9:21 am, Tuesday, June 10th, 2008

I just took these pictures from our front door. It’s snowing here in Pullman. In June.

Snow in Pullman in June 2    Snow in Pullman in June 1



1:16 am, Tuesday, June 10th, 2008

I scanned and printed so many documents today. Stuff for the mortgage. I probably saved like seven bucks by not going to Kinko’s. Worth it? Yes, but only because I had Panic at the Disco’s new album on looped shuffle. Man, it’s nothing like their first album but I love almost all of it. She Had the World is such an awesome song.

I downloaded Metal Slug: Super Vehicle-001 for the Wii virtual console yesterday. Unfortunately, every time I tried to play it my TV would act like it was changing inputs and I’d get nothing but a black screen or, at best, a very faint outline of the opening menu. Sound worked fine, but no display. I called Wii tech support and, after a lot of menu navigation (why is there no clear option for “my virtual console game doesn’t work”?) I got a very friendly, competent Canadian. (“Zed” instead of “zee.”) Turns out some of the Neo Geo games run at 240 lines of resolution which some TVs can’t handle in HD/EDTV mode, so they blank out. But there’s a secret fix to force the game to display at 480 lines: Start the game. Once it’s loaded, press the home button and select Operations Guide. At this screen, plug in a nunchuk attachment and press Z+A+2 at the same time. Bam, 480-line mode!

Anyway, Metal Slug is very cool. Great graphics and animation. Can’t believe I’d never played it till now.

Last Friday I was pretty bored. Jones was sick and Logan and Amanda were tied up with the Friday Night Magic tournament as usual (too many interruptions for proper gaming), so I went to see a movie. I had to choose between Kung Fu Panda and Zohan; the Rotten Tomato scores were 84% and 34%, respectively, so I went with the panda movie even though it looked pretty lame to me. I think the ads grossly misrepresent it — it was much, much better than I was expecting. Not quite as good as Horton Hears a Who!, but very close. There’s an exceptionally awesome three-minute 2D-animated opening sequence where the panda fights off entire armies of evil dark things. That alone was worth the price of admission.

The rest of the movie is great, but I don’t think it made as big an impression. My only major complaints are that Dreamworks cheats a little with their modeling — Po’s patchwork pants that behave like neoprene, complex objects represented by elaborate textures on simpler forms — and some of the voice acting choices were too weird. Like, why was Monkey voiced by Jackie Chan? He says five words in the whole movie and the accent is jarring since he’s literally the only character that has one. And David Cross as the crane just felt surreal. Jack Black was great though.

I also watched Michael Clayton on DVD. It was meh/okay. Decent, I guess. They dribbled out the clues a little too slowly for my liking.

A couple pics:

Buffalo steak with potato    Dining area, chandelier, carpet

On the left, buffalo (well, bison) steak and a baked potato. This is all from the co-op in Moscow. I wasn’t really wowed by the freshness or quality of anything except the sour cream. I got this weird organic brand that I hadn’t seen before. The stuff is fantastic; it’s more like cream cheese, really. Kind of sweet, very light. On the right, yet more house progress! (Anyone sick of hearing about this yet?) It’s all in the Flickr set. It’s amazing how much quieter the house is with the carpets installed.

Boy, gas has shot up lately. It was $4.14 at the Road 68 Shell station when I left Pasco. Pullman still has to catch up; the Safeway has it at $4.05. I think last week was the first time I had personally seen prices higher than $3.99. Hard to believe it was like $1.15 when I was in highschool.

Been catching up on my comics. Jack of Fables vol. 2 was awesome. KoDT #137-139 less so. Still have the latest Fables and Incredible TPBs to get through. Walking Dead vol. 8 is taking forever to come out.

Here’re some neat images that caught my fancy on the imageboards today:

Venture Bros. art    3Dish graffiti    Bomber over Golden Gate bridge

Gotta get up early tomorrow. Heritage wants to show the apartment again in the morning. Also have a metric buttload of packing to do.



5:24 pm, Friday, June 6th, 2008

I’m briefly in the Tri-Cities again. I swapped my car for my parents’ big truck on the last trip; managed to get Brett’s dresser, the big recliner, a bookshelf, a TV and lots of boxes transferred down here. Moving is always awful, but this isn’t as bad as the Fed Way/Pullman move was.

The house is practically finished. All they need to do now is finish the sliding doors on the shower, take the paper off the skylight, clean up their messes, fix a vent cover, adjust the cabinet doors (uneven in spots), put on the pulls and knobs, etc. Minor stuff. I’d post pictures, but the computer I’m on doesn’t have an SD card slot.

