Archive for May, 2008


11:34 pm, Friday, May 23rd, 2008

I was thinking about numbering these posts in Roman numerals after I hit #1,000. I wonder if that’d be confusing for people. If I were doing that now, this would be post #CML. Most folks wouldn’t make the connection, right? They’d think I was referring to chronic myelogenous leukemia or something. Meh.

Since I’ve been getting up really early for the past few weeks I’ve been making breakfast more. So far it’s been the same thing each time: Three eggs sunny side up (peppered), two strips of bacon (cut into four pieces), two slices of toast (also cut into four pieces). My mom taught me a great way to fry eggs a long time ago; you cook the bacon, remove it, then plop the eggs into the grease they leave behind. Then you turn the heat up, pepper ‘em, pour in a little hot water, and cover. The steam cooks the tops of the eggs so you get a nice runny yolk but no runny whites. Anyway, a couple pics:

Eggs, bacon, toast 1    Eggs, bacon, toast 2

Yesterday Brett and I had lunch at Old Peking Restaurant in Moscow. It wasn’t great, but at least it was cheap. Low quality meat, nice wait staff. Golden Teriyaki, here in Pullman, is better. And New Garden has both of ‘em beat.

Today we got haircuts. I made an appointment with Brandon this time cuz last time I took my chances as a walk-in and wound up with this nose-ringed girl who couldn’t make things even and missed small chunks on the sides (I always get the sides clipped with a #2 guard and she went too wide around my ears leaving these tufts that were ~3/4″ longer than the surrounding hair; I had to fix it with scissors myself). Worse still, she took forever. That’s why I like Brandon: He’s accurate and fast. I timed our respective haircuts and mine was shorter by 7 minutes. And we get almost the same style (his is just a little shorter on top).

After the haircuts we had lunch at Swilly’s. I can’t believe it’d been more than a year since I’d last eaten there. I had a roast turkey sandwich with cranberry chutney and havarti, a cup of shrimp bisque, and real lemonade. It was extremely good. We need to go there more often.

Been reading The Authority lately. It’s pretty awesome. Not Fables awesome, but good. More on the same level as Top Ten. I’m nearly done with the Transfer of Power TPB, which is the last one before they restarted the series with Robbie Morrison. If you read the first collection, BTW, get the individual trades and not the “Absolute Authority” hardcovers — vol. 2 leaves out issues #23-26. (How can they call it “absolute” when it’s missing four issues?) Check out this panel I scanned from #20:

The Authority #20 - renegade Doctor explodes

Neat picture, huh? That’s from when Swift flies through the renegade Doctor at supersonic speed. Reminds me of one of our Theomundi GURPS games — Zephyrus was stalking Phobos in Toronto and attacked him in the same way (only he was also wielding a magic knife at the time). Amusing addendum to the above panel: The renegade Doctor recovers!

Wow, the IMBC is still going! It’s been like 53 days now. Pretty impressive.

Some major house progress the past few days — it’s painted (!), the doors are all on (even the garage door), and the kitchen cabinets are being installed. Here’s a highlight (more in the Flickr set):

House painted

I saw Forgetting Sarah Marshall on Tuesday. It was good. All the characters were awesome except the protagonist. His face creeps me out; he looks like Michael Rapaport. Also whines too much. Oh, and I didn’t realize till halfway through that the titular girl is Mary Lane from Reefer Madness! She’s great. And Paul Rudd was hilariousadorable as usual.

Not much else to report. I’ll be in the Tri-Cities tomorrow. Also: Picked up an ultra-keen action figure. Kay, time for bed.


9:28 pm, Saturday, May 17th, 2008

Food first:

Boneless pork ribs, veggies and dip    Chicken, spinach, cream pesto fettucini    Hot wings and sauce

Left to right: Today’s lunch — boneless pork ribs (with dry rub and BBQ sauce), celery, carrots, ranch dip; fresh fettucini with chicken, spinach, and a pesto cream sauce; extra-big hot wings with ranch/mustard sauce.

House progress update: The drywall has been taped, patched, and textured; the driveway, front walk, and back patio have all been poured (sidewalk still pending). Some highlights (rest is in the Flickr set):

Concrete walkway    Dining room at sunset

I’ve been taking these 1-2 mile walks every morning at 6:00 AM for the past week. The impetus for this was getting some really awesome new headphones and waking up so early with nothing to do. I took my camera along a couple times; added some more shots to my Houses on Pioneer Hill set. Usually I walk up to Lawson Gardens, then head west towards Kamiaken. I change my route every time, but I always hit Lawson Gardens. It has this bench near the water tower with a really fantastic view. I took a photo of it (the view, not the bench):

Lawson Gardens in Pullman, WA

A couple weeks ago we got a really terrific remote (a Philips Prestigo) on Woot. Super good deal — it was at least $30 more everywhere else I checked. Here’s what’s so boss about it: It has a backlit LCD screen and a sensor in the bottom that lets it “learn” IR signals from other remotes. You can program the new commands into main buttons or the LCD menu. I’ve been able to consolidate all my old remotes — the Prestigo now controls the TiVo, the receiver (audio), the TV, and the Xbox (which I use mostly for watching DVDs).

