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Sunday, July 04, 2004

Happy Independence Day Everyone!

Just stopping by to wish everyone a good 4th of July on our nation's 228th birthday.

Here's to 228 more...


-Goodnight, Folks
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Saturday, July 03, 2004

Movies, Movies, and More Movies...

I realize I haven't updated my blog in a while. And quite frankly why should I if my sister is the only one reading it? But rather than giving up completely, I've decided to keep it going a little bit longer. Tonight I'm posting reviews of two movies I've seen recently. Enjoy...


Spiderman 2

This past Friday we got the morning paper and were reading through the "Life & Movies" section when we stumbled across some stuff about Spiderman 2. In a sheer wave of impulsiveness, we just up and decided to see it that very day. I payed for the tickets, (which we bought online at Fandango) and at 11:15 we left the house, picking up Ethen on the way out. The showing was at 12:50, and we got to the theater just over an hour early. As you can imagine, we had our pick of every seat in the theater, and naturally chose the best in the house (dead center, just slightly above the middle of the screen). Around 20 minutes till showtime people started pouring in, and by the time the commercials/previews began I think it was full. As far as the previews went, there was nothing special. And thank God, they didn't run the Fanta commercial again...

Spiderman 2's opening credits had me thinking I was watching the original for a moment, at least until the "2" was slapped on. Along with the name of the Director, Producer, and so forth, they rolled a summary of the first movie in comic book form, which was very cool in my opinion. The movie itself didn't really get going until about 20 minutes in, when "Doctor Octavius" does the first presentation of his nuclear fusion machine (Which, oddly, he can only control with the help of some super-sophisticated meniacal-looking robotic arms. Yeah...nothing odd about that...). I won't give away the rest of the story, but basically the experiment goes wrong, Doc's wife dies, and he becomes "Doc Ock"; an evil 8-limbed supervillian with a fetish for throwing people across rooms and sticking his claws into scenes unexpectedly. The movie then weaves (sometimes clumsily) this main action story with a whole side plot about Peter Parker's love life (or lack thereof). Honestly, I think they did it all just an excuse to get the obligatory "screeming damsel" in there somewhere. The movie ends satisfyingly climactic, and of course leaves the story open for the sequel (trilogies seem to be the hot thing nowadays). Unfortunately, the entire movie was blurry and slightly off-center thanks to the Projector Operator taking an extra long lunch break (or something...). I look forward to seeing this movie in our home theater 6 months from now.

In conclusion, I enjoyed Spiderman 2 more than the original. The CGI was realistic enough that you scarcely think about it, and the acting was an improvement on the first film. If you liked the first Spiderman, you'll definitely like this one.


Red Zone Cuba: Mystery Science Theater 3000 Version

Tonight we just got finished watching a particularly agonizing MST3K episode (the movie was agonizing, the commentary was hilarious). "Red Zone Cuba" is a flick from 1965 about some convicts escaping from prison, somehow getting to Cuba and fighting with guerilla warriors in the Bay of Pigs, and then coming back to American and doing some other things before the movie ends. Yeah, really I have no idea what it's about. The movie is absolutely horrible, one of the worst I've ever seen. Only the witty commentary from the MST3K robots (the best in the business) kept the movie watchable. It was a classic MST3K episode and full of laughs at every turn. This show is quickly becoming one of my favorites.


And remember, your comments are the only thing keeping from stopping this blog. So post one if you care.

-Goodnight, Folks!
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Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Another Experiment, If You Will...

Up to this point my blogs have been based entirely on my experiences during each day. I have chronicled these experiences in (some might say "too much") detail, and thus it takes me a while to write them each night. So, in order to provide more entertaining material for you to read, tonight I will experiment with the blog content by crafting it in extraordinary terms vaguely related to what really happened. Hope this works...

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WAKE UP, SOLDIER!

My head (and torso) bolted to a vertical position at the sound of my alarm sergeant. I scrambled downstairs, shoving a few eggs into my mouth as I brushed past the Mess Room. There was no time to lose; today, I was going to deal History a final, crushing blow...

