Archive for May, 2006

#684

8:54 pm, Friday, May 12th, 2006

I’m in the Tri-Cities now. Made really good time — 3 hours, 18 minutes from door to door. Didn’t end up leaving till 5:00 pm, but that was no problem as it’s still plenty light out. On the way here I mostly listened to the Panic! At the Disco album, but around Ellensburg I decided to try the 5th Horseman audiobook my mom got me last month.

What a boring book. First of all, it’s kind of a mystery/police drama thing, right? Only every single main character is a woman. For no reason at all. The medical examiner, the homicide detective, both attorneys, the reporter friend, the woman who dies over the course of the first two chapters, the attorney’s mother who ends up in the hospital where all the mysterious deaths are occurring… guh. It’s so improbable and distracting. And yes, they call each other “girlfriend” more than once. Secondly, the author describes every minute detail of the characters’ actions. I’ll paraphrase one memorably dull section:

Yuki left the courtroom, turning on her cell phone as soon as her feet hit the hall. Her fingers navigated the array of small buttons, dialing the number of the hospital. She pressed the phone tightly against one ear and clasped her hand over the other to shield her from the din of the quickly filling hall. She listened to the automated message and proceded to thread her way through the voice menu system. Finally, she pressed zero for the operator and listened to a watery rendition of The Girl from Ipanema as she waited for a ring.

I’m not exaggerating there. He actually spends multiple sentences describing phone menus. “Oh, but this must have had some significance in the story,” you might think. Nope. Totally pointless, utterly dull filler. It’s like he was struggling to meet some minimum word count set by the publisher.

Anyway, The 5th Horseman sucks. Don’t read it.

#683

2:39 pm, Friday, May 12th, 2006

Well, Beefy’s out of the competition. Somehow I really thought he’d win this one… I imagined he’d defend his title as The Only Man to Ever Win the IMBC for a few years at least. Decades from now, winners would have been awarded the Keith A. Moore Medal of Fortitude. But now it seems to me that full_absolution will probably be the victor this year. Oh, and M.C. Jamez dropped out yesterday. Exciting times for the IMBC.

It turns out that eliminating the paging file on my computer only erased the symptom, and not the cause, of my lock ups. The cause is actually my 120 GB Maxtor hard drive failing. When I originally ran diagnostics on the primary master disk, I accidentally targeted the SATA Hitachi drive (which is also a “primary master,” just off an expansion card instead of the motherboard). Dclive on AnandTech helped me realize my error. Now I need to backup about 100 gigs of data and RMA the drive through Maxtor (luckily, my warranty doesn’t expire until 8/23/06). This is the second time I’ve had a Maxtor drive die on me… From now on I’m sticking with Western Digital.

I got a haircut the day before yesterday from this really nice lady, Min, at Jenny’s Barbershop a couple blocks north of here. There’s actually a barbershop much closer to the apartment (basically next door), but I couldn’t tell you what it’s called since all their signs are in Korean. Anyway, I think I’ll use Jenny’s from now on. Their price for men’s haircuts is pretty reasonable ($13). After that, Brett and I had lunch at Kokiri. I had the dolsot bibimbap. That evening I got moderator points on Slashdot for the first time.

I’m driving back to the Tri-Cities in about 45 minutes. Gonna see my family for Mother’s Day and hang out with Jones and Beefy.

I made Pigs-in-a-Blanket yesterday.

Pigs in a Blanket

#682

12:39 am, Wednesday, May 10th, 2006

I think I might have fixed my random lock ups problem. I upgraded to Windows XP Pro SP2 (something of an adventure in and of itself; ran into a few headaches no one wants to hear about), updated all my drivers (thanks, Krunk), and disabled the virtual memory. (P.S. ClearType looks great on the ol’ 2005FPW.)

Have you seen the episode of Late Night with Conan O’Brien where he goes to Finland for five days? TiVo recorded it the other night… I think it was his best show yet. Even funnier than when Triumph toured Quebec. Even better than his 10th anniversary show where Jack Black sang Wonder Boy. Great stuff.

Speaking of TV shows, The Office and My Name is Earl are doing their season finales this Thursday. Sucks that they prolly won’t be back ’till September. But Venture Bros. season two starts June 11th, so the summer won’t be totally quality-entertainment-less. And the season one DVDs come out on the 30th.

This YouTube video, They Are Made Out of Meat, is pretty amusing. It’s like seven minutes long. Sci fi. It was originally a short story written by Terry Bisson for OMNI in 1991.

Brett and I have been cleaning and unpacking a lot of stuff lately… the apartment is actually starting to look pretty nice. I’ll post some pictures later on. The huge storage closet off the living room has been extremely handy.

Kay, I’m gonna go watch Kathy Griffin: Strong Black Woman.

