Archive for June, 2007

#846

10:57 pm, Sunday, June 24th, 2007

Here’s a neat site I found today via 4chan/tv/: TV Links. It’s kind of like YouTube, but for whole TV shows. Has a simple “master directory” layout.

I decided I’d been neglecting my PSP (what the recent DS-obssession), so yesterday I started researching new games for my first seventh generation handheld. A lot’s come out since I last looked (which was when LocoRoco came out). I finally settled on Dungeon Maker; it sounded pretty cool and was just released on the 19th. And the ISO download was only like 66 megs, so it seemed like the perfect candidate.

I went to load it up with Devhook 0.46, but it didn’t work. So I went through the lengthy process of upgrading to Devhook 0.51, only to find that didn’t work either. Apparently, as of this writing, Devhook only supports firmware emulation for 3.11 and Dungeon Maker requires 3.40.

One of the annoying things about dealing with this modchip/emulation type stuff is that you have to spend so much time hunting down reliable, readable instructions and files. Well, you don’t have to — but it really reduces your chances of bricking your system.

Anyway, after a lot of googling, I figured out all I needed was Dark Alex‘s 3.40 open edition rev. A custom firmware. Because I was used to Devhook and other separate loaders, I thought I needed another app to actually use the 3.40 OE-A firmware. Not so! Once you install it, your UMD images (in the root/ISO folder) show up right in the Game > Memory Stick menu. This is such a huge improvement over Devhook it’s unbelievable. BTW, the best instructions I found for the 3.40 OE-A install were these: Jak_Master’s PSP Custom Firmware Guide.

Anyway, Dungeon Maker is awesome. It’s kind of like Dungeon Keeper/Sim City-meets-Diablo, except that you’re adventuring in the complex as you build it. And the architect-stuff, while freeform and unrestricted, works best when you observe certain rules, like not putting rooms within 4 blocks of the entrance, or directly connected to T-split corridors. The fighting part of the game is relatively mindless up until the first boss battle. But it breaks up the layout/design sub-game well and keeps your interest with item drops and optional easter-egg-like weapon combos. Here are some pics I took: One of the firmware installation apps, the DM town screen, and my current 1st floor dungeon (which I plan to rebuild):

PSP 3.40 OE-A firmware app    Dungeon maker town screen    Dungeon Maker 1st floor layout

I think I’ll try Metal Slug Anthology next, though I’m sure Dungeon Maker will occupy me for quite a while. The problem with PSP games is that the majority of them seem to be fighting games or first-person shooters — genres that I don’t care for. I will never understand how people can tolerate playing FPSes without a mouse. You know what would be neat? An eighth generation portable you could hold in your left hand and control with a wireless mouse. Eh, probably too clumsy though; no one would want a handheld that you needed a table for. Maybe they could swap the mouse for, like, a trackball thing you could strap onto your hand. Like a Chordite device with a ball or TrackPoint nub under the thumb.

#845

11:35 pm, Saturday, June 23rd, 2007

The burritos came out wonderfully. For the filling, I combined some white rice with melted butter and burrito seasonings, then threw in a can of pinto beans, a can of white beans, some finely chopped bell peppers, various spices, enchilada sauce, grated sharp cheddar, and shredded chicken breast. The blanco sauce was pretty easy to make; one package of cream cheese, a quarter-cup sour cream, a handful of grated Monterey Jack, and a little water to decrease viscosity. One thing to remember when deep-frying the burritos is to not overfill them; you have to use about half as much filling as you would with the regular sort.

Burrito 2    Burrito 1

I made a ton of filling at once, so we had burritos today too. And we’ll probably have them tomorrow. Though I’m starting to get a little tired of them, so I think I might just make up a bunch with the remaining filling and freeze ‘em.

Brett and I played Heroscape last night. We had to set the map up on my sister’s dining table since none of the surfaces down here are large enough (except the floor, but that’s uncomfortable; my leg always falls asleep). 500-point battle, pretty epic. He drafted Braxas the black dragon as his first pick, then supplemented it with Raelin, then threw in the Krav Maga (who combo extremely well with Raelin). My significant drafts were Major Q9, Syvvaris, and the Airborne Elite. I won, but it was pretty close. The last round was Braxas at 1 life against Major Q9 at 2 and a samurai archer.

