going on guided trail runs and such. They've been having a good time, and taking the 3B on trails tougher than anything they've ever done before. Wednesday was vendor day, with everyone taking a break from the trails to attend vendor sponsored bbq's and look at all the new Jeep toys. They also had a 'show and shine' competition, where you could put your Jeep on display. Dad's 3B won first prize in the 1975 or older stock competition. I can't even say how proud I am!

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Yokohama at night

I found this on Digg, and as I've ridden the ferris wheel pictured here, thought I might present this to you for your approval. It's a 360 degree panoramic shot of Yokohama at night.

Congrats Brose!

My friend Ambrose has his very own IMDB entry! Check it out here! Here's hoping more film credits come his way! Can't wait for Eyeborgs to come out next year. Who's up for a release party?

Monday, July 30, 2007

RIP, Calypso the kitten

My friends Jer and Steph adopted a stray from a shelter that needed a good home. Turns out, all they could do was to give it love and comfort in it's final days. Although Calypso seemed a bit under the weather when they adopted her, she was pretty far gone with leukemia, and the poor soul didn't last it's first weekend. You can pay your respects here. Janie and I met the kitten briefly on Saturday, and our hearts go out to Jer and Steph.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

I had no idea...

...that the Harry Potter books were filled with Satanic references! At least according to this article. Now, I'm afraid I have to completely disagree with Lurlene Tyranna Shores, the learned author of the article. Sometimes, a name is just a name. Sometimes, there's no deeper meaning behind it. But for some folks, who are used to looking for deeper meaning in everything, maybe this has gone a bit far?

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Overlord update

So I've beaten two bosses so far. My corruption level (how 'evil' you are) is still at 0%. Still exploring underneath Heaven's Peak, trying to figure out what's going on there. I enjoy myself the most when I've got a clear goal and I can see how I'm going to get there. When I'm just wandering about trying to figure out where I should be going or what I should be doing, I get frustrated. Also, I dislike having to constantly change which minions I'm carrying with me. Sometimes there's not a handy place to send a few of my browns back to the tower, when I need just a few more blues to pick up another tower object stuck in the water.

It's pretty much done!

Things left to be done:
1.Build and install the spare tire carrier and jerry can holder.
2.Fix a leak on the heater.

Things that would prevent them taking the CJ-3B on their trip next weed:

Mom and dad took the 3B for a drive last night, and although the heater leak got mom a bit wet (dad'll just bypass the heater for now, they wont' need it), everything else ran great! I'm super proud of my dad, this jeep is absolutely beautiful, and it's running great to boot. Looking forward to the pictures from their trip.

Monday, July 23, 2007

The Jeep

So this weekend, Janie and I packed up and set off for my parents place. I visit more rarely than I should, mainly I think due to the fact that, as J and I don't have grandkids to present, we're less welcome there (I kid, I kid!). The goal of the weekend though was for me to help my dad with the CJ-3B. The fuel gauge had apparently driven dad to distraction throughout the previous week, but with a lot of help, it was installed and working correctly by Sunday night. Fuel is flowing to the engine, but not quite making it past the carburetor at the moment. Hopefully dad will be able to get that figured out soonish. He and mom were hoping to take this Jeep on a vacation next week, but unless it comes together rather quickly, they'll be taking their 1946 CJ-2A instead.

Oh, and the 3B is beautiful. Much darker than the pictures I've posted previously.

UPDATE: Dad just called, with the engine running in the background! I hope he gets it done in time to take it! There's still a long way to go though.

The final Harry Potter book.

Finished at 4:30 AM last night, less than 48 hours after I had received it. Had I nothing else to do, I'm sure I would have finished sooner, but as I'll soon relate, Janie and I were rather busy this weekend. I will say nothing about the book's contents, until everyone's had the book sufficiently spoiled by others.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Chore Wars

Inspired by this Penny Arcade comic, I've looked into Chore Wars, and since I'm a big dork, have started a party. RPG gamers are used to performing less than fun tasks for small rewards of virtual treasure and experience. Well, Chore Wars lets you gain virtual experience and items for completing real world less than fun tasks! It's a win win, satisfy the craving of the insane gamer in your household, and get a clean house out of the deal. Of course, as Tycho demonstarted in the comic linked above, the system can be taken advantage of.

BTW, if you are a brave soul who wishes to do battle against the forces of stanky, join the party of the the Collins Clean Crew, and bring light to the darkness, one dirty dish at a time!

Happy Anniversary Janie!

Well, we've made it eight years, as of today. So far so good. We think we can make it another 50. But look out for a messy divorce in 2057. Love you Janie!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


So I saw a demo of this at Jer's house, and it had promise. The premise of the game is that you, as a recently resurrected evil Overlord, must use your minions to bend the populace of the surrounding territory to your will, while at the same time, slaying the heroes who saw to your predecessor's demise. And although the game plays up the joys of being evil, the developers clearly left an out for those of us secretly wishing to convert our Overlords into Paladins. So far, the people of Spree (the nearby human town) think I'm just fantastic. I'm just starting on the mysteriously sacked Castle Spree section of the game, so it looks like I've got a long way to go, but so far I'm having a close approximation of fun.

