personal, hockey, costumes, movies comments edit

First things first: Kristy Swanson is in this month’s Playboy, and she is so fine. I’ve always had a thing for her, so this day has been a long time coming.

Now that’s out of the way…

I did a little woodworking this weekend. I am making a frame to put my latest art project in. It has to be deep, almost like a shadow box, and 8.5” by 11”, so after looking around, I figured it would be better to just make the stupid thing than it would be to try to find one that size or have one made.

Basically, what I’ve got going on is that I’ve scanned this piece of Mucha art, took it into Photoshop, separated it out into layers, and printed the whole thing out on transparencies. Then I took the transparencies, mounted them 0.5” apart (there are three transparencies, for a total of 1” of depth - one sheet on the bottom, one sheet 0.5” above that, and one sheet 0.5” above that), and got glass and backing board to finish it off with. All told, I need about 1.5” of depth to work with.

Anyway, I routed out these poplar boards that I bought at Home Depot to make the frame proper, then took them over to my parents’ house to cut the 45° angles on my dad’s table saw.

I am not a carpenter by any means. I can do little stuff - like with a Dremel tool - but I can’t make, like, furniture or anything. Not that I don’t think I ever could, I just don’t have any experience.

That said, I got my dad to come out and show me how the saw works, and maybe do the cuts so that next time I’d know how to do it myself. There were only eight cuts to make, so I figured it’d take us like 20 minutes tops to cut all that out.

I forgot how perfectionistic my dad is.

It took us probably a good two hours to get those cuts made. The big problem was that the wood I bought wasn’t perfectly square (I paid like $3 a pop for it; I didn’t expect precision furniture-quality), and even though I told him so, I think it bugged him that the final cuts didn’t fit precisely together like a machined product. It’s good enough for me, but he puzzled over that forever, trying to make it square.

Don’t get me wrong - I totally appreciate what he was doing, and had I purchased better wood, it would have come out squared up and perfect down to the nanometer. But I bought shitty wood, so it didn’t. Anyway, it was entertaining to watch, if maybe just a tiny bit frustrating.

Jenn and I went to the Winter Hawks games on Friday and Saturday nights. Friday night we lost to Kelowna 2 to 1, but Saturday we wasted Vancouver 4 to 1. I was slightly disappointed by Friday’s game, except one of our players, Matt Fetzner, got into this terrific fight and totally just drilled this Kelowna guy in the face. No great fights on Saturday, but I was proud of our goalie, Lanny Ramage, who seemed to be off his game most of last season. Hopefully he can return to his previous glory this season.

During the game on Saturday night, I thought of a cool idea. (Yes, another idea like my Venetian Blinds Idea from a while back.) You know how you watch a hockey game on TV and they put a little light or something on the puck so it’s sort of outlined against the background and you can see it better? Okay, hold that thought for a sec.

Now, you know how they have access cards to get into buildings where you just sort of move the card in front of the sensor and it reads the card? Right.

Well, you put whatever is in those cards inside the puck and you put sensors under the ice. When the puck slides around on the ice, have whatever sensors detect the puck light up and it should simulate the “light” on the puck that you see on TV. Take it a step further and you could do that with the blades on the skates, too, to have a disco-style effect. Throw in some black lights or whatever and you’ve got a much more entertaining environment in which to skate.

Taking that back a notch, back to the original puck-light idea… I think that could work. It might not be allowed in regulation play, but for beginners or for recreational games, it would be great.

I’m going to a costume party at my friends Jason and Tracy’s house for Halloween, but that means I have to come up with a costume. Jenn is thinking of going as Alice from Alice in Wonderland (hey, Alice is a total hottie), but I’m not sure what I should be. I thought maybe I could be The Mad Hatter, but I’d need to find the hat and a suit like that. I also thought I might be a ninja, since I’ve actually always wanted a ninja costume, but then I wouldn’t match Jenn. I’m still thinking about it.

The American Idol Greatest Moments CD comes out tomorrow. For some reason I thought it was next month. Hmmm. Guess I’ll be hitting the store for that one in the morning.

A while ago I applied for a volunteer movie reviewer position at I didn’t get it. I’ve read some of the latest reviews, presumedly from the guy who did get the position, and I can’t stand them. It’s not that the new guy can’t write, it’s that he writes reviews from that “greater-than-thou” platform that other movie critics write from, expecting high art and ultimate innovation from any movie they go to see. In fact, it’s probably more accurate to say they go see films, not movies. I disagree with nearly every movie critic out there specifically for that reason. I go see movies to be entertained, to have fun, to enjoy myself. If I came out smiling or feeling justified in spending the money to see it, I consider it good.