The School Room loomed before me in the form of a great Boss on the final level of a some nameless arcade game. It appeared to be comprised entirely of paper, a white mass of wrinkles and words, constantly undulating in a hauntingly sentient manner. I hefted my trusty P-HB2 Pencicular Rifle; the only weapon in the world capable of conquering such a beast. Immediately it lunged at me with a powerful question. I dodged it, thought for a split second, and then defiantly filled in my answer on the confounded monster's back. Again it attempted to crush my knowledge with a battery of questions. They flew at me from all angles, straining the abilities of my mind to the very limits of human endurance. And then...he went for the kill. Pulling from his nearly depleted arsenal that most horrible of weapons...the ESSAY QUESTION. Pinned down, my wits at an end, I struggled with my fatigued mind, digging through neuron after neuron in a desperate search for the answer. And to my great relief, there it was, crouching elusively behind my Call of Duty strategies. I stabbed the paper villain with my response and sent him reeling back into the annals of Schoolwork from wence he came...never to return. At least until Fall, that is...

But the battles were far from over...

Joining up with my friend Evan and his brother Garrett, I was hastily redeployed to the dark streets of Tblisi, where the three of us donned sophisticated stealth gear. Our mission: to ascertain the whereabouts of a missing CIA operative, presumed dead. Every ounch of our skill and patience was put to the test as we navigated the crooked streets, and even more crooked guards. Combat was unavoidable, but we were able to handle confrontations quickly and efficiently, without raising any alarms. By the time the locals found the bodies, we would be long gone. Upon the completion of our duties in Tblisi, an ever more urgent matter required our presence, on a mysterious ring world in the middle of space. Our combat with the invading alien forces there was fast and furious, but we dispatched them with the ease that comes with long hours of experience in similar engagements.

Alas, before we were finished it was time for me to return home. The moon was as bright at my post on the Earth as it is in space, owing to our proximity to the full phase. It lit up the terrain in a beautiful blue glow reminiscent of early morning, but with the shadows of day. I now fall asleep with the light streeming lazily through my window. It is peaceful...

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Well, that was...interesting. And it ended up taking me longer to write that than a full blog. Figures...I guess I'll go back to the regular format. Unless you particularly enjoyed that...

-Goodnight, Folks!
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Monday, June 28, 2004

Monday, Highlighted

In light of yet another late night for me, I won't be able to bring you Tuesday's blog. But I will leave you all with one paragraph of highlights from Monday...


The biggest part of the day was spending my entire session at the Art Center talking with Joe about starting my photo restoration business. He had a ton of very useful guidelines and suggestions for me. Turns out starting up a business is not as complicated as you might think. Yes, you have to deal with all the tax forms/registration and whatnot. But there are perks, such as being able to write off a percentage of "business-related" purchases (ie. Photoshop CS, a Wacom tablet, more RAM...) and not having to pay sales tax on them either. The only thing standing in the way of me getting "Heritage Photo Restoration" off the ground is the question of whether or not Mom and Dad are keen on customers coming by our house (possibly on a daily basis). Otherwise on Monday; Dad and I played an intense session of racquetball, we watched a very good episode of Voyager after dinner, and I overclocked my video card to point of display corruption (don't worry, it was temporary). Yep, pretty normal stuff, I'd say...

-Goodnight, folks!
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Late Brake

In yet another classic case of Missing Time, I find myself without the necessary space on the clock needed to write out today's blog. I will, however, get it written tomorrow in what spare time I can find and bring it to you then.

Stay tuned!
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Sunday, June 27, 2004

The Weekend in Summary

Yeah, lazy old me...here it is 10:30 on Sunday night and I haven't posted any blogs about this weekend. I feel I owe it to you to at least provide a summary of the weekend so you don't feel starved for information about my life. Here goes...


Saturday breezed by quickly. During the day I spent a lot of time on the computer, including a fairly decent Call of Duty session, wherein the game gave me another hard lock-up (more on that later). In the evening we went out to eat at Schlotzsky's and picked up a couple of movies. Upon getting home we watched "The Spanish Prisoner", a mystery flick with a bit of horrible acting but a very twisting a deceptive storyline. I enjoyed the film, but would only recommend it to Mystery fans.

Sunday was another story... I spent about two and a half hours from the mid morning through the early afternoon on my hands and knees cleaning the top of the baseboards in the upstairs portion of our house. I am now intimately familiar with every linear foot of caulking in said area. It almost shimmers now...if anyone cares to look, that is. I spent the rest of the afternoon watching baseball. First, Dad and I watched the Astros hang on to 1 run to win over the Rangers and avoid being swept in that series. We then flipped over to game 2 of the College World Series and watched as Texas' 2-0 lead evaporated in the bottom of the 7th inning as Cal State Fullerton rallied to victory of the astonished Horns. It was a true comeback in the fullest (no punn intended) sense of the word. And seeing the Longhorns lose was just so satisfying. In the evening we watched the second of our two movies, "The Truman Show", a great comedy/drama with Jum Carrey that was refreshingly entertaining. The concept of the movie alone is worth watching it for. If you haven't seen it yet, please do. I recommend it to anyone.

