Friday, July 30, 2010

Link Dump

All right, first?

Nerd art.

You can click on each one, and it will give an explanation. Some lead to a series of pictures. This one is the one that led me to the site. It reminds me of the cell cake that I made for a final project for my biology class as a freshman in high school.

I wish I had a picture of it. I'm sure there are pictures of it somewhere (unless they washed away when Mom and Dad got flooded during their remodeling), or they're somewhere in my big bog o' pictures that I want to scan.

The only downside to the cake was that the top layer fractured into three pieces on the way to school. It survived and was wonderful, but didn't stay as pretty as I would have liked.

I remember using M&Ms and icing for the nuclear bodies.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Inception Soundtrack

All right, I' don't know whose Idea it was. Perhaps it was Christopher Nolan, or maybe Hans Zimmer. Maybe it was in the screenplay, or possibly a collaboration.

However it came about, this is one more level of a mind trip to the movie.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


Among others tings, for my birthday I received a gift certificate to Reaper Miniatures. And so I was able to purchase many new figures to paint.

There's a lot that goes into the painting though.

First there's the opening of the packaging and laying them out. Each figure has to be checked for burrs and remnant sticks from the die casting process. Then bits tend to get bent, so they need to be spread out. And some have attachable pieces that need to be cut off their stands so that they can be painted and attached later.

For some, I glue a washer onto the base. Those that have a very small base need something that will lower their center of gravity so they don't fall over when (never if, always when) the table gets bumped during a game. I use Duco Cement for all of my gluing metal to metal needs. It also work really well for ceramics. I've repaired a few cups and mugs with it.

Now they get laid out in a soda case box, and primed. I've got a good can of gray that's almost out, so I'm going to have to buy a new one soon. The primer allows for a better adhesion between the colored paint and the figure. Plus it helps some of the fine details become visible as opposed to the fresh shiny metal.

And final I get to paint. But there are so many little choices. What color will the armor be? Do I need to mix my own colors, or do i have something that will work? Once I mix a color is everything covered that needs to be, and can I recreate the color for touch ups? If there is extra color, are there other figures that I can use the leftovers on?

Once the figure is completely painted, I can glue on the extra pieces like arms, shields, or birds. hen , I tend to paint a little over the glue point.

Finally, I protect the paint job with a sealant spray. This helps protect the paint job from scratches.

And then once it's dry, it's ready for use in a game or display in my miniature army.

Monday, July 26, 2010

No, the Rum is Not Gone

Saturday was entirely wonderful.

We began the celebration of my birthday at Angel Fish Japanese Restaurant in/on Alameda. We had seven of us at the time, and I was told later by people who had their backs to the wall that we had a variable staff between 2 and 4 who were constantly waiting to help us.

The fish was wonderful. Truly some of the most tender ahi, I have ever had. And the typical sushi was only the tip of what was available. One person had a gorgeous ahi salad that was a pile of various green leaves, with chucks of raw ahi, and liberally sprinkled with flying fish roe. Jennifer and I will definitely go back when we're out that end of the bay.

Then we migrated to Forbidden Island. There I was tenderly cared for by my friends. We began with a Virgin Sacrifice, a multi-serving bowl that was prepared by pouring the rum into it, and lighting it and the volcano at the center on fire. Then it was sprinkled with spices (mostly cinnamon) which sparked and flared, then it was topped off with more rum, mango juice and ice. I was in heaven. And despite what some people might say, it did not have too much cinnamon. Following the Virgin Sacrifice, I was given a Scorpion Bowl which is my favorite rum drink. This one is similar to the Virgin Sacrifice, but centers on citrus and pineapple.

An added bonus was the discovery that Forbidden Island had St. George's Spirits whiskey on hand. It's a pretty good whiskey that they age in recycled bourbon barrels. It was our first taste (because we did not get to taste it at our tour two years ago), and it's really a fun whiskey. It was fun listening to different people describe the flavors they got out of it. I just enjoyed it.

