Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Subtle but Geeky - My Review of Star Wars Darth Vader Hoodie by Marc Ecko

Originally submitted at

Wear your favorite villain. Darth Vader's armor is featured in front and in back of this hoodie with the full-zip, vented hood doubling as his helmet. Pieced design with vinyl inserts, zip-close pockets and Marc Ecko and Star Wars patches. Rib knit sleeves and cuffs. Cotton / polyester.

Subtle but Geeky

By Schadwen from Pacheco, CA on 3/31/2010

5 out of 5

Chest Size: Feels true to size

Length: Feels true to length

Sleeve Length: Feels true to length

Pros: Comfortable, Stylish, Warm

Best Uses: Going Out, Casual Wear

Okay, so I haven't washed it yet, but I'm really happy with the look and feel of the hoodie. I'm looking forward to wearing it to Wondercon 2010 this weekend.



I had been watching this hoodie for a while, watching the price drop, and finally it hit a price I wouldn't feel bad paying for a geeky fashion accessory. And added bonus to this is that when I ordered the hoodie, it was one price, and then today when I went to write my review it was $10 cheaper. I called customer service, and they will be crediting me the difference since it was within 14 days.

Things Don't Change

About twenty-four years ago, I was on my first solo drive. We were living in Glen Arm, Maryland, a semi-distant suburb of Baltimore, and because of this the post office was even farther out in the middle of nowhere.

Because I had a junior prom coming up, I was being allowed to drive alone, and so because we had a package to pick-up at the post office, I was sent out for my first solo drive. There was still the occasional patch of snow on the ground (yards and woods, not on the roads), and so it really didn't seem like that big of a deal.

On my way back, I was right by our volunteer fire department when the siren went off. You can only imagine what went through the head of my sixteen-year-old self. My heart racing, I continued on home, waiting for the fire truck to come roaring up behind me. I never saw anything more until a couple miles later a jeep-like vehicle with a flashing red light came racing down the road towards the fire station, one of the volunteers on his way to help.

Now, in the words of Bill Cosby, "I told you that story to tell you this one."

Yesterday, I was on my way home from work, and was passing by the Pacheco fire station. Right when I'm in front of the doors, the truck starts pulling out and the lights go on. And I'm ready to turn left, and there are cars coming impeding my progress. Luckily, the next few pulled to the side and I ducked across and pulled over, but it brought back a little slice of my fear from two dozen years ago.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Yesterday and Today

We've got a big project on a deadline at work. We've got 79 limited Phase-I reports to prepare that are due Thursday.

So I spent 11 hours yesterday doing some cleanup on 14 of them, and then ensuring page breaks and table of contents formatting on 45 of them. As they come in from editing this week, I'll be doing the formatting for the last 34. At least this way I don't have to use vacation time for Friday's visit to Wondercon.

Today, we rest. And mourn the loss of the University of Kentucky to est Virginia in the men's NCAA basketball tournament.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Monday, March 22, 2010

Beer Bread

Today I tried two things at once. First off i tried a recipe for making beer bread from scratch. that way I didn't have to be locked to the Trader Joe's mix. I also tried making a Black & Tan beer bread. I did that by making a batch of Bass and a Batch of Guinness draft. I made the Bass batch first, and split the batch into two loaf pans. Then I did the Guinness batch and put it on top. I was kind of worried if the Guinness batch would work or not since it had nitrogen in it instead of carbon dioxide, but it's turned out incredibly well. And the recipe turned out lighter than the TJ's mix.

I'm very happy

And the two-tone color looks so cool. And John, I promise to bring two loaves to the next game.

The Weekend

So, Paul was moved out of the ICU Sunday afternoon. He's doing very well, all things considered, and is quite alert. He'll not be moving to a hospital closer to home until near the end of this week as they have to reposition a screw in his pelvis.

We all thank everyone for their positive thoughts, and ask that they continue as he moves through the healing process.


In other news, my cousin Kiel is a basketball star. Lincoln College won the Division II NJCAA title in men's basketball on Saturday. My little cousin who used to just barely crack the seal on a soda can because he liked to drink the fizz, and who I remember mostly as this kid who maybe came up to my ribs is going to be big in his coming NCAA career, and hopefully in the NBA as well.

Congratulations, cousin Kiel.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Paul and his Motorcycle

One of the guys I met through the Sorrells is Paul. He's a computer guy, and loves his motorcycle. Every couple months he'll go to Infineon Raceway (what used to be called Sears Point) and race around the track.