In fact, I have a sort of different five-star scale by which I rate movies:

  • 5 Stars: See it for full price in the theater
  • 4 Stars: See it during the matinee price in the theater; it’s good, but not worth full price
  • 3 Stars: Rent it when it’s a new release; it’s not good enough for the theater, but you’ll want to see it when it’s out on video
  • 2 Stars: Rent it once it’s off “new release” status; you might want to see it, but it’s worth closer to $0.99/week than $3.49/day
  • 1 Star: Don’t bother. Not even worth the rental.

Most movies fit into the 3- or 4-Star range if I bother to see them. But the movies I put into the 5 Star range are never the movies that critics rate highly. Know why? Because I enjoy movies for the entertainment value regardless of whether they have any artistic value to them. Art’s good, but hey, sometimes a good formula shoot-em-up is just as fun.

The only critic I really agree with (and less these days than I used to) is The Self-Made Critic. Usually he likes the movies I like and doesn’t like the ones I don’t like. Lately he’s gotten a little more on the high-critic scale than he used to be. I wonder if that comes with having seen so many movies? I dunno; I’ve seen more movies than the average person, I’m sure, and I still enjoy them for the entertainment value. When I become too art-oriented and stop enjoying them for what they are - entertainment - someone just come over and shoot me.

hockey comments edit

And now, for the first time in the 2002-2003 season, Portland…




Tonight is the season opener game for Portland Winter Hawks hockey, and I am stoked. I’ve got my jersey on, I’ve got the hockey music playing… I’m ready to drive the Zamboni.

It’s been a long time coming, and I’m glad to see it here. I just hope that I don’t feel as busy as I did last season - it seemed like I spent most of my waking hours at the Memorial Coliseum watching hockey and not, you know, doing anything productive.

Whatever. It’s hockey night, and I’m down with that. I hear this new guy we’ve got, CJ Jackson, is quite the bruiser. 6’3”, 242 lbs… Hey, if he can fuck shit up like Eric Bowen did, I’m going to be having a rockin’ season. Fast skatin’, chuckin’ pucks, and blood on the ice. That’s what it’s all about.

On a side note, I found out what the two $600 charges were for on my medical insurance: The 10 bottles of allergy antigen that got mixed up for my allergy immunization shots. They mix all the bottles up at once and bill you in one chunk rather than mixing the stuff up as you need it. I feel much better now - I couldn’t figure out what I did that day that cost me $1200 at the doctor. Now I know.

gaming, playstation comments edit

Call me Attilla, for I am the King of the Huns.

Or something like that.

Yeah, I know I’m just sort of spewing out historical mishmash without regard to what really happened, but let me tell you, when it comes to Dynasty Warriors 3, I am one bad mamma jamma. Don’t mess with me, heathens. I will cut you down.

And I’ve only played like three levels in it.

I called Magnolia Hi-Fi today and it seems my TV has been delayed until the end of this month, so I’ve gotta call back again next week to find out when it gets there.

I was looking at the insurance statement for some allergy doctor appointments I had last month. All on one day, I have two charges for $600 each, both marked “Miscellaneous.” I’m having a hard time figuring out what I did that day that could possibly have cost $1200. I called the billing department three hours ago and they have yet to call me back. That figures.

I’ve known it for a while, but I continue to rediscover that I am in a much better mood when I have a gob of caffeine in me. I took some Excedrin Migraine this morning for my headache and I was in a great mood by the time I got to work. Also, if I drink one of those Red Bull or Amp beverages, I’m lovin’ life. Maybe I’m just tired all the time and that stuff wakes me up enough to have fun.

tv, gaming, playstation comments edit

I watched the season premiere to Buffy the Vampire Slayer last night, and I have to say I’m glad they’re starting to get back to their roots - good humor, good dialogue, good enemies. I hope they can keep it up. If so, we’re in for a great season.

I started playing Virtua Fighter 4 last night and discovered it’s way more complicated than I thought it would be. I’m used to more button-masher style controls in a fighting game (a la DOA3) so when I started playing VF4 I sort of assumed you could play that way.

Not so.

There are actually very complicated combos that you can execute with the characters in this game. The thing about doing that is that you have to sort of queue up a chain of moves for your character to perform. For example, in DOA3, when I do the sequence “Punch, Kick, Punch” on the controller, the character executes the moves “Punch, Kick, Punch” as I push the buttons. If I try to push “Kick” while the “Punch” is still executing, it ignores the “Kick” command. In VF4, if you push “Punch, Kick, Punch,” it acts more like a move queue. If I push “Kick” while the character is punching, that kick command will actually modify the way the current punch is being executed (maybe the character will do some fancy flip or something in that case). If I push four or five buttons in rapid succession, the character will combine several fancy moves and execute a chain of commands that will probably last a couple of seconds after I’ve finished pressing buttons.

