movies, tv, personal, costumes comments edit

There is not enough time in the day to do all the things I have to get done.

That, coupled with my distinct lack of patience, has me pretty much topped-out as far as activity is concerned. It may not look like I’m doing a lot, but I’m about ready to have a cardiac from the stress.

The weekend… where to begin?

Friday night, my dad and I went to see The Transporter, and liked it. I wrote up a review a little bit ago and posted it, so check that out.

After the movie, my dad came back to my place and we watched three of the first four episodes to Push, Nevada that he had recorded. I caught a few of the clues while watching, but after checking out the enochonline web site, it seems the game is much bigger than I am. There’s money to be won, and someone will win it. In the meantime, I enjoyed the show - it was very David Lynch - and I hope ABC doesn’t kill it by putting it opposite CSI on Thursday nights.

Saturday was a day of getting things done, and Saturday night Jenn and I watched Seattle destroy the Hawks, three to nothing. It was a terrible beating, and I am disappointed in the Hawks for the distinct lack of playing hockey that was displayed.

I also received my ninja costume from Karate-Mart. Heh. I bought an extra-large, figuring it would accommodate a 6’2” guy - after all, the site says it will fit someone over 6’3”. Not so. The pants fit more like skin-tight culottes and the shirt made me look like an organ grinder monkey. I’ve packed the thing up and sent it back via UPS as of today, but I was thinking about this…

It cost me $9.90 to ship the $30 uniform and a $6 fake sword. Let’s assume, for the sake of argument, that the wooden sword cost $4.90 to ship. That means the uniform cost a total of $35. Well, to ship it back, it cost me $8.90 because they request you ship things via UPS, RPS, or some other insured shipping method, and that’s the UPS charge. They also charge you a 15% restocking fee - in my case, that’s $4.50. So that means it cost me ($5 original shipping + $8.90 return shipping

  • $4.50 restocking fee) a total of $18.40 to try on a costume that didn’t fit. Web shopping is not all it’s cracked up to be, at least when clothing is involved. Now you know why brick-and-mortar stores will never go out of style.

Jenn got her costume on Saturday at Party City. Mary Katherine Gallagher from Saturday Night Live. It’s a good costume, too.

Oh, and Jenn got some new jeans at The Gap. Normally I wouldn’t mention something so mundane, but there was a bit of a production involved with getting the jeans.

Jenn’s used to wearing the “reverse” cut jeans. I’m not even sure what that means - how do you reverse fit a pair of jeans? Anyway, that’s the kind she wears. Or, should I say, “wore,” because they don’t make that kind anymore? Which means that Jenn had to find a new cut of jeans to wear.

So we went into The Gap and she grabbed a pair of the “classic” jeans off the rack and starts walking to the counter. I’m all, “Hey, aren’t you going to try them on? How do you know they’ll fit?”

“They’ll fit,” she said.

I wasn’t so sure. “Why don’t you try them on so we don’t have to come back and return them?” After a bit of prodding, she went into the dressing room and tried them on. A few minutes later, she came out.

“I hate you because you’re always right.” Yeah, that’s what I thought. They didn’t fit.

She put the pants back, and the sales lady came over and asked if we needed help. “No,” said Jenn. “Yes,” said I, “we do. She used to wear the ‘reverse’ jeans but, of course, you don’t carry those anymore. What do you have now?” The sales lady gave us the ins and outs of the 300,000 different cuts of jeans that The Gap carries (none of which fit me) and then told Jenn to try the “boot cut” kind.

Jenn, of course, refused.

After more prodding, she took the pants into the dressing room and tried them on. You know what?

They fit just fine. Plus, they look really good. Hella better than those reverse-cut sons-of-bitches. This new pair of jeans has, oh, I don’t know… personality. I like ‘em. Jenn’s still getting used to them, but I think she’ll come around. (We did end up buying the boot cut pair. I couldn’t resist rubbing in how right I was for the rest of the day, either.)

Sunday I went to the Portland Comic Convention and picked up several card sets and back issues that I had been looking for. I spent way too much money, but such is the way of things. I was going to buy that stuff anyway, so I might as well just get it over with.

After that, I went to the local sporting goods store and picked up some sweat pants and a hooded sweatshirt that I will magically transform into a new ninja costume. Hey, I liked the sword and wanted to do something with it. Besides, I can wear the sweats other places than just a costume party. Good enough, then.