Friday morning he was involved in an accident on his way to work in San Francisco. The was coming down the Fremont Street off-ramp, and hit the guardrail on one the left side and shot across to the right side and fell 40 feet to a parking lot below where he fell onto a parked SUV.

He's in ICU right now with damage to his liver and one kidney, a broekn pelvis, collar bone, the bones around his eyes, and his nose.

I'm going with Jennifer and the Sorrells to see him today. We're all trying to remain upbeat.

Keep him in your thoughts for a full and speedy recovery.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Book and Movie

Last night Jennifer and I watched "Time Crimes," a Spanish time travel movie.

It's very straightforward, and doesn't require repeated views to understand what's going on. It just goes to show that everyone should know about time travel just in case they get caught up in a causal loop. The DVD was dubbed which was good because you need to be watching for what goes on. Definitely a good movie.

Then after the movie, Jennifer and I read. I finished Charles Stross' Halting State, and in the last couple chapters I figured out what he was doing. The book is written around three characters, and all are in second person. Given the theme of the book, I finally figured out that he was treating it as if you were playing the character in the book like a character in an RPG.

In a game it's best to describe yourself and your actions in the first person to better immerse yourself. The gamemaster then would speak to you in the second person for what you see and how people react to you. It's a good twist on storytelling, and I enjoyed the book.

Tree Update

So this morning there was a tree service out working on taking the tree apart. It only took the property management company 14 hours to get someone out there.

Go Kiel!

My cousin Lisa lives in Illinois, and her son Kiel goes to Lincoln Junior College. He got a scholarship there, and plays basketball. This year, they're in the NJCAA championships, and are actually in the Final Four. They're playing today. And we're all rooting for him.

The best part is Kiel is now being courted by big name schools: UCSF, USC, IU, and Florida State to name a few. There's so many, Lisa says she's losing track of them all.

Go Lincoln and go Kiel!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Tree Falls, No One Dies

When I came home today, I lined up to back into my garage as usual and this is what I saw down the row of condos.

Jennifer came out with me and we talked to the homeowner that the tree affected. She said she had called the emergency services line for our property management company, and that the tree had fallen about 5:00.

The gate at the end does not open. It is locked and only the property management company and the fire department have the key. All because apparently people were using the complex as a cut through. Yes, it's just that stupid.

Anyway, it's now after 11:00 and no one has shown up to take care of the tree. Anyone with a vehicle beyond the tree is trapped inside until it is taken care of. I'd be damn pissed if it was me and it hadn't been taken care of yet. We're going to see how long it takes for some sort of action to be taken.

Now fortunately, no one was hurt, and it looks like the only damage is to the tiles over the garage, so hopefully everything can be taken care of and repaired before the next rains.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Erik, Arachnid Hunter

This morning I got a call from Jennifer. Slightly panicked she said that there was a huge spider in the dining room. she said she had gotten Pom out of the house, and covered the spider with a bowl.

I asked her about it and she said she could see the hairs on it like a tarantula. she said she would send me a picture of it. So I waited for the picture. it wasn't what I was expecting, but I did appreciate the nickel for size. She's truly become the wife of a geologist, although I tended to use individual Starbursts in the field.

After I finally got the picture (which I will try to post tomorrow, my phone's battery has died), I texted her to let her know that I would take care of it at lunch, and that she didn't have to worry about it, because I knew she had an appointment around then.

So at the beginning of my lunch break, I drove home and found this in the dining room.

I took a few pictures, and then thought about what I needed to do to get rid of the spider.

Finally, I thought of universal disposal, and got an edgeless cookie sheet out, and slid it under the bowl. This agitated the spider, and I got a better picture of him.

After the next set of pictures, I took him to the bathroom, and slid him off into the toilet bowl.

And then he went the way of all things.

Later, I told Jennifer everything was okay, and that I was keeping the nickel as me hero's fee.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Really Bad Tattoos

One of the sites that I visit regularly is Ugliest Tattoos. They post a couple really poorly done or strange concept tattoos everyday.

Then there's a another site I found today. They're a NSFW branch of another site I visit regularly for funny pictures. Today they had a collection of lower back tattoos. Of course the barbie doll is hilarious, but I think the two most intense ones are the butterfly across the cheeks, and the one with 1 Corinthians 13. And it's not like the text is that small either.


I was back at work today and almost lasted the whole day. i got tired at the end as I started coughing more and more.

Tomorrow will be better. I'm just looking forward to getting back into the gym again.

Monday, March 15, 2010

And More Blargle

I had a horrible voice this morning and annoying congestion, so I stayed home.

