General Ramblings comments edit

It snowed like nothing else on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, to the point that in some cases you actually needed chains or traction tires to get around. I, fearing the other drivers on the road and their inability to cope with such circumstances, did not leave the house, opting instead to watch movies and play games with Jenn. This was probably a much better use of my time in the long run anyway.

New Year’s Eve Jenn and I went to the Winter Hawks game against Seattle and watched our boys lose a game they should have won had they not totally dropped the ball for the last half. After that we went home and ate junk food. We barely made it to midnight before we were just too tired and went to sleep. I wonder if that’s evidence of my increasing age, that it demonstrates how much I care, or if I just lead the wrong kind of lifestyle to be able to stay up all night. We weren’t out and about, though, and I think had there been more general activity (like a party or something) I probably would have found the energy to stay awake longer.

I’ve been working on this shelf that I bought at the craft store - trying to stain it a nice red mahogany color - and I’m finding that this project really isn’t suited to performing in an apartment with no garage. I can’t leave the shelf outside to dry, so I stick it in the computer room and shut the door (so the cats won’t get on it) and now when you come in the computer room you get a nice high off the fumes. I can’t wait to have a house with an actual garage and a place to do stuff like this.

I have also been working on ripping my CDs into 256kbps AAC format and I’m currently working on “The Very Best Of Rod Stewart.” That gives me 6680 songs, or 19.4 days worth of music, totaling 50.48GB.

Finally, in my productive streak, I’m working on getting some of my stuff that I don’t want anymore onto eBay. I’ve never sold anything on eBay before, but I’m sure it can’t be that hard. I’ve taken the pictures of my items and now I just have to get the HTML together to display them properly and write up some descriptions. Then we’ll see what happens.

I was over reading Penny Arcade and they were talking about a pretty biased New York Post article advising people to dump stock in Take Two Interactive because they produce the Grand Theft Auto series of games. I don’t even think I want to comment on the ridiculous nature of the NYP article; the Penny Arcade guys say it best on their site. I will say, though, that seeing an article like this discredits the New York Post as a viable news source for me. If the article had shown up in the “opinions” or “editorial” section, I might let it slide, but this is supposed to be a business article reporting news. Instead, you get to read a tabloid-worthy tale from an obvious ultra-conservative. Just exactly what the world needs.

personal comments edit

I got an RMA for my Time Crisis 3 game, so I’ll be sending that back to Namco to get a replacement disc. In the meantime, I’m keeping myself busy with SSX3.

Last night I busied myself with figuring out the whole bartending thing. I’ve found that my favorite drinks to make are the layered ones, mostly because the whole thing fascinates me. here are a couple that turned out reasonably well - on the left, a B52; on the right, a Peach Haze.

B52 and Peach
Haze

I’ve also been working on staining a wooden shelf that I bought at the craft store the other day. I thought that buying a raw shelf and then staining it myself would be a money-saver, but if time is money, then I’ve wasted about $2000 on this thing already. Woodworking projects, including staining and painting, are generally bad ideas if you live in an apartment without a garage. I need to remember that.

Finally, we’ve had a leak over our stove now for a while. The first time we found it, it had rained the night before and had leaked down through the fan vent over the stove and onto the stove top. It was sort of discolored and gross, but what can you expect? Plus there was a lot, and we soaked it up with a towel. After a couple of times, we figured it was actually a leak and not some one-time thing, so we filled out a repair request form at the apartment office. The guy came to fix it and we didn’t see it for about a week.

I went out this morning and found there was more there, but this time I looked a little closer…

We have squirrels living in the crawl space, and they’re peeing down my Goddamn vent. I can’t say I’m surprised; it’s happened before. I was hoping I’d seen the last of these little assholes, but apparently not. I’ve since filled out another maintenance request, so here’s hoping I can put an end to the small animal urination in the area that I prepare my food. If it’s not one thing, it’s something else.

personal, playstation, music comments edit

I woke up this morning distinctly glad that I still don’t have to go back to work quite yet. I’ve finally reached a decent state of decompression, and while I admit I have actually reached a state of boredom a couple of times so far, it’s been a welcome relief from the hustle and bustle that I usually endure. Having nothing to do (that is, nothing that has to be done) is a nice thing.