Learning Japanese update

Despite the assurances that Japanese children find this to be ridiculously easy and uniformly find me to be an idiot, I continue to struggle to learn the hiragana characters. I can usually reproduce something that might pass for the five vowel characters, but as soon as you add in anything beyond those, your guess is likely better than mine. Batty and Sonoko are going to be visiting in August/September. Let it hereby be stated (I like to fail publicly) that I will try to have the rest of the hiragana memorized before they arrive. You know, in case they've forgotten how to speak English or something. Of course, this still won't help, as I don't know any Japanese vocabulary to use with my (supposedly) new found mastery of kana. *sigh*

Friday, July 13, 2007

The '59 3B

Words cannot express how excited I am. I just got this picture taken by someone's camera phone while I was in a meeting at work this morning. Looks like dad's almost done with the 1959 CJ-3B he's been working on. It's gorgeous!

UPDATE: Talked with dad, and it's very nearly complete. Wiring harness needs to be installed, some of the instrumentation needs to be finished, and the soft top needs to be added. Other than that, he's going to fabricate a new back bumper to match his custom front bumper, and build a spare tire mount for the back. He'll be taking this to a Jeep meet in southern Colorado this summer, but it's mine any time I want to borrow it. Once he gets done with his next project jeep, the 3B will actually get to come live at my place too! Thanks dad!!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Note to self.

When searching listings of dogs for cocker spaniels, one should type the full search term, even if Firefox finds what you're looking for when you've only typed 'cock'. Other people will wonder what you've been doing.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Trying to catch my breath.

And so the crazy busy summer continues. After having both Janie's folks and the Ferbers staying with us a week ago, this last weekend we drove down to visit J's folks with a trunk full of home office gear. Ended up buying Janie's dad a new PC, and we set up a small NAS to backup their business data.

This weekend is our friend Stephanie's birthday, so we'll be in town to attend those festivities. Then it's off to Yuma to visit my family and see my nearly completed Jeep. And then finally, the last week in July will be back home to celebrate Celeste's 30th.

Oh! And in late August, Batty and Sonoko will be visiting! They'll spend most of their time in Sterling (Batty does more IT stuff for his family than I do for mine), but we're hoping to get some time with them before they have to head back. We've missed those guys like whoa.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Another long gap between updates...

Hey everyone. Hope all's well. Last post, we were going camping with my folks. Well, that went off well, got to see all my sisters and their kids. Good times were had by most (Janie's not a fan of the outdoors sometimes, especially when she's allergic to pine pollen).

Following the camping, we had another busy week at work, and then this last weekend, or the great conjunction, as I'll call it. Early this year, Janie and I bought tickets for ourselves and for Janie's parents and sister to go see Corteo, the Cirque du Soleil show that was doing the rounds. The only date we could get decent seats was June 30th, so I snapped them up, and pretty much forgot about it for months.

In the mean time, my friends Aaron and Celeste bought a house back in our town, and started the move back here. Due to the closing times they were able to get, their move was scheduled for the next to the last week in June. Since they'd be all moved in by the end of the month, they decided to throw a housewarming/4th of July party the last weekend in June.

So the party plans go forward, and folks come up from New Mexico to play with everyone. We agree to host the Ferbers, some of our best friends, who were driving all the way up from Santa Fe. Our plans for Cirque by now are long forgotten...

By the time we finally realized that we had conflicting plans, it was far too late to do anything about it. So we had our friends staying with us, Janie's parents and sister, and we had to miss the party in order to attend the circus. It was fun seeing everyone, but I was really bummed missing out.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Camping this weekend

So this weekend is my family's annual campout. I'm totally unprepared for this. My outdoor survival skills have waned since my boy scout days. I have sleeping bags for Janie and I, hanging somewhere in the basement. Where their stuff sacks are, I've no idea. Everyone keeps assuring me that I own a tent, but everyone obviously knows more about that than I do. I must ransack my house for this, "tent", in the hopes that it will provide Janie and I with some shelter from the elements and mountain lions sure to plague the mountainous regions we will be in.

I kid, of course. Although I am unprepared gear wise, I love my family's summer campouts. I'm a little out of practice, but it's always great to get to hang out with my sisters and their kids. And stargazing in the mountain is always amazing. Hope we have some clear weather!

Monday, June 18, 2007

I have a 30 gb iPod sitting on my desk...