So now it’s Monday and I found out a little while ago that I need to rebuild my desktop workstation because something weird is going on with .NET application debugging. Not that I mind too much - the machine has been running for a long time without a rebuild - but it’s a time consumer that I didn’t want to have to deal with just now. Oh well, such is life.

movies, tv comments edit

The Transporter is out tonight and my dad and I will be going to see it. I’m stoked. I’m hoping it’s as badass as it looks in the trailers. Usually Luc Besson movies are, but I’m noticing this was directed by Corey Yuen, whoever that is (looks like he’s done a lot of Hong Kong action stuff). Either way, I’m ready to go.

Watched Survivor last night on my new TV

  • the first real show I’ve gotten to just sit down and watch since I got the thing hooked up. It was the bomb. Didn’t hurt that they voted that whiny bitch Ghandia out, either. Now if they will just vote Robb out…

traffic, personal comments edit

I just spent 45 minutes at the gas station.

“Why,” you might ask, “did you just spend 45 irretrievable minutes of your life at - of all places - a gas station?”

And I’ll say, “Because, my dear, dear friend, the people at the gas station are fucking deaf.”

“And what,” you might further inquire, “exactly do you mean by that?”

Therein lies the story.

I went over to Barnes & Noble to pick up some .NET programming books on my lunch hour. Hey, I can expense ‘em, right? So I got some good stuff to help me learn new and cool things.

I then went to Haggen to pick up some lunch items so I can put lunches together next week. Noticed they had some Dijon garlic mustard there so I had to get some. It’s… okay. Not what I was expecting. But I digress.

Finally, last stop before I came back to work, I stopped at the gas station. [In]conveniently enough, my cell phone rang just as the guy came to ask me what I wanted. I answered the phone (said “hang on a sec!”) and looked at the guy and told him, “Fill with premium.”

“Fill?” asks the guy.

“Yup. Fill,” say I, and go back to the phone conversation.

I finish up on the phone and look back to see how much money this is going to cost me when I notice that he’s filling my tank with regular.

Now, a bit of inside info: Normally when people ask for premium gas, it’s a ploy to look important or rich. Yes, I do seriously believe that. But sometimes they ask for it because their car requires it. I have a 2002 Acura RSX Type-S. The standard RSX requires a gas with 86+ octane rating or it will ping and knock; the Type-S requires a 91+ octane rating or it will ping and knock (and, I’ve heard, slowly just destroy things in there). Regular unleaded is an 87 octane; “Plus” unleaded is 89; Premium is 92. I have to buy premium or it fucks up my car.

I hop out of the car and stop the pump from filling. At this point, I’m pretty much screwed, though - I’ve got a full tank of regular gas, way too low on the octane for me to want to risk going anywhere.

I get the manager out there and he’s all, “Well, we can stick a can of octane boost in there and that’ll bring the octane level up where you want it…” Cool, let’s do it. “…But we don’t have any right now, so you have the choice of going to get some yourself or waiting for one of my guys to go get it and bring it back.”

I’ll let you in on a secret: I don’t know jack squat about cars. I don’t know where to shop for parts, which parts or chemicals to shop for, or what I’d do with them if I did. Besides which, I’m not driving the car because it’s got the wrong gas in it.

So I chose to wait for the guy to bring back some octane boost. He was pretty quick about it, only about a half hour or so, but damn, that’s 45 minutes at the gas station.

Lesson learned: Watch every move everyone makes around you or someone’s going to fuck up your shit.

music, personal, media comments edit

Weird dream Monday night: I was at a Tori Amos concert where the audience seemed to be only about 30 people. Tori made several costume changes during the show, though I can only remember that one was an old-school cheerleader and one was the Queen of Hearts (though it looked closer to something out of Cirque du Soleil). After the show, she came out into the audience (where I seemed to be the only person) and said, “He’s not dying on a deathbed, he’s living on a deathbed, making facelets for the stars.” Then she handed me a concert program - it was the Who Makes Facelets Anymore? Tour - and walked away.

That’s when I woke up.

I don’t know what a facelet is. I have this weird image of my mind of a charm bracelet that has a bunch of Lego people heads on it with various expressions on their faces. Maybe that’s what it is. I wonder if I made something like that, if people would buy them. Like, on eBay or something. I wonder if Lego sells just the heads of the people.

Now that weird time is over…

Last time I wrote, I had the entertainment center built and the TV was going to be delivered Monday afternoon.

Since then: The TV did, in fact, get delivered on Monday afternoon. I didn’t see it on the web page before, but the TV itself weighs 304 pounds and the stand weighs 69 pounds. That’s 373 pounds (169.2 kg for you metric folks) of TV. Damn, anyway. Luckily, the stand is smooth on the bottom, so I can sort of slide it around on the carpet with a lot of effort.