Jenn and I continued our recovery from the Christmas holiday by venturing out to what is commonly referred to as the “After Christmas Sales.” I’m not a big shopaholic, but I did find some bargains I couldn’t pass up. At Target, I picked up a couple of Harry Potter Lego sets on the cheap, and at Radio Shack I got my remote controlled Acura RSX. I’ve never had an R/C car before, so it’s pretty fun. Now if it would only stop snowing and/or raining so I could take it outside. I’m sure the cats are pretty tired of it by now.

I got my PS2 back. Actually, it’s a refurbished unit, so it’s not actually “my PS2” as in “the original PS2 I had,” it’s a semi-new unit, factory inspected, with a warranty and all. And you know what? Time Crisis 3 still doesn’t fucking work. So now I’m convinced that it is, in fact, the disc at fault, and not the console. However, I’m still glad I went through the process because DVD movies finally play correctly and all of the games I have (other than TC3) work perfectly. So I’m still ahead of the game. I have since contacted Namco support to see about getting a replacement disc.

I continue to rip my CDs into 265kbps AAC format so I can listen to them on my iPod. I’m just starting on the letter ‘S’ (my CDs are alphabetical by artist) and I’ve got 5,988 tracks totalling 45.3GB, or about 17.4 days’ worth of music. Not too bad; I thought it’d be much more space taken up than that. (Technically, some of my CDs are comedy, like Denis Leary stuff, so it’s not all “music,” but it’s still 17.4 days’ worth of audio.)

New Year’s plans include going to the Winter Hawks game and then going home. I bought a book - Cocktails For Wimps - and I think I’m going to try out some of the fancier ones with layers and stuff. I got a nice bar spoon and shaker from Kitchen Kaboodle yesterday, so I’m all ready.

personal comments edit

Christmas 2003 has come and gone, and with it has arrived a bountiful helping of goodies and fun. Not to mention some cool toys that I’ve been wanting.

Here’s a picture of the majority of Jenn and my Christmas Haul. Not everything is pictured; some things have already found homes, are in use, or have been taken by Jenn to work today. Click the picture to get a larger version.

Most of the 2003 Christmas Haul. Click to
enlarge.

The first thing that long-time readers will notice is that the picture quality is much improved. That is thanks to my parents’ gift of a 2.0 megapixel digital camera and 128MB smart media card. I can now take up to nine minutes’ worth of 320x240 video, or like 275 pictures at 1600x1200. It’s got a flash, it’s got a nice little preview LCD display… perfect. Plus, plenty of space for pictures! I’ve been hoping for something like that. Now I’m in business.

Other highlights…

That’s not all, but that’s the majority of it. If you’re reading this and I didn’t mention your present, nothing personal.

Jenn got two George Foreman grills - one smaller one, and one larger one. I think she’s going to take the smaller one back and get something else. We hardly have counter space for one grill, let alone two.

I always have trouble deciding what to get Jenn, mainly because she wants “nice things” but she also wants lots of things to open. So what do you do? Buy fewer, more expensive things or several less expensive items? The last couple of years I erred on the “several less expensive items” side, but this year I got her a nice Mickey Mouse watch that she wanted; a Citizen Eco-Drive watch that’s solar powered so she’ll never have to get a new battery. I think she liked it, but you could see her disappointment with not having a lot of stuff to open. Next year I’ll probably go back to several less expensive items.

So here’s how the holiday went:

Christmas Eve we went over to Jenn’s… uh… cousin’s? uncle’s? I dunno, some relation’s… house and had some food. I wasn’t too hungry, particularly considering it was a ham dinner and I don’t like ham. But it was nice to meet some of her relatives that I haven’t met before (there seem to always be more).

