Archive for September, 2007


10:06 pm, Friday, September 7th, 2007

I was just thinking how screwed up our month names are. It’s September now, right? But “septem” is Latin for seven and this is the ninth month. (Of course, before the Julian calendar reform of 46 BC, the year started in March and September really was the seventh month.) So we should be calling September November (since “novem” means nine). Following this system, we’d have to change October to December, November to Undecimber… actually, while we’re at it, we might as well redo the entire calendar, right? It doesn’t make any sense to only give the last four months number names. Here’s my improved system:

Old Name Corrected Name
January Unusber
February Duober
March Tresber
April Quattuorber
May Quinqueber
June Sexber
Old Name Corrected Name
July September
August October
September November
October December
November Undecimber
December Duodecimber

I’ll admit, some of those don’t really roll off the tongue. And “Sexber” will probably generate more crude jokes than our seventh planet has. But won’t you sleep better knowing we have a throroughly rational calendar month nomenclature? Someone start a petition.

Anyway. We made corndogs last night and the night before. They were better than the last ones we did. This time we used Ballpark Franks, a slightly different batter recipe (more corn meal and spices), canola oil for deep-frying (instead of vegetable oil), and Alton Brown’s double chopstick method (our last ‘dogs were stickless). The result:

Improved corndogs

Wednesday was a big day. Besides making corndogs, we got haircuts (apparently men’s cuts are discounted $3 on Wednesdays at Fantastic Sam’s), ate at Golden Teriyaki for the first time (it was okay), and got a family membership at SNAP Fitness. SNAP Fitness is a new 24-hour gym that just opened on Grand Ave. towards the end of August. It’s really well-equipped in terms of variety and quality of the machines, maybe even moreso than the $37 million Student Rec Center over at WSU. I went last night at 1 AM so I could avoid people (it’s surprisingly crowded at 9:30 PM). The family membership is a pretty good deal, BTW. No contracts, $49.95/mo. (compared to the single membership @ $34.95/mo.). Works out to, like, 83¢ per day for each of us.

I’d go on, but I’ve gotta clean the house up a little. My parents are coming to visit Andi and I tomorrow morning.


1:51 am, Wednesday, September 5th, 2007

I think I’ll lead with food pics again:

Delicious Papa John's pizzas    Turkey sandwich    Peach yogurt with gingersnap granola

Left to right: The pizza we had Saturday night — an extra-large spinach alfredo with bacon and a large thin-crust sausage from Papa John’s. Boy, were they generous with the bacon! Next, tonight’s dinner: A turkey sandwich. These sandwich rolls are pretty good. I would’ve gotten baguette, but the store was out of ‘em. And finally, tonight’s dessert: Peach yogurt with gingersnap granola. As part of their ongoing remodel, the local Safeway added a whole bunch of these self-serve granola/grains/beans canister things. They have like seven different kinds of granola. (So far Brett and I are both big fans of the gingersnap variety.)

Oh, and on Sunday we went out to eat at the Fireside Grille. Brett had a salami/prosciutto panini and a mojito, I had the special — beef tenderloin tips in a bernaise sauce. It was ridiculously good. I tried to recreate the dish the following night, but I cheaped out on the meat and couldn’t get my bernaise sauce to emulsify properly. At least the braising (in white wine and onions) yielded some terrifically savory juices; I strained and refrigerated them for later use in a soup or stew.

I’ve been playing a few web games lately (besides mafiascum)…

UltraCorps solo game    Urban Dead character    Ticket to Ride Online

Left to right: Steve Jackson Games’ UltraCorps, Urban Dead, Ticket to Ride Online.

UltraCorps is pretty fun. It’s basically like OGame, but much less chaotic, a little easier to learn and use, and turn-based (as opposed to real-time). It also has a bunch of different races with unique qualities, incorporates ground-based units, and (in some games) changes the price of units based on demand. The screenshot above is from my solo game. The solo games are good for learning the rules (since your homeworld can’t be invaded) and a mandatory requirement for playing in the “real” games.