It’s interesting, but it’s harder than I thought it would be. I suppose that’s kind of good; it requires that I expand my abilities as a gamer. But it’s not something you can just casually sit down and play with. You have to train on it. Pretty intense.

I found this really cool free DJ software called CD Scratch. It provides two virtual turntables on your screen that you can use to mix and “scratch” on CDs via your computer. Just slip in a CD and away you go. It will let you play two different tracks from the same CD and mix them, or, if you have two CD drives, play two different tracks from two different CDs and mix those. Loads of fun, waiting to happen. And it’s free! Who could ask for anything more?

personal, gaming, playstation comments edit

Friday being Fred Meyer employee double-discount day, a few purchases were made:

I got the Dremel attachments so that I can finally finish the Mucha project I’ve been working on - I need to make a frame for the whole thing to fit in, and the router will do well for that. (The project is that I scanned a piece of Mucha work, separated it out into layers, put each layer on transparency, and I’m putting it all back together again but with about a half-inch space between each layer. That will give the piece some nice dimension while still retaining the original beauty. I saw something similar on our trip to Vegas.)

Shanghai Noon, well… that was just a fun movie, and for 20% off, I couldn’t not get it.

The Toshiba DVD player replaces our old Sony player, which I’ve had for like four or five years now. The Sony is a good player, but I think the sound is starting to go on it because the center channel fades in and out. I did a test on my amp, but it works fine, so I have to blame the DVD player. I moved the Sony into our bedroom (where the TV is mono) and put this new progressive-scan Toshiba in its place in the living room. It has all sorts of keen features like picture zoom, dialogue enhancing, and chapter scan, so I couldn’t pass it up. For the money, it seemed the best buy available. At least from Freddy’s.

Dynasty Warriors 3 is another story entirely.

As previously noted, I was in a dilemma on whether to get Dynasty Warriors 3 or Virtua Fighter 4 from Game Crazy with my store credit. Well, I made the decision to get DW3 so I could play cooperatively with my dad - father and son against the heathen masses, right?

So I went back to Game Crazy and they had already sold their copy of DW3. They didn’t have it used or new. Which fucking figures. So then I got all wigged out about it because I had built up my hopes on playing DW3 on Saturday with my dad, so I ended up getting nothing at all.

Friday night, thus, I decided to pick it up from Fred Meyer because there was a special “additional 10% off video games” coupon, so I got the thing new for 30% off, which is what it would have cost me used. (And Dad did come over on Saturday, and we did stomp several hundred asses.)

That actually worked out for the best because Saturday we were in Hollywood Video and I found these coupons for “20% off any used game” and “$2 additional trade-in value on any game” at Game Crazy. Hell, yeah. I went in today, traded in The Adventures of Cookie and Cream for $8 plus the $2 coupon (for a total of $10), and, with the 20% off coupon, I got Virtua Fighter 4 for $4. Not too shabby.

Why did I trade in Cookie and Cream? Poor planning, I think.

The original idea was to find a game that Jenn and I could play together cooperatively rather than fight against each other. Jenn doesn’t play PS2 very often, so with my additional practice I usually end up winning - not to be cocky, that’s just the truth. I saw Cookie and Cream and thought, “Problem solved! Here’s a game where we both have to work together to accomplish a common goal!” That was the idea anyway.

It turns out, there’s a pretty strict time limit in Cookie and Cream during which you have to get several semi-complex puzzles solved. When I solve puzzles, I see the answer and just go for it. It’s sort of like osmosis - I don’t know how I solved the puzzle, I just did. Common sense. For Jenn, she works through it like a math problem and wants to understand all the steps. (At least, that’s what I gather.) Which means that while we’re running under this time limit, I’m saying, “Hey, go jump over on that button!” And she’s more like, “Why do I need to do that?” Of course, if I take the time to explain the rationale behind it, we’ve run out of time, but if I don’t explain it, she won’t do what needs to be done.

The Plan: Play a cooperative game where we both work together and have fun together.

The Execution: I try to strangle Jenn with the controller cord while she tries to shove her controller up my ass.

That’s why I traded the game in. (Interestingly enough, Jenn asked me this morning, “Are you sure we’re not going to play that again?” Yeah, I’m sure. It just makes me hate you. And vice versa.)

In other news, I found a new beverage called Fuze that I’m liking. It’s sort of like Snapple, but it has more vitamins and stuff in it that’s good for you. Right now I’m drinking the “Grape & Aronia Punch” flavor. It’s pretty good, and I’m not usually one for grape stuff. I bought one of each flavor to try them all.