Phillips Prestigo remote

Been playing Mario Kart Wii a lot lately. This is my favorite Wii game. Some screenshots:

Mario Kart Wii screen    Mario Kart Wii licenses

See? I filled up my license with all gold on the 50 and 100 cc cups. 150 cc is deadly hard though. Right now my favorite vehicle is Luigi’s mach bike. I know people say you can play this way better with the virtual console controller, but I think it’s more fun with the Wiimote steering wheel. The online play is great too. My only complaint is that a lot (well, like 15%) of people seem to be obsessed with the Star Road track, which I loathe (Maple Treeway FTW). But that’s not so bad because the voting system keeps the map rotation pretty balanced.

Okay, I gotta go. I have lots more to blog about, but I’m way tired. Here’s an awesome music video: Of Montreal – Wraith Pinned to the Mist and Other Games. Oh, and a picture I drew of Jack Handey’s flag. Kay, time for sleep.


8:58 pm, Monday, May 5th, 2008

Haven’t felt like blogging lately. Dunno why I’ve been dreading it; it’s not like it’s hard. Constructing sound arguments in Nomic is way harder. Speaking of which, that’s an awesome game. I’d love to play a five-person game of it in real life. But I don’t think it’d be easy to come up with that many willing players. Most of my friends seem to dislike the rules-lawyering aspect of games and Nomic is nothing but rules-lawyering. Plus you have to read and write a lot which aren’t some folks’ fortes. But online MeFiNomic is still lots of fun.

Anyway, here’re some dinners I made in the past week:

Steak, baked potato, salad, Diet Squirt  Meatball subs  Chicken cordon bleu, quesadillas, salad  Steak, baked potato, broccoli

Left to right: New York strip steak, loaded baked potato, and salad; meatball subs with especially fresh mozzarella; chicken cordon bleu, salad, and Jarlsberg quesdilla; New York strip steak, loaded baked potato, broccoli.

My mom’s formerly-pregnant Weimaraner, Maui, had her puppies last month. On tax day, actually. Three boys. Here’s a small photo:

Maui and her puppies

In case you’re not familiar with purebred/show dog stuff, they usually have fancy AKC-registered names that only show up in pedigrees and show paperwork. Like, my dog’s full name is “Ch. Amsburg’s Made-U-Look,” but we just call her Looker. And these names are frequently part of a “litter theme,” like spies, Beach Boys songs, wines, etc. So, in honor of April 15th, my mom went with a financial theme. Brett and I made suggestions and she used ‘em! So these puppies are Grayhaven’s Qualified Dividends (mine), Preferred Stock (Brett’s), and Capital Gains. Cool, huh?

More progress on the house: The drywall is up! It’s all in the “Construction of House in West Pasco” Flickr set, as usual. And here’s some other stuff I recently uploaded:

  • Clover Island/April 2008 — Jones and I went out by Clover Island to help Heather photograph the Cable Bridge. (Well, we mostly just sat around and talked while she did antiquated-camera stuff.)
  • London/June 2002 — Thirty photos from a family vacation.
  • X-ray pics — Radiographs Jones and I did after a lengthy re-calibration of the DR plate.

I got a pair of these Injinji tetratsoks (in “sand”) to wear with my FiveFingers. They’re awesome. I want to get some more, but $12 is a little much for a pair of socks. I looked into other brands of toe socks, but most are similarly priced. There are good deals to be had on tabis, but that’s not what I’m looking for.

Picked up a couple new games in the Tri-Cities: Bohnanza and Alhambra: The Dice Game. Bohnanza (the game of German bean-farming!) is fairly fun, but I don’t have a great grip on the strategy yet. I think you could roughly describe it as a combination of the Catan trading system and rummy without runs.

Alhambra: The Dice Game is better IMHO, though it takes slightly longer to play than I’d prefer (~70-80 minutes). The closest mainstream analogue is probably Yahtzee, but I think it’s unfair to compare it to something so simple. There’s a variant that lets you combine it with regular Alhambra, but we haven’t tried that yet.

What else? Jones, Amanda, Logan, and I went bowling one night. I stunk up the joint with a 79 and an 85. Jones’s high score was 129. The music they played in the alley was really good; The Immigrant Song, Billie Jean, etc.

Jones and I saw Baby Mama while I was there too. I really loved it. Quick and funny, like 30 Rock. The only thing I didn’t like about it was Dax Shepard (the guy that played Carl). He irritates me for some reason. Maybe it’s because I strongly associate him with Idiocracy and Employee of the Month. Steve Martin, OTOH, was fantastic. So many quotable lines — Jones and I were throwing them back and forth a lot the next day. “I’m going to reward you with five minutes of uninterrupted eye contact.”

On Friday, Jones suggested we go see Iron Man together even though we were 134 miles apart — idea being that we could discuss it over the phone afterwards. This would’ve worked great except that I live in Pullman and the theater was swarmed by students — by 6:00 PM all the showings had already sold out. So I ended up seeing it on Sunday. I liked it. Wasn’t crazy about the primary villain, but I liked Downey and Paltrow. Complaints: The Burger King endorsement was over the top. (What’s the first thing you want after being held captive by terrorists for three months? A Whopper, of course!) Also, the post-credits Samuel L. Jackson scene was retarded.

Alright, later. Gotta pick up Mario Kart Wii.