Oh, and as for the whole Call of Duty...thing. I did some searching online after the most recent crash and found a very long thread where at least a few people described my exact problem and recommended a solution. It involved changing a single graphics setting in CoD (which didn't affect the look of it noticeably at all) and turned out to be my solution as well. Thank goodness for online forums. The solution also recommended getting the "Omega drivers" for my card. These are apparently aftermarket drivers built on the official release (from ATI or Nvidia) that have been tweaked for greater overclocking and performance potential. I installed the latest version Sunday and I have to say they are very slick. They even include a built-in overclocking control right among the standard ATI settings. If you are serious about gaming performance, give the Omega drivers a spin.


And that is this weekend in a nutshell. It's nice to be caught up on my blogs without having to write too much...

-Goodnight, folks!
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Friday, June 25, 2004

Total Turnaround

Today was certainly a dramatic shift from yesterday, for the better. Not only in regards to Project Torlan, but also in many other ways as well. The rain was still here, yes, but it didn't seem very depressing in light of the turnaround...


This morning Mom had to leave for another doctor's appointment. But after breakfast this time, Sara and I didn't indulge in UT2004. No, rather she felt it would be a good opportunity to finally move me over from Blogger to LiveJournal. Well, I was all for it. But apparently, LiveJournal had picked this very portion of the morning to have some downtime. The same problems that arose a few days ago popped up again: page timeouts, page load errors, excruciating slowness. Almost like it was trying to tell us something...

Once the site was finally usable, we began the process of changing my page layout and style. Sara (being a LiveJournal user already) knew what to do and guided me through most of the customization processes. However, one fact became glaringly obvious from the get-go: all the good page layouts/styles are only available to paying LiveJournal users. The "best" layout we could find was poor, at best, and did not look even close to the professionality of my current Blogger layout. This prompted me to think that maybe, after Blogger had recently upgraded their site theme and blog-posting system, they might have implemented a Comments functionality (the main reason I was feeling obligated to switch to LiveJournal). Lo and behold, there it was sitting patiently in my Settings section: the option to "Turn Commenting On". After slapping myself for not realizing this sooner, Sara and I integrated the Comments parameters into my HTML Template (another thing only paying LiveJournal users get...), and I was done. Now, if you look right below the "posted by" notation at the bottom of every blog post, you can click the "(#) Comments" link to add your witty remarks. And you can even go back and post comments on all my previous blog posts (in case you had something you were just dying to get off your chest). So, you can stop bugging me about it now...

Shortly after Mom got home around 11:00 (now with a brace on her forearm near the elbow, due to tendenitis), she had me do the first 25-minute section of the PSAT Diagnostic test. It was in the Verbal category and dealt with some word-relationship and sentence-completion questions (all multiple choice, mercifully). I completed it with 3 minutes to spare, in which time I reviewed a couple of questions I had skipped over. It was all hauntingly reminiscent of the Stanford Achievement Testing...

Once that was completed I had lunch while watching The Screen Savers. I then spent some more time on the computer working on the content and layout of my "Heritage Photo Restoration" pamphlet (which I had worked on a bit earlier in the morning). It's coming along well; I've gotten the text written, formatted, and arranged on the "page". Now I'm just waiting for a good "before & after" side-by-side image couple to catch people's eyes in the center of it to demonstrate what kind of work I can do. Unfortunately (for this purpose), all the "old photos" we have here and in fairly good shape. Some of them are a bit faded or stained, but not bad enough that their restoration would make a dramatic "before & after". Hopefully Joe will have some more to choose from this Monday....