I got the stereo components all put into the new entertainment center cabinet and all the wires have been run between all the various components and the television. That only took about five hours. I tried to do a reasonable job of cable management, but in the end, there are so many cables and I got pissed off enough that I just sort of let the extra cable do its own thing. I zip-tied stuff as best I could, but there’s just too much to fight. Like one guy against the Huns. Much profanity was to be had, and my knees really hurt now from sitting on them while running cables. That all happened Monday night.

Last night, after helping my dad hook up his new printer, I went home and cleaned up the majority of the mess left behind by the technology transition. I still haven’t read the gigantic user manual that came with my TV and I really need to do that. There are features on there that I want to use that I don’t know how to, and there are some features I don’t even know what they do. Maybe tonight. There are still some big boxes that need to go out to the recycle bin, too.

And there wasn’t enough room in the living room to leave out the rocking chair we have, so I disassembled it so it can go in a closet. Now if only we had room to put it in a closet…

Come hell or high water, I’m going to play something on the PS2 tonight. I mean, that’s a significant portion of why I bought the damn TV anyway.

Speaking of PS2 and cool games, I pre-ordered the Grand Theft Auto: Vice City soundtrack box set yesterday. Amazon doesn’t have much info about it, so for info check out the Vice City Radio site, but if you’re going to buy it, why not buy it through me? :) It’s a seven-disc box set. Each disc has all of the music from one of the GTA: VC radio stations. You can buy each disc separately, but hey, I’m down with all of ‘em. I’m always down with the 80’s tunes.

personal, media comments edit

Lots of stuff happened this weekend, culminating in my loss of a hefty chunk of change to the Gods of Technology. But, as usual, let’s start at the beginning, as that’s a very good place to start.

Friday night Jenn and I went to the Hawks game versus Spokane where Spokane promptly thrashed us, five to three. I wasn’t really disappointed, though, since the Hawks really played their asses off. It was a very exciting game, and I congratulate them on a game well played.

Saturday afternoon we went to a wedding reception for one of Jenn’s friends, Connie. Connie’s cool, but I’ve really only met her, uh, twice now, and the only other person I knew there, Derek, another of Jenn’s friends, left almost as soon as we got there. So I really didn’t know anyone at this thing, it was outside during the drizzle, and it was just slightly cold. But the food was really good - which is not something you can usually claim at a wedding reception - so I can’t call it a loss. I filled up my plate like three times with various and sundry goodies. Unfortunately, we were unable to stay for cake (and I did want cake) because we had been there for two hours already and the cake wasn’t going to be cut for another hour after that. Might have been good cake, but I’m not sticking around for hours on end just to have cake.

Saturday night we hung out with my friend Gerb, who is currently attending Western Oregon University to get his degree in Theater Arts. I hadn’t seen him in quite a while, so it was good to have him over to meet the new kitty, visit, and generally hang out. Good times.

Sunday we were going to get done all the crappy housework that we hadn’t finished all week long. I was planning on washing and waxing my car, shopping, finishing up the laundry, and maybe sitting down to watch Monsters, Inc. That is almost, but not completely, exactly unlike what happened Sunday.

Got up, cleaned the shower and the toilet in our bathroom, took a shower, got dressed. So far, so good. Cleaned up the living room a bit, then took a break to play a little Dynasty Warriors 3.

Finished up a couple of levels in the game, then went to my parents’ house to visit and wash/wax my car. My parents decided to go to Ethan Allen prior to us getting there, so I didn’t get to see them, but I did wash my car. I waxed the front end prior to the sun coming out and making the car too hot to finish waxing. I got the front end, which I think is the important part. I can see why people pay other people to wax their cars. That job sucks ass.

While I was finishing up the front end wax job, I got a call from the sales guy (Rod) at Magnolia Hi-Fi. He said that my TV was in, but because of the stupid Port of Portland strike/lockout/whatever that’s going on, they only have three of the sets until the end of the month. Needless to say, I headed down to Magnolia.

Got to Magnolia and waited - seriously - about an hour for Rod to finish up with some other customers who, it looked to me, didn’t actually buy anything. Maybe they did, and I didn’t see it. They did sit up talking by the cash register for quite a while.

When Rod finally got to me, it was probably the easiest sale he made all week. He knew I wanted it, I knew I wanted it, so we worked out a deal where I got the four-year extended warranty for pretty cheap, the TV, and a component video cable so I can see the progressive scan output from my new DVD player.

