Archive for May, 2007

#816

11:30 pm, Friday, May 25th, 2007

I got The Walking Dead volumes 5 and 6 from Amazon the other day. It’d been a while since I’d bought the issues (I think I stopped at #26), so I read vol. 4 to refresh my memory. I was pretty pleased with the storyline progression, though the stuff concerning Michonne was a little more graphic than what I care to see. Especially what she did with the spoon. Ugh. But the series is still good. I wish Kirkman would include his “characters cheat-sheet” (or whatever it’s called) in the TPBs like he does in the single issues.

I made spaghetti and meatballs for dinner last night. It came out really well, though I would’ve preferred to have a little more sauce. My main reason for making it with meatballs was to use up the two pounds of hamburger I’d defrosted before it went bad. Well, really it’d only been in the fridge for three days, but I don’t trust ground meat to stay fresh for very long — three days is about my limit. Here’s a picture of the meatballs before they went in the oven and another of the final product (topped with Cojack and parmesan).

Meatballs, uncooked    Spaghetti and meatballs

For dessert we had these Safeway Select creme brulees. They were on sale for $4.69 and come with little ceramic ramekins that you can keep afterwards. Very easy to prepare — you just defrost ‘em, sprinkle on the sugar packets, and put them under the broiler for a couple minutes. Extremely tasty — almost as good as the ones I’ve had in nice restaurants. They’re a little too rich to have alone though; the next time I get them, I think I’ll also get some fresh berries. Anyway, definitely worth the ~$2.50 per serving.

Safeway Select creme brulee package    Creme brulee

#815

10:13 pm, Thursday, May 24th, 2007

This site and IronManBloggingCompetition.com were up and down last night and early this morning due to DreamHost having some DNS problems with their load balancer vendor. Total downtime shouldn’t have exceeded more than two hours at most, but just to be safe I copied my May 23rd post over to my backup blog on Slashdot as soon as I noticed the problem (around 1:40 AM).

All in all, DH is a pretty good host. Their uptime is pretty decent — about 99.26% as of today. The only part of their service that really bugs me is that they have CPU usage limits. Thing is, they won’t tell you what the limit is. Based on my experience, it seems to be about 3,000 CPU seconds, but I think that varies depending on which server you’re hosted from. It’s kind of ridiculous that right now they’re giving me 243 GB of storage and 2.86 TB in monthly transfers, but only about an hour’s worth of cycles per day. And, of course, you can easily increase your storage and bandwidth allowances but the only way to get more CPU time is to move to dedicated hosting (which currently runs $395/month). Still, I’m pretty happy with what I’ve been getting for $7.92/month.

I have mixed feelings about last night’s Lost finale. On the one hand, Alex meeting Rousseau was cool, and I really liked the parts with Hugo running over that guy and Sawyer’s badassness (“That’s for takin’ the kid off the raft.”), which was rivaled by Mikhail’s badassness. But it felt like they didn’t give us as much as they did in the previous season finales. The present-day/future stuff where they’ve made it off the island is interesting, but I don’t like that change of setting. Over the past half-season I’ve definitely started to side with Locke/Ben more than the core characters. Hey, what was up with Charlie’s suicide? He could have easily escaped! Dumbass is buying into Desmond’s visions way too much. I’m looking forward to season four more than ever. I hope they touch on The Numbers again soon.

I made steak for dinner last night. Served with green beans and (instant) mashed potatoes. The meat was good, but some of the steaks came out less rare than I prefer due to widely varying thicknesses.

Steak, green beans, mashed potatoes

For lunch today, I grilled the last two steaks for sandwiches. These ones came out perfectly medium rare. I sliced ‘em up on the bias and smothered the strips in a sauce made mostly from Longhorn BBQ sauce, A1, and mayo. Then I buttered and toasted a couple sandwich rolls, put the meat on one side, topped it with shredded Colby-Jack cheese, and put them under the broiler for a couple minutes. Extremely tasty. I’m definitely making them again someday.