#681

4:31 pm, Saturday, May 6th, 2006

So I got the new power supply into my system (which required me to remount a fan on the outside of the case), and I’m still having random lock ups! Ran 10 full passes of MemTest the night before last with zero errors, so I know it’s not a memory problem. Very irritating. I don’t have any stop codes to go on or anything; the system just unrecoverably locks up at random intervals (between 1 and 6 hrs. after booting) — it’ll only respond to a hard reset. The event viewer doesn’t have any real clues, the MSKB is no help… The problem only started after the move and the only new piece of hardware I’ve added is a Linksys wireless adapter (which is using the latest drivers). In a few minutes I’m going to boot a drive diagnostics/repair CD I downloaded from Hitachi (the ISO, that is). I have a theory about a bad block in the paging file. If it doesn’t work, I’m all out of ideas. Guess I’ll make a post on AnandTech and, if that doesn’t pan out, upgrade to XP out of desperation.

In other news, I’ve been listening to Panic! At the Disco’s album a lot lately. I really like it… thinking about going to their concert in Seattle July 28th. My favorite song of theirs ATM is “The Only Difference Between Martyrdom and Suicide is Press Coverage,” but they’re all great. The titles tend to be annoyingly overlong though… e.g.: “There’s a Good Reason These Tables Are Numbered Honey, You Just Haven’t Thought of It Yet.”

The local Round Table Pizza is awesome. We ordered an extra large double-cheese a couple days ago and the delivery guy showed up with it and another large double-cheese. He said they’d burned part of the first one, so they threw in a second pie for free. Pretty generous, huh? And the original pizza wasn’t even really burned — it was just somewhat overcooked on one side. Totally edible.

Brett and I went bowling at Secoma Lanes last night. Played three games. I got 77, 77, and 96. (It’s been a while since I last bowled.) But my fingers/hand didn’t hurt the next day, despite my expectations. Pretty fun, prolly do it again next week.

Can you believe the oldest person in the world is 128?

My current wallpaper:

Twenty Dollar Wallpaper
(1680×1050; 871 KB)

#680

12:54 am, Wednesday, May 3rd, 2006

Wow, it’s been a while since I posted after following a steady schedule for so long. I keep meaning to blog, but then I realize that I need to go to bed or Brett distracts me by queuing up an episode of Jeopardy! on the TiVo or I have to run some errand or etc., etc. Procrastination and all that, you guys know how it is. Plus my computer is still pretty unstable since I neglected to purchase a 24-to-20-pin adapter along with the new power supply (and am thus forced to keep using the old unreliable one).

Have you heard that Battlestar Galactica is spawning a spinoff series? I’m quite surprised — it’s not even in its third season yet. The new series (Caprica) sounds, if possible, even better than BSG. It takes place fifty years before the original. Kinda reminds me of Conquest of the Planet of the Apes; a prequel that chronicles the rebellion of a non-human serving class. But, of course, robots trump apes in coolness, so Caprica wins.

Saw this quaint homophonic signature somewhere on Slashdot:

Real eyes
Realize
Real lies

A little googling revealed it’s a song by some heavy metal band called Machine Head. First I’ve heard of them, but Wikipedia compares them to Slayer and Metallica, so I guess they must be fairly well-known.

I had this really amazing hamburger at Red Robin yesterday. They call it a “Royal Burger.” It has a fried egg and bacon in it. I don’t think many people would think that sounds like much of an improvement, but trust me — it’s fantastic. Before that lunch I had been decrying Red Robin’s food as overpriced and of only slightly better than average quality, but I’ve definitely changed my mind. They really make a great burger. Oh, and speaking of burgers, there’s a little place on Pacific Highway that has huge, delicious ones for about the same price as the big fast food chains — Burger Time. Don’t confuse them with “Burger Express” two blocks south though; their stuff is on the same level as McDonald’s, but without the speed and uniform quality. There’s still one nearby non-chain burger place I have yet to try: Herfey’s.

This ethics/philosophy BBC article has some interesting hypotheticals. Here’re my answers: No, yes, yes, yes. The first one is supposed to be an analog for abortion, but it’s obviously flawed — first, it assumes all women take the simple, obvious precautions to avoid unwanted pregnancies (i.e. because you weren’t kidnapped due to your own stupidity or carelessness). Secondly, the burden is exaggerated: You have to stay in bed for nine months (whereas pregnant women are relatively free up ’till the last stages of gestation). Thirdly, the Music Appreciation Society is flagrantly, deliberately wronging you and feelings of revenge likely skew respondents’ answers (“Kidnap me and a force me to live like an invalid for nine months? Screw your violinist!”). It seems odd to me that they worded the hypothetical with a pro-abortion bias when a few simple scenario tweaks could have made the question much fairer.

I’ve been working on the rules for next year’s IMBC — here’s a sneak peek of what I have so far. Pretty detailed, huh? No gray areas in these puppies. Keep in mind that none of that applies to the current competition. IMBC 2007 is gonna be great… no silly voting with personal squabbles affecting participants’ status in the contest, rules for special contingencies, sub-sections and sub-sub-sections to clarify nebulous verbiage… I want to make these so specific and detailed that a second version will have to be written just for people who can’t be bothered to read all eighteen pages of protocols and regulations.

Can you believe all of these are CG? “Vertical limit” is especially realistic.