media, gaming, music comments edit

[Days Until Vegas: 33]

Cruising around today, I found the coolest thing ever.

If you’ve played Grand Theft Auto 3 (as I have), you’ve heard the various radio stations that they play in the cars you hijack. I’ve played enough that I can sing along with the songs. Jenn can too, though she probably wouldn’t admit it.

I have several times lamented the lack of soundtrack CDs for the game since I’d actually listen to the stuff in my real car. It’s great stuff.

Well, on GTA3 Warehouse it looks like someone has ripped all the audio into MP3 format and you can download it all (except for the radio stations “K-Jah” and “Double Cleff”). So I did.

Then I burned them all into audio CDs so I can now actually listen to it in the car. It takes three CDs to contain it all, but I’ve got it all burned now, commercials and all, and I’m good to go. Yay, me!

Along the same lines, you can download the GTA3 ring tone for your phone off of the main GTA3 site. (The link is in the “News” section.) It sounds just like the pager you have in the game. I downloaded it to my new Nokia 3360 and I’ve got it set as my message/pager sound. So cool!

music, family, tv comments edit

[Days Until Vegas: 34]

Talking to Jenn a couple of nights ago, she mentioned that when she was younger she thought the song “Secret Agent Man” was actually saying “Secret Asian Man.” I thought that was pretty clever and funny. Apparently other folks do, too. I thought it would make a good Cartoon Network show. Or a character on Samurai Jack or something. Then again, I don’t watch any of those shows, so for all I know, it’s already there.

My mom’s birthday is today. I, as usual, didn’t remember until my parents called me yesterday to tell me when we are all getting together for dinner in celebration (tomorrow). Which means I need to do some seriously hasty shopping tonight to get a gift. Of course, Dad doesn’t know what Mom wants and Mom doesn’t ever really specify anything she wants, so I’ll be guessing. Hopefully something will call to me at the store tonight.

I never remember birthdays (or any other holidays, for that matter). I know three dates: My birthday, Christmas, and my parents’ anniversary. I only know their anniversary because it’s two days before my birthday (but, uh, two? years earlier, chronologically) and Mom sometimes calls me on their anniversary to wish me happy birthday. Then she remembers that she swapped the dates around and runs out anniversary shopping or something. Heh.

I watched MTV’s The Osbournes for the first time last night, and I have to say that I found it pretty funny. That’s the first show on MTV that I’ve seen in, well, years that has actually held my attention. Ozzy cracks me up, especially when he’s playing with his bulldog. I may have to become a regular watcher.

activities comments edit

Jenn and I are confirmed for the long-needed Vegas trip. Four days and three nights in the Paris Las Vegas, courtesy of Southwest Airlines Vacations. A big tip of the hat to SWA - they are by far the most affordable way to go. Plus, the flight attendants have always had good senses of humor when I’ve flown and that makes the trip that much more enjoyable. If you’re gonna go, check with them first.

I can hardly wait. I’ve already got the time off approved, I’ve got the plane, hotel, and rental car booked, and I’m counting down the days until May 14, when we leave first thing in the morning.

Vegas, Baby, Vegas!

media, movies, activities comments edit

This was an eventful weekend for me in the Land of Movies. I rented a couple and went to one. Here’s the rundown…

Training Day: This is the Denzel Washington vehicle to the Oscars. Long story short, Denzel’s a corrupt narcotics cop and has to train rookie Ethan Hawke on the ways of Street Justice. You end up hating Denzel by the end of the movie because he’s a bad, bad man, and you’re happy he gets the Street Justice he deserves.

I liked this movie because it’s not the standard fare for Denzel - normally he’s the “good cop,” but this time he’s the “bad cop.” It was good to see him change. Not sure if he deserved an Oscar or not for it, but I can’t say he wasn’t good.

The Last Castle: Robert Redford is a court-martialled General in the US Army who gets sent to prison because he disobeyed an order from the President. While in there, he finds out that the warden is a jerk who abuses his power and treats the prisoners poorly. Redford takes over the prison in an attempt to get the warden ousted.

This was a pretty good one, too, though a bit predictable. You can guess exactly what’s going to happen, who’s going to die, etc., before the first ten minutes is through. However, if you’re looking for something just generally good and fun to watch, I recommend it. Jenn and I both had a good time with it.