After that, we went over to my parents’ house and watched Pirates Of The Caribbean and hung out. We got home, exhausted, about midnight.

The next morning we were promised breakfast at her parents’ house, so we busted over there by about 9:30a and found that there was no breakfast. Bah. We opened gifts (which, as ever, consisted mainly of watching Jenn’s niece open thousands of gifts - every child should be as spoiled as she is; I know I never was) and hung out for a while.

At around 11:00a or so, we went to Jenn’s grandma’s house to visit. We hadn’t seen her grandma for a while, so it was good to see her again. Not much was going on there (surprise) but that was just fine by me. Usually it’s utter chaos.

We got to my parents’ house around 11:45a or so and stuffed some food in our faces (leftover pizza from the night before) because we hadn’t eaten. After that, we opened gifts until about 1:00p when my grandparents showed up. We ate, talked, and did a small amount of further gift opening. About 4:00p or so people started leaving, so Jenn and I packed up and headed out.

At 6:00p we headed back to my parents’ house so we could meet up and head to the theater to see Paycheck. I liked it quite a bit - I had hoped it would be good and was excited by the previews, and I wasn’t disappointed.

After the movie we went straight home and, well, now it’s today. Tomorrow Jenn and I will go shopping to return the things we don’t need and buy ourselves the prizes we didn’t get.

I think the only thing I’m really disappointed about is that, as time goes on and I get older, Christmas loses more and more of its magic. I do my best to keep it in perspective and try to maintain the wonder, but the hustle and bustle and commercialization of the season usually overtake me and I don’t get into the Christmas spirit until it’s far too late to really appreciate it. Jenn noticed it, too, and we don’t know what to do about it.

The part I think I have the hardest time with is trying to make everyone happy. This includes making sure we make it to everyone else’s house with enough time to spend some quality holiday time with folks as well as making sure we get gifts for people that they’ll like. It’s hard, and even with my online shopping I think the simple fact that so much weight rests with good gifts is what brings the season down. We’re toying with the idea of doing a secret Santa style drawing in my family where everyone just buys one really nice thing for one person and that’s it. It would definitely make it easier…

So that’s that. One more year, and now we start anew.

If anyone’s looking for a belated gift idea, I just discovered they’re releasing a two-disc version of Alice In Wonderland. Booyah! Then again, maybe I’ll just buy it myself…

personal, food comments edit

Saturday was the family meal.

See, my grandfather likes to get the whole family together and then, rather than getting people gifts, he buys lunch or whatever. Usually it takes place at some “halfway point” since half of the family lives in the Seattle, WA general area and the other half lives around Portland, OR. Last year we went to Spiffy’s, and it was… not so good. This year we ended up at the Country Cousin restaurant in Centralia, WA for breakfast.

Sigh.

I can’t really complain so much, since it wasn’t nearly as bad as last year. We got there about 15 minutes early, and all of us (my parents, sister Tori, Jenn, and I) were totally hungry after driving two hours for breakfast. We had the room in the back to ourselves and when we got back there we saw that most everyone was there already.

I ordered the chili omelette, I think Jenn had some “meat lover’s omelette” or something… It was all pretty uneventful.

Highlights of the trip included:

My aunt telling us about how she went out dancing the night before and had some little Mexican guy saying, “Spank me! Spank me!” at her.

The waitress. (She was hot.)

The photo op outside. There was one of those walls with peoples’ bodies painted on it and holes cut out so you stick your head through the hole and it looks like your head is on the painted body. One of the holes was about a foot off the ground and the painted body was a dog. My dad got his head down and stuck it through the dog hole. I’m hoping those pictures came out.

That’s about it. Generally uneventful, which is surprising considering the crew we had together there. I think next year we may pass on the trip, though; driving that far for a quick meal isn’t a whole lot of fun, especially when we see everyone at different times throughout the season anyway.

Onward to the holidays!