#844

10:40 pm, Friday, June 22nd, 2007

“IDK, my BFF Jill?” That’s the key phrase from this Cingular commercial. Kind of amusing, but not as much as what’s been propagating across the imageboards since it’s achieved true meme status. Here’s a sample:

IDK, my BFF Jill? *Slap*

I’ve been listening to this Parry Gripp album a lot today. You might be familiar his Do You Like Waffles song (and the subsequent Flash animation). So far, I really love One Donut a Day, Dippin’, Everyone’s Dipping, Pita City Falafel, and Big Sale. Of those, One Donut is the longest at 41 seconds; queue them all in single playlist and you have something about as long as a normal song.

Oh, fantabulous news: I found my DS! Turned out I had remembered to bring it with me, but it fell into that gap between the passenger seat and door of my car. I can’t believe neither Brett nor I saw it there before… Bet this wouldn’t have happened if I’d bought the coral version. Anyway, now I can finish the game I was working on.

Speaking of the DS, this Drawn to Life game looks really cool. Won’t be out till September though. I’m also excited about the new Final Fantasy Tactics game and Geomety Wars: Galaxies, but those don’t even have release dates yet. I think the next game I get will be either Kirby: Canvas Curse or Advance Wars: Dual Strike.

Have you tried these X-13D Doritos? They’re pretty good. Kinda/sorta/vaguely taste like a cheeseburger. I’m not a big fan of Doritos, but these are the best ones I’ve had yet.

The TiVo’s snagged a couple really great Modern Marvels episodes in the past two days: One on airships (mostly zeppelins, just a little on blimps) and another on hangars (which was more interesting than one would expect). Ugh, there’s so little new TV on lately… Top Chef, Kathy Griffin: MLOTDL, BWE, The Soup, and The Showbiz Show. That’s it. And that last one just ended its season, so I’m down to like 132 minutes of original content per week when you strip out the ads.

Gonna try making burrito blancos tonight. I’m a little wary about deep-frying them. How do you keep the filling from leaking out? I’m gonna try using toothpicks to maintain tortilla hull integrity.

#843

10:20 pm, Thursday, June 21st, 2007

My legs are sore. Actually, just the muscles on the front of my shins. I had to walk all over campus today. And not leisurely; I was pressed for time. First, from the underground parking garage to the bookstore, then to level 2 of the CUE building where a note on the whiteboard notified me that class was being held in Avery 101 (all the way on the opposite side of the mall and then some). After class I had to go to the SCS helpdesk, back on the other side, then to the bookstore again, then back to the garage. All of this wouldn’t have been that bad if it wasn’t for Pullman’s hilly terrain.

Also, what’s with all the WSU staff thinking all the other staff members are incompetent? I’m constantly hearing the profs bitching about how stupid the bookstore people are, the bookstore people complaining about the idiot computing services people, and everyone bemoaning the utter cretinism of the advisors/SALC. I mean, either no one here can take responsibility or this truly is one of the worst-run organizations in the country. I’m inclined to believe it’s the latter. (In which case, the kind of synergy that caused the failure of the Mars Climate Orbiter is something to which WSU employees can only hope to aspire.)

You know that big scar Padma Lakshmi (the host of Top Chef) has on her right arm? I’d actually thought it was result of a tattoo removal, but it turns out it’s from a car accident she was in as a child. BTW, while reading about that I saw a picture of her from June, 2000 — she must have had some radical rhinoplasty since then. Much different looking.

Speaking of Top Chef, wasn’t Sandee getting kicked off last night total BS? I thought it should’ve been either Joey (for sheer douchebaggery and plebeian food) or Howie (for his consecutive screwups). And how did Casey not win? Look at her dish! I thought it had the best concept and presentation out of all fourteen.

You know what I hate? When celebrities make a joke on a talk show and immediately follow it with “but, no.” As if people couldn’t figure out that the airhead was kidding. It’s especially annoying when they do it several times in a single interview. Why doesn’t anyone tell them how stupid that makes them look? “Yeah, if only it were my mother-in-law being shot out of the cannon! Haw haw haw! But, no… she’s a great lady.”

