Archive for November, 2007

#919

12:16 am, Monday, November 19th, 2007

Mike Huckabee’s not my preferred candidate, but this ad he did with Chuck Norris is fantastic. It’s a tired meme, sure, but it’s pretty funny given the context. Like I said on MetaFilter: Will Ferrell telling an off-color lightbulb joke? Not funny. The pope telling the same joke? Hilarious.

I pre-ordered Super Mario Galaxy on Amazon quite a while back. Should’ve shelled out the extra $3.97 for standard shipping instead of the free “super saver” kind. It came out on the 12th but won’t get here till the 23rd, by which time I’ll be in Pasco for Thanksgiving and payroll stuff. Probably won’t even get to play it till the 28th. At least it appears to be terrifically wonderful, if the general gamer consensus is to be trusted.

Been messing with VectorMagic/Inkscape some more. Here’re a couple things I vectorized recently:

Slick (from Sinfest) -- Vectorized    Zazzle Upsidaisium T-shirt

On the left, Slick from Sinfest. On the right, a bit of the header for this site — I had it printed on a 3/4 sleeve raglan tee via Zazzle (I was really happy with the Laugh-Out-Loud Cats “Coming and going” shirt I got there, so I used the same archetype). Whatever printing method they use is fantastic — it washes well, breathes, and has a texture that’s almost indistinguishable from the untouched fabric.

I saw Bee Movie like two weeks ago. Forgot to mention it. It was watchable. One thing really bugged me about the animation; the way they modeled/colored the eyelashes made the light-skinned characters look like they had rings of grime around their eyes, especially on the lower eyelids. I did like how the story spiraled into ever-wackier situations though. There were a few times I thought they were going to pull the “it was just a daydream” thing, but they just kept on with it.

Next two movies I really want to see: Beowulf and The Darjeeling Limited. The latter was actually playing here a little bit ago, but it was only in the theater for five days. WTH is that? Looks like I’ll have to wait for the DVD unless it pops up in Moscow soon.

We had sushi at Tokyo Seoul again last Friday. It was really good. The chef even brought us complimentary shiso salads. I took this picture of the spread (minus the tuna nigiri) with my phone:

Tokyo Seoul sushi (cellphone pic)

Some food stuff:

Tomato bisque and grilled cheese    New York strip steak and potatoes    First homemade bread loaf

Left to right: Tonight’s dinner of amazingly tasty Safeway-brand tomato bisque (with onions and basil), grilled cheese sandwiches, and cottage cheese; last week’s New York strip steaks and monster baked potatoes; and my first attempt at baking bread.

I used this guide to do the bread. It was going really well until I made the mistake of letting it cool a bit after the second rising-in-a-warm-place process. It sort of collapsed and the top got all ugly as you can see in the photo above. It tasted good though; made really phenomenal toast. Notes for next time: More humidity during rising, do not remove from oven before cranking up the temperature, try baking at 375 F instead of 400.

Finished reading Luminous and The Dark Side of the Sun. TDSotS was mostly meh/cheap Star Wars-meets-Hitchhiker’s Guide fare. Luminous was good, but not as good as Egan’s first collection (Axiomatic). One story really stood out though: Reasons to be Cheerful. It’s kinda like Flowers for Algernon, but deeper. Has a similar beautifully-bittersweet ending. Anyway, tonight I’m going to start The Duplicators by Murray Leinster. It’s extremely short — only 144 pages. I’ve wanted to read it ever since I saw a fascinating excerpt on Atomic Rockets.

Hey, check out this awesome steampunk-y, Upsidaisium-related LEGO sculpture. (Found via The Brothers Brick.)

You know what’s a brilliant product? The Slanket. I’m going to have to get myself one of those (or maybe ask for one for Christmas).

Oh yeah, me, Brett, and my parents I went to the Doobie Brothers concert they had here last weekend. It was good. I tried to take some pics with my phone but they didn’t turn out.

Next time: Playing with Garry’s Mod, Man Stroke Woman (a British sketch comedy show with Nick Frost), and TF2 sprays and posters.

Blerg, I’m so tired.

#918

1:08 am, Saturday, November 10th, 2007

Have you seen VectorMagic? It was on Digg, reddit, etc. like a week or two ago. It’s a pretty cool webapp; turns raster images into vector graphics, like Illustrator’s Live Trace. I’ve been messing with Inkscape a bit lately, so it caught my eye. (I prefer Illustrator, but I only have the Mac version and I didn’t want to haul my iMac out of its box just to use a single application.) Inkscape has a sort of similar “Trace Bitmap” function, but it sucks. Anyway, I used VectorMagic on an image of Squigley (from Sinfestthis comic, specifically) and, with a little palette tweaking, got this:

Squigley (from Sinfest) going through VectorMagic

Threw the SVG into Inkscape, cleaned up the background, corrected a few details VectorMagic mis-guessed on, and came up with something pretty nice looking (IMHO). I left some parts “chunky” cuz I thought it looked neater that way. Now I’m using it as my Steam avatar and desktop. Check it out:

Nov. '07 desktop, Army Squigley on mustard

BTW, had dinner at this new sushi restaurant over by the Nendels Inn on Main. “Tokyo Seoul.” It got a really good review in the Daily Evergreen, so Brett and I went this evening. We had salmon, tuna, snapper, yellowtail, and eel nigiri and three rolls: Spider, Ichiro (deep-fried California roll), and rattlesnake (like caterpillar, but with shrimp inside and eel on top with the avocado). Oh, and a little green tea ice cream for dessert. The food was excellent, but the service was really slow. This place is way, way better than Sakura. They have hibachi tables too (is that the right term?) — we’re going to try those next time.

I figured out how to import sprays in Team Fortress 2 without resorting to the HL2DM trick. Just use VTFEdit to convert your JPG (or whatever) to VTF (File > Import, File > Save As), then stick the VTF in these two directories (you might have to create some folders):

Steam\steamapps\[steam ID]\team fortress 2\tf\materials\VGUI\logos
Steam\steamapps\[steam ID]\team fortress 2\tf\materials\VGUI\logos\UI

(Substitute your Steam ID for the [steam ID] part, of course.) Then, in TF2, go Options > Multiplayer > Import and select the VTF in the logos folder. Voila, no more “cannot locate vtex.dll” errors!

I’ve got cooking/baking crap to talk about, but I wanna keep this short. Next post.

#917

10:52 pm, Sunday, November 4th, 2007

(I was two paragraphs into this post when my browser crashed. For some reason it got all belligerent when I tried to call up a Wikipedia entry.)

First, food. Here’s something I made on the 31st according to the Exif info:

Chicken/onions stuff over toasted French bread

It’s chicken and onions in a cream cheese sauce with some cumin, paprika, tarragon, herbs de provence, browning sauce, nutmeg, and pepper served over broken, toasted French bread à la SOS. I was trying to re-create a type of panini Brett and I really like. It tasted great, despite the bland appearance. Next time I think I’ll put it on crostinis and add peas for color.

On Friday, I made those crushed-corn flake-coated chicken pocket things again. This time I used Colby-Jack for the cheesy sauce and added broccoli for taste and texture. Here’re a couple pics (one part-way through preparation, one of the final product):

Chicken pocket preparation    Chicken pockets, baked

And then last night I made lasagna and buttered leeks. I like the composition of these plates, even though my lasagna is a little sloppy. The colors and meat-starch-veggie levels are nicely balanced, I think.

Lasagna and leeks 1    Lasagna and leeks 2

Oh, and we’ve been having a lot of PB&J lately too. Safeway just got this nut-butter bar — like, a row of machines, already loaded with whole cashews, almonds, etc. that you can use to make your own super-fresh whateverbutter. The honey-roasted peanutbutter they make there is amazing. And we got some boysenberry jam that goes very nicely with it.

I listened to Stephen Colbert’s I Am America (And So Can You!) audiobook this past week. (Partly on the trip from Pasco, partly on the trip to Lewiston.) Very funny — even better than America (The Book). Somehow I like him in this format more than on his show.

Some (very belated) Halloween pics:

YouTube costume by sweetbriar    Team Fortress 2 Halloween costums

The first one is a homemade YouTube costume (“OMG! Awesome Party Guy Vid!” photo by sweetbriar — yay for CC licenses!). The second is a bunch of people cosplaying as the various classes from Team Fortress 2. They’re even posing just like in the original artwork! How cool is that? Krunk found that, BTW.

Speaking of TF2, I’ve been playing a medic a lot lately. I did really well last week — I got 24 points on a single life during a 24-player cp_gravelpit match (with 11 invulns!). Some ‘shots:

TF2 medic healed 6690    TF2 medic scoreboard

In Quadradius I keep playing against this guy called gypsyBytes. I’m not sure why; we just always seem to be online at the same time. Anyway, our games always devolve into a 3v1, 2v2, etc. sort of scenario. And, surprisingly often, when we’re down to those few tori, he invariably picks up the Invisibility power. Well, today’s game was more interesting. I managed to pick up a ton of powers on this one piece by snatching some X2′s at the right time and Learn Radial-ing some other tori that had been isolated by terrain changes for many turns. Here’s a pic of my super-torus:

Quadradius - gypsyBytes game - super torus

The next turn he used Bombs. The only casualty? Yep, super-torus. So then we danced around a lot; he Recruited one of my pieces, we ended up trading a couple… eventually it was 2 vs. 1, my favor. But then he got Jump Proof and all I had to work with was Dredge Radial. So I lured him into a brilliant trap, Dredged him, and won because he couldn’t make a legal move (i.e., the timer would have run out and the game would have started killing his pieces as a penalty). Endgame screenshot:

Quadradius - gypsyBytes game - endgame