Today's Call of Duty was one of those rare sessions where I really had en exhilerating experience. It came in the first match. I joined the Russain team this particular time, since I'd played as Axis on it previously. The first 6 rounds were all wins for the Russain team, but I was struggling kill:death-wise. Then, on the final found, I decided to begin with a rifle instead of a SMG. I managed to survive through a couple of confrontations until I was the last man standing on the Russain team. But I wasn't about to let my team fail to sweep the Axis. Since I always play Search & Destroy, the objective is for one team to prevent the other team from destroying one of two key items (in this case they were Axis tanks). I was on the attacking team, so I planted the explosives on one of the tanks and the 1-minute countdown began. I had just enough time to scramble to a concealed position overlooking the bomb before the first of the remaining 4 Axis players clamored up to defuse it. I waited for him to stop moving, and then took him down. Next, 2 more Axis players approached clumsily from the same direction. I could've shot one of them and risked the other seeing me, but instead I waiting until both of them were standing right next to each other over the bomb. ONE SHOT from my rifle took down both of them!!! The remaining Axis player walked up right as I fired, and spotted me, but I whipped out a SMG that I had acquired earlier and filled him with lead to win the round and thus the match. By the end, my heart was racing and my hands were shaking. That, my friends, is what I live for...

Later this afternoon I had a chance to talk with the other member that left Torlan recently (the one who left regarding legal issues). We discussed his reasons a bit, and he linked to this thread at the Gearbox forums. This guy named "Schwinnz" apparently sent a detailed email to Bungie outlining the goal of his group to "port HaloPC to Unreal Tournament 2004", and asking them if they had any legal issues with doing so. Talk about a small world; this guy's group was doing almost the exact same thing as Project Torlan and they apparently didn't even know about us. How cool is that? I emailed the guy informing him of this, and also suggesting that perhaps it would be in both our best interests to combine into a single, unified project to better accomplish our mutually similar goals. He promptly emailed me back sounding very enthusiastic about the idea, and mentioning that he currently has 10 people working with him! All of them are willing to join with Torlan when and if Bungie emails back giving the OK to such a conversion. In this remarkable twist of fate, we lose a member, only to potentially gain 10 the very next day. The Lord indeed works in mysterious ways...

This evening after dinner, Mom and Dad left for their Friday tradition of going out to Starbucks to cool down from the week. As they left, the skies were looking pretty dark but no rain was falling yet. Sara and I spent the next hour off-and-on hanging out on her back balcony waiting for the rain to move in. Mom and Dad also came home a little earlier than usual due to the rain. I had fun, personally. It's so cool to have a front-row seat as a thunderstorm is coming. The wind all around, the sharp temperature drop, and eventually the pouring rain. Unfortunately, by the time it really got going, the light had gone and we couldn't really see much. Still, the whole thing was entertaining--at least to me...


So what are you waiting for? Fire away with those comments!

-Goodnight, folks!
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Thursday, June 24, 2004

The Return of the Rain

The almighty water falling from the sky returned today and seems to be here for another extended stay. While it's nice to get a substantial amount of rain here in June, I would still prefer a shower every now and then instead of these week-long pour spells. Ah well, not like my opinion makes any difference anyway...


This morning Mom had to leave for a doctor's appointment right after breakfast at 10:00, so Sara and I had the house to ourselves for the entire morning. And if it were a normal day, that would mean 3 straight hours of head-to-head UT2004. But since today was laundry day, and a dishwashing day, we had our hands full juggling those chores while Mom was gone. Luckily, it didn't take away too much from the time we spent "owning" each other in Unreal Tournament. As far as the Assault rounds went, I beat her 3 matches to 1. But in Deathmatch, I fell behind, only winning something like 2 games out of 5. She's says I'm improving though...

I had a burger for lunch while Sara and I watched TSS, and Mom got back around 1:30. At 2:00 she called me downstairs so the both of us could go over a book she had just bought recently about "Mastering the SAT". Since I'll be taking the PSAT this Fall, we are using this book to assess how prepared I am for it and identify my strong points and weaknesses. Tomorrow I'm doing to take the PSAT Diagnostic test to give us a general idea of where am I in this regard. I can't wait...

After putting in a good (and pretty much typical) hour of Call of Duty, all of us left the house at 3:30 for Mom's Chiropractor appointment. I listened to music on my iPod and read some more of Switching to the Mac. After she was finished, Mom was nice enough to treat us to some frozen custard from Shake's. I got the regular "concrete" with Butterfinger chunks mixed in. Heavenly...

We arrived at the Rec center about 30 minutes before 5:00, when Dad and I were scheduled to play racquetball. So we had some time to sit in the car. Around 15 minutes later, the rain moved in. The hardest section of it (driving rain and wind) blew through in about 5 minutes, after which it let up slightly. It was still raining as Dad pulled up, however, which made unloading the equipment from his truck and getting inside a bit tricky. We ended up playing 2 full rounds, winning one apeice. Both of us were sweating more than usual thanks to the humidity. On the drive home the rain was absent, thankfully...