Ice Age: This is the animated feature about animals in the (you guessed it) Ice Age from 20th Century Fox. It was very clever and fun with some pretty darn good animation. There’s a little recurring character (the “Scrat”) who has nothing to do with the story really, but cracks you up. The voices they chose for the characters fit well and were well done.

Before you go see this, though (and I do recommend you see it), know two things: First, it’s short. 81 minutes isn’t the longest movie in the world. Second, you can’t compare it to Shrek. Just don’t. Shrek was a lot deeper as far as plot development, characters, and the level of humor they stuck in there. Ice Age is inherently a kid’s movie and is pretty shallow as far as all of that’s concerned. It is well done, though, which is why I recommend it.

Saw my friend Gerb for the first time since, like, Christmas and we went to Starbucks to hang out and talk (though why he couldn’t have driven the extra, like, half mile and just come over to my apartment is utterly beyond me). Guess what I ordered while I was there…

I’ve been fighting with this stupid broken turntable I’ve got for a while now. The extra turntable I bought to scavenge parts from supposedly worked when I bought it from the guy, but it sure as hell doesn’t work now (and, no, I didn’t break it; it never worked while in my possession). My dad fixed the part that was broken on the original turntable I was trying to fix, but then when I plugged it in, I discovered a new problem - the turntable gets power now (yay!) but once you start a record playing, the turntable never stops. It finishes playing, the needle lifts up and returns to its resting position, but the record keeps spinning.

I traced it down to this stupid lever/arm thing underneath it that’s supposed to move back and forth to engage/disengage the power to the turntable. It pushes forward to turn the thing on, but it never pulls back to turn it off. Not being mechanically inclined, I’m about ready to go buy a new one. I guess I never realized how stinking Rube Goldberg record players are.

Now I’ve got a query in to Fred’s Sound of Music (where the thing was bought, like, 20+ years ago or something) to see if they can fix it. Here’s hoping.

In other news, Jenn and I are working on a trip to Las Vegas. I want to stay at the Paris Las Vegas since I’ve been there a couple of times and it was really nice, but it’s gone way up in price since last time. I suppose I’ll just bite the bullet and stay there anyway.

Speaking of Paris Las Vegas, last time I stayed there I bought a ceramic balloon mug from the gift shop before I left. Took extra special care of it on the plane to try to get it home in one piece - and succeeded. Used it once, stuck it in the dishwasher. Destroyed it. It wasn’t dishwasher-safe. Of course, there were no labels or anything that would indicate it wasn’t safe for the dishwasher, so I called ‘em. They very kindly sent me a new one for free. And, of course, it had a label on the bottom - “Not Dishwasher Safe.” So if you see these balloon mugs and they have that label on them, it’s my fault. Heh.

So, Vegas. It’ll be a lot of fun. And, to the people who we said we’d try to coordinate with if we went to Vegas (you know who you are), sorry. I’ll try to get in touch with you to personally apologize. Jenn and I just felt that since we haven’t ever actually been on a vacation with just the two of us, we didn’t want to try to coordinate with other people - we want to be able to do what we want, when we want, and not have to try to make time to hang with other folks or meet up anywhere. Next time, okay?

food, music, toys comments edit

Ah, the beauty and inherent magic of the Ventitm Mocha Frappuccino®. So tasty. In fact, I don’t think I even know how to order anything else at Starbucks. I went in today and thought I might try something new, maybe one of those fruity tea-based things, but the only words I could speak when I reached the register were, “Venti Mocha Frappuccino.”

And then, before I could think twice about it, there it was, in all its splendor. Mmmm.

I’m feeling a little nostalgic today, streaming my mix of 80’s MP3s on my ShoutCast server at work. (No, it’s not available outside our firewall. Sorry.) The Poison song Talk Dirty To Me just came on. Bad hair band? Of course. Remind me of a pleasant time gone by? Hell, yeah. Sometimes you just need a little hair band music to put things right.

I took a test on today that supposedly was going to tell me what my ultimate career would be. It told me my ideal job would allow me to be “Analytical and Creative.” No shit. But to tell me actual careers that fit the profile, they wanted $15. I think not. Besides, my current job lets me be analytical and creative aplenty, even if it is programming. I think I’ll stick with what I’ve got.

I set up my Tron light cycles today in a cool action-oriented way on my desk. A pack-and-a-half of the small Post-It® notes works great to prop them up so they don’t fall over. Now as long as the cleaning lady doesn’t mess it up, it’ll stay cool.