Sunday, Jennifer enjoyed in our own way, and I shed my minimal hangover headache. I've actually had worse headaches from caffeine withdrawal, so I wasn't in too bad of shape.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

I May Have Made an Error in Judgement

Yesterday, I finally got it across to my supervisor just how light on work I was.

In the afternoon he sent out an email to the entire company, principals and program managers, saying that I am available for work.

Monday could be extremely interesting.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Anti-Protest

Okay, so I have yet to go to a San Diego Comic-Con. I've been very happy at Wonder-Con. Also I have not noticed the protests around the Moscone Center, but that could be my obliviousness. Or the Baptists could be more interested in protesting against the Gays and their horrible agenda.

So I had been ignoring news like this and this.

Now I remember the great flash crowd that performed their anti-protest. Their sings were awesome.

And then today, Hijinks Ensue had the following comic:

And this is as it should be. Of course, my favorite sign is the one quoting J'onn J'onzz 3:16.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Party Like It's My Birthday

This evening I discovered a new blog. But first the back story (oooh, channeling Paul Harvey).

I got a new grill about two weeks ago. Jennifer and I decided it would be my birthday present

It's a side-by-side combination of propane and charcoal, plus it has a side burner. I did a lot of research beforehand with Home Depot and Lowe's comment section. The one I had wanted turned out to to be very stainless in its steel, so I started looking elsewhere.

This one was one of the highest rated on Lowes' web page, and was very affordable. So we have retired the grill that was my Dad's first gas grill and had been given to us when he got his new one. I don't even want to think how old it is. it was wonderful to have for the time we had it, but I love my new one.

What I really like about it was the cover. Jennifer said that if it was going to be as big as it is that we needed to cover it to protect it. And the cover even has extensions for the smokestacks

Now I can grill quickly on the propane side, or use charcoal on the other side. Or even smoke on the other side if I want. Or a variety of other combinations.

But on to the new blog.

Today being my birthday, I was going to grill. Jennifer and I had visions of a seared ahi tuna on a bed of lettuce and then a filet and mashed potatoes.

But then I started re-reading American Gods by Neil Gaiman. Not too far into the book the main character, Shadow, is eating his first meal after being in prison. It is pitched to him as the best chili in the state. As he's eating it, he knows it's not the best because his wife, Laura, makes the best chili around. Neil then goes on to give hints of the ingredients in the chili.

So I suddenly had a craving for chili. But not just any chili, Laura Moon's chili.

So I went to my trusty Internets, and entered the search terms "American Gods chili" and what I came up with was The Geeky Chef.

Now for me when I am scrolling down for a Neil Gaiman recipe and on the way cross a Star Trek soup recipe, and then an Earthling's attempt at a Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster. I figure I'm in good hands.

Unfortunately I was hungry, and started cooking without checking all of the ingredients. So what I have made is not Laura Moon's chili, but it is very inspired by it.

And now I'm following a new blog. YAY! And all this without a plug for True Value... oops. Damn!

Monday, July 19, 2010

The Roller Coaster of Activity

Friday: Nothing, just the climb before the weekend.

Saturday: Out with John to Beckett's, then Games of Berkeley, then Jupiter, and then multiple attempts to see "Inception".

We looked at the schedule, and thought it was too Long a wait to see it at the UA in Berkeley, so we got on BART and went to his place, got in his car, and went to AMC at Emery Bay. Where it was sold out. There was still plenty of time to get to El Cerrito to see it at the Rialto, but it took us 20 minutes just to get out of the parking structure. We got to the Rialto just as the previews started, but were forced to sit to the left on cowboy row.

Still, a pretty cool movie. All I can say about it is that begin paying attention the moment it starts. And while the effects are very cool, the movie itself is not effects driven like so many have been recently. It actually has a story.