I’ve been re-reading the Top 10 trade paperbacks. What a great series. How is it that it’s only seen 22 issues and a graphic novel?

I finally got my replacement checkcard in the mail a few days ago, so I was able to order a used book (Hyperion) and some shirts off Amazon.

LOLcats \    How to put a RAR in a JPG    Waldo baby

#842

10:29 pm, Wednesday, June 20th, 2007

Worked on my zeppelin in SketchUp some more today. After spending quite a while getting the hull shaped the way I wanted, I realized I probably could have made it more easily with the sandbox tools. Oh well, something to remember for version 2. The model is a long way from finished; still not sure what I’m going to do about the gasbag skeleton. It’s weird how some things can be done so easily in real life, but not with 3D modeling (and vice versa). Like, if I was trying to build a model zepp IRL, I’d probably just carve a styrofoam form into the shape of half the gasbag, then use it as a base to epoxy balsa sticks together into a cigar-shaped cage. (Just thinking about that reminded me of my bridge-building project from physics. That was so much fun… I gotta try making something like that again.) Anyway, here’re some shots of the work-in-progress:

SketchUp: Mini-Zeppelin

The combination of Amy’s recent sushi-related post and a Simply Ming episode on the same subject had me really in the mood for some nigiri. So I ordered some from Sakura, a Japanese/Chinese restaurant here in Pullman. Overall, it was extremely disappointing. The eel and shrimp tempura roll were good and the salmon was kind of okay, but the tuna and red snapper were horrible. The latter was basically inedible; tasted fishy, had a horrible texture, and was cut into chunks that were much too thick. I had to spit out the first bite I took of it. The tuna wasn’t much better. The people at Sakura don’t know the meaning of the word “fresh.” Nothing we got was worth savoring. Definitely not going there again. Next time I want sushi, we’re driving up to Spokane or Post Falls.

Sakura sushi

At least their prices were decent. I mean, not for the trash they served us. But, like, hypothetically, had I enjoyed the meal, it wouldn’t have been a ripoff.

#841

10:18 pm, Tuesday, June 19th, 2007

Did you know there’s such a thing as a portable dishwasher that doubles as a butcher’s block-style kitchen island? The whole thing’s on rollers with, like, retractable hoses and a power cable. My mom told me about them when I was in the Tri-Cities last weekend and now it’s all I can think about whenever I walk into my kitchen (where 90% of the counter space is occupied by dirty dishes). We’d been using my sister’s dishwasher upstairs, but it stopped working; keeps flashing the “clean” LED and won’t respond to button pushing. She says it does it all the time and she doesn’t know how to fix it. We tried cutting its power to reset it, but it went right back to the LED flashing (which is apparently some kind of error message for that model).

Anyway, one of these portable/island dishwashers would be perfect down here. The kitchen is weirdly large, but the layout doesn’t really lend itself to a table (assuming you actually want access to the fridge). An island would be ideal, however.

My parents (with help from my sister and her boyfriend, I guess) remodeled the old TV room at their house in Pasco. Took out the huge sectional sofa, ripped out the carpet, put down hardwood floors, did some kind of drape stuff, moved in some Amish-built furniture. Looks a million times nicer. I still find it hilarious that, at some point in the 1990s, my mom thought teal carpet and mauve walls was an appealing combination. I’d totally sleep there during my stays if it wasn’t for my allergies and their sixty-three cats.

Fixed up TV room

I wish I had a “before” picture — you wouldn’t believe what an improvement this is.

I made pancakes for dinner last night. Dead simple: Krusteaz mix, water, cook, slather with Country Crock, pour on syrup, eat. I don’t think there’s really any room for improvement… I don’t like my hotcakes with stuff in ‘em. Chocolate chips, blueberries, etc. just detract from the integral flapjackness. Crêpes, OTOH, are really versatile. Have to try those next time I’m in a breakfasty mood (which isn’t often).

Pancake

This week I discovered I can give myself heatburn by burping a certain way. Isn’t life grand?