...and I couldn't be happier about it. Well, I suppose I could be happier if it had some music on it. The FedEx truck caught Janie just as she was leaving for work, and she brought it to me, so it hasn't had a chance to meet my PC with iTunes and load up on my music. But in the mean time, I can get the battery topped off, and get it ready to go otherwise. Yay for iPods!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Horrible image of the day


Click that link above. I dare you. Now look at that first image. If you're mind doesn't immediately short circuit while you scream "Gahhh!", then you must be a parent. For those of us who don't have any first hand experience with childbirth save for our entry into this world, that image is just freaky.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Got my new iPod nano...

...and promptly gave it to Janie as a birthday present. I'd been feeling kinda bad about Janie no longer having an iPod, especially since I'd gone all Jawa on hers and scavenged it for parts. Of course, hers had a bum hard drive, so I was just rescuing it's battery and bits to keep mine working, but still. So Janie's got a new nano, which I hope she enjoys very much. I may look into the 30 gigabyte fifth gen iPod. I don't really think I'll ever use the video functionality, but having the extra storage for future music purchases seems like a good idea. I've no doubt that if I actually tracked how often I listen to certain songs, I could stop carrying about half of my library with me. But I prefer to just be lazy.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Happy Birthday Janie!

On this day, some unspoken number of years ago, Janie Ledet was born. Yay Janie! Just in case the title of this web page didn't make it evident, I love you! Hope you're enjoying your well deserved day off!

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

The Frankenpod is dead...

...long live the Nano? After back to back hard drive failures on Janie and I's older iPods, I decided to look to a technology that might be a little less prone to such crashes. I've got an 8 gigabyte black nano on order with Amazon. Amazon has great prices on all kinds of things, but their shipping confuses me. Sometimes, I'll order something, and it will have shipped practically before I get the confirmation email. Other times, I'll order it, and it will sit in the pending state for a week or more before finally getting around to shipping. Anywho, I'm looking forward to being able to carry my music with me again.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Bonne Maman preserves

Batty turned us on to these while we were in Japan, and he said they were easy to find stateside. He was right, but they were out of the marmalade. Sorry for the bad pic, my cameraphone is pretty lame.

Why we love Leela...

even though she's nuts around other people.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Rose and John.

Out with J, Rose, and John at Elliot's martini bar. Geez, I need to shave.

Battlestar Galactica ending next season

It makes me a little sad, as it's been a wonderful TV show, but at the same time, I've become more convinced lately that shows should not continue once they've told their story. Some are designed to never end (Law and Order), with each episode set up so that they stand alone, but when you're basically telling a serial, the story can't keep going on and on. Let's hope this last season of my favorite show is the best so far.


Sorry, haven't posted anything for a bit. Been busy at work, and honestly, tales of what I do at work every day don't make for interesting reading. But to bring you up to date on some old blog postings, I've got the Prius back, and it is glorious. So glad to have my faithful car by my side once more! On the less happy side, the Frankenpod looks to have gone to join the great multitude of first and second gen units in Heaven under Jobs. I'm leaning towards getting a flash based nano, an eight gig preferably, but that has not yet gotten approval from all parties (i.e. Janie), so we'll see. Sucks, too, as I had ripped three new CD's to the old iPod in the last two days...

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

And taking it back to the shop...

In the rush of getting my wonderful car back, I didn't inspect it quite closely enough. There are some bubbles under the clearbra thingy they replaced on the driver's side fender, and on the passenger side, there's a bit too much of a gap between the bumper and fender. Neither were very obvious, in my defense, but now I've got to be carless for a bit longer. Moh.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Getting the car back.

So the damage wasn't much beyond the $500 deductible, but I'll gladly pay that rather than drive around with my poor dented Prius. Jer's going to give me a lift to the shop to pick it up and pay this afternoon. I'm hoping it's all pretty again! Maybe that'll take the sting out of the price a bit.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Ubuntu 7.04

So I've experimented with Linux for years, running Slackware, then Debian, then Red Hat, on and on. Recently, the flavor of the month has been Ubuntu, and it's been some pretty good stuff. I was running WoW under Wine with only minimal trauma, although audio driver issues eventually forced me back to the warm embrace of Windows. However, I may have to revisit that with the latest Ubuntu release, 7.04 "Feisty Fawn".

I keep an old laptop around, mainly for watching downloaded TV that Janie and I missed on the Tivo for some reason, or to browse on while I'm working out on the elliptical trainer. It had been running the previous Ubuntu, 6.10, and since I never store anything on it I want to keep, just stream stuff across the network, it made for an easy target to try the new OS.

My biggest complaint with 6.10 and this particular system has been the wireless drivers. I've got a 3Com 802.11 a/b/g PC card in the system, with an Archeros chipset I think, and although 6.10 works fine with WEP encryption, to get WPA, I had to install a bunch of additional software, none of which I ever got working correctly. So for the most part, I just used the system with my FON router to surf, and that kept me from accessing any of my saved content on my desktop.