Sunday: Jennifer and I had and amazing breakfast at Magoo's (cinnamon and vanilla French toast for me), then his the bead sale at JoAnn Fabrics for Jennifer's latest distraction.

The evening, I went over to my parents' for dinner for an early birthday celebration, and had some of the best corn on the cob I've had in a long time.

And today, we're back to the weekly events.

Except tomorrow should be Stage 2 of birthday festivities.

Thursday, July 15, 2010


In the past three days I have encountered as many instances of the poor use of affect/effect. It's a bad trend I have recently seen where it appears that editors are allowing spellcheck to do all of their work for them.

Causes have effects.

Escapes are effected.

Accents are effected.

Change is effected.

In general, affect is a verb and effect is a noun. The above are the exceptions.

I doubt if this will have any sort of palpable effect.

Now with that our of my system, I'm going to enjoy my desert. ;-)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Business Cool

I'm not normally into the extreme gadget multi-tools.

I have my Leatherman Wave in my briefcase. I have a Sog Powerassist in my Tumi bag. I have a Leatherman Micra in my pocket.

But these? These are amazingly cool.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Friends and Links

So John and I tend to be each other's biggest blog fans. I link to something or tell him about it on YIM, or he does the same, and we'll tend to link to each other on it.

Today on Facebook, he linked here.

This is like a webcomic I read about five years ago, and if I could remember whose it was, I would go find it (the more I think about this is could be Dork Tower, but I'm not positive.). The hero of the strip is at a theatre around the time of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. He overhears two kids talking about what a ripoff LotR is of Star Wars. Then one says that he has heard that there is a novelization out, and that he might pick it up.

Always remember, that in order to understand recursion, you must first understand recursion.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Worn Out

Tonight is the end of a long and yet insanely fast weekend.

Friday the last Phase I report was uploaded. We're all very happy that it is done, but we're hoping good things come from the next Phase.

Saturday was game day, and we had nearly ten hours of straight combat. We were hosed from the beginning, but it was good to have a challenge.

Sunday, Jennifer, the Sorrellians, and I went to the Mayhem Festival at the Shoreline Amphitheatre. it was my first time at that venue, and we had a great time. Jennifer got Rob Zombie's signature on her shirt, while Steve got it on his leg above a tattoo of Rob. He got it permanently inked in today. We thoroughly enjoyed In This Moment, and Five Finger Death Punch. The big fun was seeing Rob Zombie perform. He was the next to last performance, while the final performer were the band KoRn.

We left after their first song. Now all of use will tell you that Rob's lyrics don't make much sense. And apparently they don't always make sense to Rob either. But at least he seemed to be there for the fun; KoRn was just there to be seen. they were boring and had no spark. We said that Rob played with us while KoRn played at us.

Still a great time was had, but we didn't get home until midnight, and I had a health and safety meeting to attend at 7:30 this morning. I made it and stayed awake through the entire day, but I got home and took a nap. And now I'm off to bed to complete my fatigue recovery.


Oh, and I almost forgot. We bought a CD off of a band that was wandering the parking lot. they're performing later in the tour, and just drumming up support. Jennifer and listened to them today, and really enjoyed them. So hopefully in the future you'll be able to hear XFactor1 on the radio.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Computer Games - PC, the fifth

And so now I have a laptop.

I also have the external drive connected to a network attached storage that Jennifer and I use for backups.

So far on this machine, I've played Star Wars: The Force Unleashed (I'm still stuck on the fight with the bull rancor.), SimCity Societies (pretty boring actually), and now back to SimCity 4.

Oh and Portal.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Computer Games - PC, the fourth

And then my father-in-law bought a new computer. Jennifer was going up for a visit, and he said that he would give us his old computer (complete with flat screen monitor) if we would help him move the data from the old to the new computer.

So the new-ish computer cost us an external hard drive that we also got to keep.

A couple friends got me a better graphics card, and I was off with new games.