Steak sandwiches

#814

10:11 pm, Wednesday, May 23rd, 2007

Hey, I forgot to mention this at the right time (last week), but on May 18th we broke the old IMBC record of 47 consecutive days of blogging. I think the final four participants are up to 53 days now, assuming Amy, Peter, and I get our stuff up before midnight (Finley’s already done, of course).

TotD:

Will China be the next super power?

Maybe. We talked about this a lot in my Bio 201 class. It was actually the first chapter in our State of the World 2006 textbook: “China, India, and the New World Order.” It’s kind of scary to think about; 40% of the world’s population lives in those two countries, but more than half of them are moderately impoverished or worse (i.e. they survive on less than $2 per day). “Moderate poverty” is an official measurement, BTW — it’s a standard set by the World Bank. Anyway, I think it’d be presumptuous of me to try to predict China’s future… I don’t think a single macroeconomics course adequately prepares someone for that. But I will say that, based on what I know, it sounds plausible. Even though it did happen in Firefly.

I found a couple MP3s yesterday that I’d been looking for for quite a while: The Battle Programmer Shirase opening and ending themes. I sent the former to Brett and he, quite correctly, observed that the tune was identical to Rick Astley’s Never Gonna Give You Up. There’s only one note that’s different. I can’t believe I never noticed that before. Try comparing them yourself: Rick Astley (YouTube), Battle Programmer Shirase (YouTube). Isn’t that wild? (Tangent: I never realized Astley was white until I saw that video clip…)

Coincidentally, we watched the latest Family Guy last night and it prominantly featured Brian singing that same song. Kinda weird how that worked out…

Last night’s dinner came out pretty well. I made halibut steaks seared in bacon grease, then baked with garlic, dill, and lots of butter (and S&P, of course). Also made some Rice-A-Roni (“Broccoli au Gratin” flavor). Served all that with some corn and a roll. I realize the presentation isn’t very good (everything on the plate is some shade of brown or yellow, for one thing), but it was tasty. I love how that halibut came out.

Halibut, corn, Rice-A-Roni, roll

Then, for dessert, we had chocolate cake and spumoni ice cream.

Cake and ice cream

I’m going back to the Tri-Cities this weekend to do payroll and computer stuff. While there, Jones and I are gonna try to do some GURPSing. I’ve really been missing the stuff lately.

Edit: Ooh, I almost forgot: Season finale of Lost tonight! Can’t wait!

#813

11:46 pm, Tuesday, May 22nd, 2007

Crap, we’ve run out of TotD‘s.

Today’s been a kind of spring-cleaning event here. Brett and I tidied up the living room and cleaned out the fridge (moldy cheese and liquified green onions, yuck), but mostly we’ve been tackling the dishes. Since Andi’s gone, we’ve been hauling them to her upstairs dishwasher by the basket load. Plates are really heavy… Makes me kind of curious about aluminum dinner plates (like this); if they’re very sturdy I might consider them the next time I have to buy dishes. One of my parents’ friends, Jackie, had a bunch of metal plates that were really cool. They looked like pewter, but I kind of wonder if they weren’t something else… pewter seems awfully soft for that use, right? But Google Images turns up a lot of hits for “pewter plate,” so I must be mistaken.

I bet they’d go well with titanium sporks. Or would that make it feel too much like prison? I don’t care — that’d be boss regardless.

Clean dishes

We’ve been playing a lot of darts on the Wii (it’s one of the multiplayer games in WarioWare). It’s pretty fun; kinda makes me want to get an actual dart board. I bet it’d be pretty easy to make one, actually. Just jigsaw and router some plywood into a disc, glue some felt on the back, and mount a half-inch of cork on the front. Then just get a compass, straightedge, and a sharpie to do the lines. Maybe even mask some bits and spray paint it primary colors. That’d be a neat project.

I saw the StarCraft II cinematic trailer today. Looks neat. I’m sure I’ll get it when it comes out, but I’m still more excited about Spore.

Oh yeah, we also went grocery shopping today. Got a lot of keen stuff, including a couple thick halibut steaks which I’ll be preparing within the hour. I wish I’d thought to get some fresh dill too, but the dried stuff will work. Pics tomorrow. Also got a big pack of tri tips which will probably last a few days.