I’ve talked about Urban Dead on here before. I forget what made me want to revisit it, but I did so earlier today and was surprised to see that my old (i.e. inactive for ~18 months) account still works. (Maybe that’s one of the perks of donating?) So I had my level 15 zombie stand up and kill some guy named spamspam. +61 XP, woo. Looks like they added a bunch of new skills during my absence. Next skill to buy: Tangling Grasp.

And what’s left to say about Ticket to Ride Online? It works just like the board game. There’s a karma system that determines the games you’re allowed to participate in and penalizes you for leaving a game in progresss, but it doesn’t affect actual game play.

In addition to these no-major-commitment web games, I’ve been playing Luminous Arc on the DS. It’s a blatant ripoff of Final Fantasy Tactics Advance. Only with worse controls, a more predictable story (with lots of useless dialogue), and a lot less variety (in missions, classes, etc.). Just how shameless was Marvelous Interactive in stealing from FFTA? Well, just compare FFTA’s “Marche” to Luminous Arc’s “Theo”:

FFTA's Marche vs. Luminous Arc's Theo

Really pathetic. That said, I’m still playing it. It’s a workable, if depressingly mediocre, diversion until FFTA: The War of the Lions comes out for the PSP (October 9th). (At which point FFTA:TWotL will become my stopgap until FFTA A2: The Sealed Grimoire comes out for the DS — which will probably be sometime in early 2008.)

BTW, saw this piece (micro-essay?) on Slashdot (I think; it was presented as copypasta wherever I found it). It’s pretty funny:

Whenever I get a package of plain M&Ms, I make it my duty to continue the strength and robustness of the candy as a species. To this end, I hold M&M duels.

Taking two candies between my thumb and forefinger, I apply pressure, squeezing them together until one of them cracks and splinters. That is the “loser,” and I eat the inferior one immediately. The winner gets to go another round.

I have found that, in general, the brown and red M&Ms are tougher, and the newer blue ones are genetically inferior. I have hypothesized that the blue M&Ms as a race cannot survive long in the intense theater of competition that is the modern candy and snack-food world.

Occasionally I will get a mutation, a candy that is misshapen, or pointier, or flatter than the rest. Almost invariably this proves to be a weakness, but on very rare occasions it gives the candy extra strength. In this way, the species continues to adapt to its environment.

When I reach the end of the pack, I am left with one M&M, the strongest of the herd. Since it would make no sense to eat this one as well, I pack it neatly in an envelope and send it to M&M Mars, A Division of Mars, Inc., Hackettstown, NJ 17840-1503 U.S.A., along with a 3×5 card reading, “Please use this M&M for breeding purposes.”

This week they wrote back to thank me, and sent me a coupon for a free 1/2 pound bag of plain M&Ms. I consider this “grant money.” I have set aside the weekend for a grand tournament. From a field of hundreds, we will discover the True Champion.

There can be only one.


12:32 am, Sunday, September 2nd, 2007

I learned two interesting things today:

  1. Samuel Clemens’ pen name, Mark Twain, is actually a bit of steamboat terminology — it’s something deckhands might shout out if the river’s depth measured two (“twain”) fathoms on the lead line (a rope with a weight on the end).
  2. De Loreans aren’t painted silver. Their exterior panels are actually just bare stainless steel.

These random facts brought to you by Modern Marvels and an old claymation movie I got off Amazon a few weeks ago.

Anywho. A few days ago I watched Primer and π. Primer was really good, though very confusing (this page and the Wikipedia entry help). π, OTOH, was terrible. It’s been a long time since I’ve hated a film this much. It’s ugly (grainy, high-contrast black and white) and has absolutely no payoff. (π‘s writer/director, BTW, went on to make Requiem for a Dream two years later. Had I known this earlier, I would have avoided the movie.)

My favorite song this week is Queen — Don’t Stop Me Now. Supergrass — Mary is a distant second.

Some unrelated pictures:

Powder Game 5 (Large)    4chan recursion thread    Complicated cutaway vehicle diagram

Kay, I’m gonna feed the dog, take my antibiotics, watch an episode of Code Monkeys, and go to bed.