We also did some hard drive work on it. I had learned about switching out hard drives long before when I had been given an old hard drive from a company that I had been doing part time work at. The important thing I learned was keeping the red wire of the ribbon next to the power cable. Otherwise while it plugs in, it won't work. I also used that knowledge for switching out a dead CD-ROM drive on a previous computer. This computer also came with a DVD-RW drive. Not that I had any use for it other than doing data CDs at the time.

So I was up to SimCity 4 by this time. I also had played a few of the Lord of the Rings/Middle Earth real time strategy (RTS) games.

And later the problems came up. he computer began to make noise. Mostly just a background hum. And I had to upgrade the USB ports. It had 6 (3 in various locations including two cards), but they were all original USBs and so I upgraded them to 2.0.

So last autumn I got my new laptop.

Monday, July 05, 2010

Computer Games - PC, the third

When Jennifer and I moved together, we got a second line installed at the house for the computer.

Then the summer before we got married, Pacific Bell had a deal. Sign up for DSL and get a new computer at a discounted price.

So less than a month before we got married, i had a new computer with an internal DSL modem.

But I didn't end up getting DSL for another two or three months.

It became all about waiting for a new port to be set up and become available. And then for almost a year following we were dealing with being double charged, and incorrectly charged, and being overcharged.

And having been saving up for the wedding, and dealing with everything that came afterwards, I didn't get a lot of games. It ended up setting the pattern that I still follow today (mostly). Wait a few month after the game is released and get it for half or a third of what it was originally offered at. I've got enough activities to keep me busy until then.

But I was slowly growing my game collection. Dark Forces Jedi Knight, X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter, SimCity 2000, Starcraft. And a few others.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Computer Games - PC, the second

Dad's computer had been a 386, with (I think) a 12 MHz processor. The PS/1 was a huge leap with a roaring 486 and a 25 MHz processor. And it had a 2x speed CD-ROM.

I had this computer for about 3 years. I upgraded the RAM and added a Co-Processor to bring the clock speed up to 50 MHz. And I also raised it up from Windows 3.2 to Windows 95.

And on this machine I played my next favorite game: Dark Forces.

Dark Forces was the predecessor of the Jedi Knight series. Again with John Williams playing in the background, and using equipment from the movies, you got to kill stormtroopers. And all other kinds of Star Wars villains.

Then I was given a computer with a Pentium.

Computer Games - PC, the first

So my first PC game was one my first college roommate had. It was called Oubliette. I didn't play it much, but watched him. It was an ASCII dungeon game (if I'm remembering right).

Then my second roommate had a pool game that I thought was great because it let you see where all of the balls wold go after their first impact.

Then dad got one for working at home. I played a little Wolfenstein 3D that I got from a friend, and then dad got SimCity; the original game back from when it was just Maxis and they were based out of Walnut Creek. We all had so much fun with that game. Making cities, destroying them with monsters and fires.

then I got some games of my own. I played X-Wing and TIE Fighter, ad was mesmerized by not only flying the ships, but having the sound effects I knew and loved with John Williams soundtrack in the background.

And then for Christmas of my final year in Sacramento, I got my own PC. The amazing IBM PS/1.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Computer Games - Other Early Consoles

There were other console games that came out around the same time as the Odyssey2. We didn't own them, but I had friends that did.

The Atari 2600 was the common console. It had all the tie-in games, and the real name adaptations of arcade games. Of course lots of time those adaptations sucked because of the low resolutions graphics.

Another one of Chevron kids had an Intellivision. The weird thing with those games was the plastic insert you put in the controller to make it specific to the game. I can remember seeing the baseball game once and laughing at the voice synthesizer. The one game I remember most was one called "Snafu". It was just like Tron lightcycles.

One neighbor also had the Commodore 64. Now while I'm aware it was more than just a console game, it never really went anywhere other than that. The game I liked on that one was platform game where your stick figure character would have to work to get to the specific spell of the level, then use that spell to get back out. I wish I could remember the name of the game.

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