Feisty however includes some new drivers, and within moments of the install completing, I was online on my g network with WPA. Now I can stream old tv shows and such right to the laptop, instead of copying things to a memory key first. If you're interested in running Linux on the desktop, check out Ubuntu, although if you're interested in running Linux on the desktop, I'm guessing you already have. Next stop, upgrading my Linux partition on my gaming rig, and getting WoW running again. Maybe I'll have better luck with the audio drivers this time.

Monday, May 21, 2007

And now, the rest of the story...

So Janie and I were driving to see some friends, as a first stop on our way to seeing her family in southern Colorado. We're going about 80 (speed limit is 75) while passing a chevy pickup overloaded with rectangular hay bales. One falls off, and decelerates rapidly in front of us. I slow to 70 and do my best to get out of its way, but it's like a football, changing direction every time it hits. It ends up striking the Prius a glancing blow off the driver's side, but does some pretty significant damage on its way.

The fellow driving the truck has seen all of this, and slows down. In the confusion of just having been hit by a bale of hay on an interstate, I pass him. By the time I've determined we're ok, he's way back behind us, getting lost in the crowd. I slow, and get off at the next exit to check the damage, expecting him to follow to exchange info. He doesn't stop. We don't get his license plate number. We get stuck with the insurance.

So, whoever you are, driver of that dark chevy crew cab, know that on this day, you've made an enemy. Your day will come, sir! *throws down gauntlet*


Hay bale on highway: 1, Prius: 0

Thursday, May 17, 2007

The most perfect ceiling fan ever

We've got three ceiling fans in the house right now. Janie would never let me replace one of them with this. But I want too!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

How to unimpress your wife.

Janie recently asked me to set up a website and forum for her and some folks she's attending some trainings with, so they can chat outside of the week long trips. I set things up in the course of an evening, for which I was given much praise by Janie, and my ego was suitably inflated for the soon to come comeuppance.

I was using the site as a handy ftp dump to put files I'd need to access online later, and in going to clean up the unneeded files, I accidentally deleted the forums.

I explained my transgression to Janie, and told her I'd do my best to fix it. Luckily for me, I hadn't done anything to the database, and the host I was using was good about backups, so with a few emails and a single shell command I had things back up and running. Sometimes my ineptitude surprises even myself.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Anger inducing topic of the day.

The following is a repost of a forum post I made at

So Janie IM's me today and asks if we've had any strange account activity on one of our credit cards, as the card company just sent her an email asking about a $309 dollar transaction. I check the account, and see, well, gee, the only $309 dollar transaction was us paying off this card earlier in the year. But then why do we seem to owe $40? And what are all these charges to some company called TLG? So I do some quick searching.


Turns out, TLG seems to be a company who provide "synergy", or some such. They're the company behind the failed bid to create a terrorist tracking system by watching everyone's credit. And they're in bed with credit reporting services and credit cards, offering services to them as well. In this case, TLG took on the guise of "Privacy Guard", a service offered by Chase credit cards to insure you against privacy theft. Gee, the only way I feel my privacy's been violated lately is by these charges on my credit card that I never signed up for...

After calling Chase, and being forwarded through their system, I finally get ahold of a fast talking customer service rep at Privacy Guard. She tells me that Janie signed up for it by answering "yes" at some point during a past call to Chase. Hrm. I've said yes about 50 times so far in this call, what all have I magically signed up for? She then tells me that since Janie hasn't used the service for which she signed up, that the service would not be canceled to allow Janie to take advantage of it.

Small black holes exploded behind my eyes. Crackly voices in my skull demanded that I give in to the dark side. I politely explained that leaving this "service" on my account was not acceptable and that it needed to be removed immediately. At which point I was given a cancellation number and told that the amounts charged would be refunded.

So, keep an eye on your credit card statements. Look askance at anything starting with "TLG". And don't trust Chase.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Learning Japanese

So, in what is no doubt one of the dorkiest pursuits I could possibly pick as a hobby, since returning from Japan I have a desire to learn some Japanese. I took French in high school and in college, with dismal results. The difference here is that I actually have friends in Japan who I'd like to talk to (we'll ignore the fact that they both speak English for the moment), and Japan has a bunch more games and cartoons that I'd like to play/watch than France. So I've begun trolling the net looking for resources to help me out. Most of them are fairly silly, but there are a few that I think might help. I now have a Japanese word processor on my Pocket PC phone, complete with Japanese/English dictionary. And in various flash card games online, I've managed to recognize the hiragana for i twice! Woo! Progress. We'll see how much progress I make. I've been bugging Batty with questions about the language way too much, and Celeste has flat out told me that if I try to discuss Japanese grammar with her one more time, we're no longer friends. I'll start with just trying to learn the hiragana and katakana and go from there, I suppose.

Have you read my blog?