#812

10:16 pm, Monday, May 21st, 2007

My internet access has been restored! Which means I’m using my desktop again. And that’s a good thing because I have like a dozen Opera tabs that I forgot to check whilst limited to my laptop. One of these was my Google Analytics page, which showed a huge surge in traffic on Friday — about three times the normal daily pageviews. Why? I think the Top 5 Keywords report for that day explains it…

Google Analytics Top 5 Keywords

Three of those actually retain their Top 5 status when I expand the range to cover the entire month-to-date.

Here are a couple food pics I was too lazy to upload to the notebook during my net-famine — my “fancy” mac & cheese and Brett’s fried rice:

Enhanced Mac & Cheese    Brett's Fried Rice

I got a couple new adds on Facebook — Paige and Amy. It’s so much better than MySpace — the pages aren’t uglified with loud music and backgrounds that make text nigh invisible. Seems like the users are more mature too. People don’t fill their profiles with kiddy “personality test results” and other web chaff no one cares about. I wish I could convince Charlie and some of the other Fed Way ppl to make the switch.

Boy, I missed a bunch of good TotD’s while I was offline. I guess I could’ve saved the page to the laptop, but oh well. Looks like we’re almost out again.

TotD:

What fictional setting would you like to live in?

This one’s easy: Transhuman Space. First thing I’d do is get uploaded and sell my body off as a bioshell. ‘Course, I guess I could also do that in the world of Greg Egan’s Diaspora. (Is there a name for that setting? The one with the Ndoli device, polises, and infomorphs? He seems to use it a lot in various time periods.) I think a lot of scifi nerds would initially go with Star Trek since it seems the most utopian, but what society in that setting would anyone want to join? The Federation is depressingly communist. Klingons would just beat you up and call you an honorless ptak. Ferenginar is possibility, now that Zek’s new “liberal” reforms (like allowing females to own property) have been enacted, but I suspect they’d be too xenophobic to accept human emigration. Life with the Vulcans would be beyond boring. Ditto for the Bajorans (unless you really enjoy farm labor and living under a planet-wide theocracy).

Okay, gotta find a decent laptop for my mom. I think the HP Pavilion dv6000t might be a good fit for her. Too bad everything comes with Vista these days.

#811

7:06 pm, Sunday, May 20th, 2007

I’m now on day three of having no internet at home. It sucks. I’ve become very conscious of just how much I use online references and searches without thinking about it. Like, last night Brett and I were playing Scattergories and we hit a snag concerning krugerands — I said they were valuable South African gold coins (which I’m about 70% sure of), but we couldn’t just call up the Wikipedia entry like we usually would. Very frustrating.

So apparently there was a sniper on the loose in Moscow last night. The shootings started about three hours after I was over there; I guess three people were shot, one being a police officer who died. Then, early this morning they found two guys dead inside the church (where they think the sniper was firing from). I stayed up really late watching the news about it. Really bizarre for such a small town.

The SNL season finale was pretty good. Zach Braff was okay; I liked all the Garden State jokes. I thought it was a little odd that they almost didn’t mention Scrubs at all, what with the big cliffhanger finale that just aired on Thursday. Best line from the whole thing: “I hope Rachel Ray opens her own mail.”

Heard a really great interview with Ang Qi Minh (sp?) on NPR last night. She had some fantastic stories about life in communist China and how she escaped to the US. I guess she wrote this book called The Orchid Queen (not sure if I’ve got that title right) that sounded really interesting. I think it’s about the empress who ruled while opium was being introduced to the country in the late 1800s.

Since I have no internet, I’ve been working on this elaborate tower in SketchUp. One of the cool things about it is that it has properly faced internal detail and structure with no clipping problems or anything. Like, once I finish connecting the bottom sections, you’ll be able to walk around in it (with the appropriate SU tool) and climb all the way to the top. The image I’m attaching has some X-ray views so you can see the hidden passageways and rooms. I still have a lot to finish on it.

SketchUp - Weird Tower Thumbnail