A lot of people have asked me questions about the TV, so I thought I’d answer them.

Travis’s TV FAQ

  1. Q: How much did you pay for your TV? I heard it was expensive. A: It seems a lot of folks are genuinely concerned for my budgetary needs, and I have to thank them for that concern. Contrary to popular belief, I do not have any credit problems or any difficulties in planning out my budget to make ends meet. But, since you asked, it broke down like this: $2835 - Sony KV40XBR800 TV, with stand $200 - Magnolia Four-Year Performance Guarantee $47 - Middle-tier component video cables $3082 - TOTAL
  2. Q: Why would you spend that much on a TV? A: I like TV. I like my PS2. I like DVDs. Maybe you just bought a computer for $3000. Maybe you just bought a car stereo for $3000. I bought a TV. I like TV.
  3. Q: Why wouldn’t you just buy a rear projection TV like everyone else? A: If you look dead-on at a rear projection TV, it looks great. You ever stand up while trying to watch it? It fades out. Maybe not too much, but it fades. Now start walking toward the side of the TV. The closer you get, the darker the picture gets. That bugs me. There are only three TV types that don’t really do that - LCD, plasma, and tube. LCD is way too expensive. Plasma… I almost did that, but they aren’t quite to the point where the price justifies the performance. Which leaves tube TVs. The Sony KV40XBR800 is the largest tube TV made.
  4. Q: That thing must be huge A: It is, thanks.
  5. Q: What does a TV like that do? A: Lots of stuff. Check out the Sony page on it and read up. You’ll want one, too.

So anyway, I bought the TV and signed up for delivery between 11a and 2p today. I told ‘em that Jenn won’t be there until 12:30p, but Rod said not to worry about it. Fine.

The stand that the TV comes with isn’t big enough to hold all my shit. I have the whole home theater thing - amp/tuner, DVD player, CD player, VCR, digital cable box, PS2, turntable, tape deck… There are two shelves on the TV stand, and for such an immense TV, the stand shelves are two sizes - small and extra-small. I think I can put the cable box and the PS2 on each shelf, respectively, and the rest… uh…

With that thought in mind, Jenn and I went to Fred Meyer, where we found a pretty bitchin’ Sauder home theater system that had all the racks and stuff to hold our crap. Of course, they were out of them at the store we were at, so we ended up going to BFE to pick it up, but it all paid off. They loaded both boxes (it came in two boxes) into my car, and I was homeward bound.

I got home and… shit, that thing was 200 pounds per box if it was an ounce. I don’t know who at Sauder thought it would be a good idea to make it that heavy, but I can envision the conversation going something like this:

Designer: We’ve got this new product that will work wonderfully for folks with larger televisions. It’s got a couple of nice cabinets and a shelf over the top.

Boss: Great! Quality wood?

Designer: Only the best. Inch-thick finished particle board.

Boss: That’s perfect. Package it up.

Designer: I recommend putting this in five boxes - the pieces are too heavy to put in just two boxes. Most folks can’t just heave 200 pounds over their shoulders.

Boss: Fuck that! You’re fucking fired! Two box maximum. Americans are a bunch of pussies anyway. If people were in shape, we’d be able to put it all in ONE box. Just for that, I’m going to make all the pre-drilled screw holes just slightly too small so people won’t get any weaker than they are.

I ended up opening the boxes in the car and taking it upstairs piece by piece. That was, oh, 6:00p. By 10:00p my hands were feeling arthritic and my arms couldn’t move, but all of the stuff was out of the old entertainment center and into the new one. Not hooked up - hey, no TV - but sitting in there so the cats can’t get to it.

We thusly loaded up Jenn’s sister’s truck with the old entertainment center and hauled it over to her place. Merry Christmas, Danelle. :)

I woke up this morning, got in the shower, and am starting to think that my cat has opposable thumbs, and she’s using them to oppose me. The temperature in the shower fluctuated wildly between lukewarm and freezing cold, and the only explanation I have for it is that someone was in the other bathroom turning the hot water on and off. Since we lock her in the bathroom at night (otherwise she cries outside our bedroom door and tears things up - actually destroys stuff - because she’s lonely and won’t play with the other cat), that’s the only thing I can think of. She’s doing it to punish me.

Anyway, that was the weekend. Now I’m just waiting for the TV to be delivered and I will have completed the ordeal that started so long ago with a trip to Issaquah. Tonight, we party!