Hopefully, I'll be back to work tomorrow.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Blargle Flargle

Thursday I woke up with a puffy feeling in my throat. The rest of the day was okay, but I wasn't feeling 100%.

Friday was all right, but that night was a bit off from the congestion.

Saturday we went to a party, and while I kept the drinking to a couple imperial black and tans, the party was loud, and my voice started breaking about halfway through.

Today I stayed down with just reading and television. And lots of fluids: water and TJ's lemonade.

I just hope that I don't sound like I'm still going through puberty tomorrow at work.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Generic Blog Title

I'm a fan of Da Vinci's Notebook, an a capella gorup that has many clever songs. One of my favorites is "Title of the Song" a generic song that is done in a boy band style.

Then yesterday, I saw this video on YouTube:

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

My Name is Erik and I'm a Clickaholic

Facebook is not about networking. Facebook is about clicky games.

I've played many of them.

Dragon Wars. Pirates Rule the Caribbean. Hero City. Mafia Wars. Mobsters 2. Castle Age.

And those are not in any way a significant percentage of the games available out there. I have avoided Farmville as much as I could. I'm on it, but only to help friends. I don't play it.

These games make their money by people wanting to be the best at them with the best upgrades and so you can buy points or install spyware or apply for credit cards that will give you a certain amount of points.

I had recently cut back to two games, and finally about a week ago, I cut back to just one.

Then yesterday, I read this article on Cracked.

Now, there is a significant difference between the clicky games and regular video games. In video games there is animation, where as in the clicky games you just click and are told a result. There is a story, and pictures, but the pictures don't move and I don't even read the stories.

However, it's going to be hard to play the game now without thinking about reaching for a food pellet.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Suprise Visitor

Saturday, Jennifer was out for the morning, and while I was at my computer, I heard this strange tapping at the window (and right now The Alan Parsons Project's "The Raven" comes on my iPod).

I turned around and didn't see anything, so I went back to what I was doing.

Soon I heard another tapping, and I turned around and saw a tiny little bird on the outside ledge looking in. Not at me, but into the room. He kept coming back, so I took some pictures.

In this first one, you can see him flying:

In these two he is down near the bottom left corner of the window. You can just see his head:

One other time before I could get down and take the picture, he was perched on the divider of the two windows looking in sideways.
As I kept looking in, he retreated into the bushes, and didn't come back.
I told Jennifer about it, but didn't think anything else about it. Until today, when she called me to tell me the bird was back.
Apparently it's taunting Pom. Jennifer can see the window from her desk because our desks face each other. She said the bird kept tapping until Pom came in to look at it. Then of course, she wanted out to go chase the birds.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

The Greatest Sequel

Tonight, Jennifer and I watched Star Trek II - The Wrath of Kahn, and it holds up.

It more than holds up, it has to be one the most entertaining sequels ever made.

of course there is the occasional cheesy dialogue, but the movie as a whole is boggling.

The plot moves consistently. The music is amazing. You see all of your favorites do something extraordinary. And it sets up another sequel.

If only they could all be so good.

And since this will bring up the argument/rule of odds versus evens, I give you the Explanation.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Reading Slow Down

So I'm having some issues with the Charles Stross book I'm reading.

It's a collection of short stories around one man or his daughter. The first story really bothered me because it was going along so well, and then ends with the man being drugged and raped by his ex-wife. I'd read this one before, and to have the book start with that story made it hard for me to continue.

I'm still persevering, but the ex-wife is so annoying and upsetting that anytime she's mentioned I shutdown.

So I'm not reading as fast as I'd like, but maybe I'll be able to pick-up the pace soon.


The excavation Oakland is now done. We're backfilled, and now we're taking care of the topsoil and the rest of the site4 restoration. Then we can try for closure in a year or so.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

My Eyes, Let Me Show You Them

Yesterday we got rained out at the excavation. We're ready to backfill after getting all of our confirmation samples coming back below detection levels. However with the rain, the last slot looked like a muddy bath tub. Yesterday we had 6 to 8 inches of water in it. This morning we had about a foot. Hopefully, it will have time to percolate away, and we can get the hole backfilled tomorrow.

So with a free afternoon yesterday, I called to get an eye check-up. They had an opening at 4:00 so, I hurried on over.

I got the exam, and it turned out that my previous exam (at the Costco in Concord) had given me too strong a prescription. By 0.5 (right eye) and 0.75 (left eye) too strong. So today I'm wearing new contacts that are the next generation of silicone called something like Opti-Infinity. They're more gas permeable, and are half the price of he Night & Day I've had for the past two years.

A nice turnout all around.

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