Heritage Realty has started showing our apartment to people. You have to love that they notify you only twenty-four hours in advance via notices taped to your front door. Classy. I hope the prospective tenants get a good look at the room with all the flood damage. It’s been six months and Heritage, in true slumlord fashion, still hasn’t fixed it. I posted a little notice of my own to remind them; nothing libelous, just facts. “This is the room that flooded in December 2007. It’s been preserved just as your contractor left it, right down to the torn up carpet. I’ve repeatedly asked you to fix it but nothing has been done.”

Anyway, I’ve been building computers and doing insurance stuff. Turns out Newegg has an exceptionally awesome return policy; can’t believe this is the first time in four years and forty-eight orders that I’ve ever had to RMA something with them.



5:12 pm, Monday, June 2nd, 2008

I’ve been in the Tri-Cities all week, so I don’t have any food pics to share. But here’s a cool dune buggy I saw in the parking lot of the Pasco Wal-Mart:

Dune Buggy 3/4 view    Dune Buggy side view    Dune Buggy rear view

Last Saturday we played games at Adventures Underground. One of the Magic players, Scott, joined us. We did Catan (Scott won, though we messed up the rules a little due to all of us being so rusty), Ticket to Ride (I trounced everyone with 131 pts.), and Streetcar (I won, but it was extremely close). Pics:

Settlers of Catan boardgame    Ticket to Ride boardgame    Streetcar boardgame

House stuff: All the linoleum flooring is in (bathrooms, utility room, kitchen/dining), counters are in, cabinets/drawers are in, carpets are on site (but not installed), and appliances have been delivered. As usual, here are a couple highlights. (Everything else, in full five-megapixel glory, is in the Flickr set.)

Kitchen cabinets and counters    Master bath counter and linoleum flooring

Been working on this major upgrade at the clinic. New hardware for all the non-DR computers, much OS updating, a new wireless network, and a significant update for the practice management software. Also sorted out some of our biometric timeclock trouble. Funny story about the big database migration: The developer promised it’d take less than five hours; it ended up taking more than three days. Also, a workstation died shortly after its upgrade (dead mobo or CPU), so I get to fix that when I next return. Anyway it’s all been a ginormous PITA.

Saw a bunch of movies. Here’re my pico-reviews: The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian (decent; neat special effects, way too long, annoying CG mice), Nine Months (okay; basically a crappier, ’90s version of Knocked Up), Four Weddings and a Funeral (great movie, but Andie MacDowell is a feckless slut and I thought it was lame that Hugh Grant chose her at the end), Diary of the Dead (very mediocre; horrible acting, clichés upon clichés), Meet the Fockers (meh, but Blythe Danner’s always awesome), and Cloverfield (really awesome).

(The preceding blog stuff was written two days ago. I couldn’t post it because I was getting funky MySQL errors. I’m still getting the errors on some things, but it looks like I can post anyway now. The following text was written today.)

Alright, I’m just about to head back to Pullman. Today’s been wicked busy. Some good news on the house though: My home owner’s insurance is going to be much less than I was expecting — with all my deductions and a $1,000 deductible, it’ll be about $25/month. I thought it’d be around $80; even my mortgage guy projected $35 (which I thought was extremely optimistic).

I saw Horton Hears a Who! last night. I wasn’t expecting much because a lot of reviews I’d been exposed to talked about it “dragging” and being a little dull but worthwhile, etc. But it was fantastic. I think it might be the second or third best movie I’ve seen this year. The animation is all wonderful. I love how they shorthand the detail where it’s unnecessary, like on dirt paths, leaves, and the sides of buildings, but build it up into something absurdly overwrought where it pays off, like with the molting feathers on Vlad the vulture. I also loved the Avery/Jones-ish elasticity of the characters; that’s one thing Dreamworks seems to do better than Pixar, IMO. ‘Course, that’s probably easier to do when you’re working with people like Jim Carrey who’s practically a cartoon already. Oh, and the two 2D sequences were great. It’s so cool when movies mix media like that — like the brownie song in Reefer Madness or the rhino story in The Ten. Anyway, I don’t think it dragged at all. Every minute of it was enjoyable for me.

Oh yeah, the IMBC ended yesterday! Congratulations, Dennis Lever! We’re having a trophy made. We’ll be doing those every year from now on, though who knows if the design’ll stay consistent. I’ll post pics when it’s ready (and hopefully Dennis will give us a victory shot with it after we ship it to him). Anyway, thanks to Tim for helping organize the 2008 IMBC and Beefy and Jones for serving as auxiliary organizers!

Okay, I gotta go. Lots to do. I’ll try to blog more in Pullman.



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.