This evening during dinner we watched Voyager, which happened to be an episode we hadn't seen before (or at least didn't remember). Sara and I then rounded up the trash and cat litter as we do every Thursday, and I then watched the Astros vs. Pirates game for about an hour before starting my blog.

Oh, an update on that LiveJournal thing: for some reason the LJ site was loading excruciatingly slow, and giving me numorous timeout errors. So I wasn't able to work on tweaking my LiveJournal at all today. Don't worry, I'm not abandoning it completely, though. I'll try again tomorrow.

And speaking of abandoning, the "new member" of Project Torlan (who seemed very promising as a vehicle converter) left the project tonight after we had a disagreement over one of the "extra features" he was adding to the converted Banshee. Before I could even talk about a compromise, he just left in a huff and blocked me on AIM. So the vehicle conversion part of the project has ended for now, and we're down to a single active member after another one quit recently (regarding the issue of whether Project Torlan was legal or not). At this point, the future of Project Torlan is looking pretty grim...

Goodnight, folks!
(1) comments

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Elementary, Dear Beta

Hehe, I'm having fun with these play-on-words titles. Today's is of course a play on "Elementary, Dead Data", the title of a Star Trek: The Next Generation episode. The substance of the episode doesn't really have much in common with today's events, but I just thought it sounded cool. Yeah, bite me...


Even though I don't usually mention breakfast, I felt I should make an exception for today. In a delicious departure from normal, Sara made scrambled eggs, which we topped with cheese and ate along with cinnamon toast. Now if only we could have a similar arrangement every morning...

In Geometry today it was the final regular lesson of the chapter, wherein I was introduced to the formulas concerning sectors (pie peices) and arcs of circles. It was challenging in some areas, and did take me a good hour and a half to complete this afternoon. For lunch today I had a chopped beef sandwich made with the leftover barbecue from yesterday, and watched the rest of Monday's TSS.

The reason for today's title is that during the morning and early afternoon I was struggling with getting the Windows Longhorn Beta Build 4015 installed on a VMware Virtual Machine. The OS installed easily enough (VMware even has an option to optimize the VM for Longhorn, which it denotes as "experimental"), and soon I was booted into a slightly outdated build (the latest is 4074) of Microsoft's latest child. For some reason the installer didn't automatically install default drivers for all the common hardware, so I had to manually click through about 20 "New Hardware Found" dialog boxes. It also took me a while to figure out how to install VMware Tools (a little program that adds some beneficial functionality to the VM) inside Longhorn.

As far as appearences go, Longhorn is looking mighty fine. The WindowBlinds skin that I'm currently using (see previous blogs) is pretty darn close to the "Plex" look of the Longhorn beta. But aside from the new visual style, the infamous "Sidebar", and some slightly different Windows Explorer features, everything in the beta is pretty close to Windows XP. This was disappointing, as I had seen screenshots of Longhorn's "Aero" user interface which depicted something dramatically different from XP. Apparently the build I got dates from before these "improvements". I'm going to play around with the beta a little bit more and update you if I discover anything new worth mention. In the meantime, this is a great article to check out if you want to learn more about Longhorn.

In the afternoon today I played very decent in Call of Duty, staying above 1:1 in my kill:death ratio throughout the entire session; something I haven't accomplished in a while. And of course, after yesterday Sara was only too eager to match skillz with me again at UT2004 today. Luckily for me (or perhaps, for her...), Mom called us down to have dinner around quarter to 5:00, right as Sara and I were getting started with the first Assault round. We then left at 6:20 for Bible Study in Round Rock, which lasted from 7:00 until a little past 9:00. On the ride home, Dad and I listened helplessly as the Astros lost to the Pirates (who are last in the division currently) 7-2. Eh, hopefully this is just a bump in their road to recovery...

Oh, good news for you LiveJournal users (and pretty much anyone else who's ever wanted to post comments on my blogs), I might be switching over to my LiveJournal account sometime soon. If any of you can find a good resource that explains how to customize LiveJournal using their proprietary system, that would be very useful. Just send it to "captainvalor(at)gmail.com".

Yeah, that's right. I've got Gmail. Try not to cry too hard. ;)

Goodnight, folks!
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Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Deja Vu Tuesday

I say that because today felt and was very similar to last Tuesday, in a number of ways. Read on and see if you can spot the similarities...


This morning I did something that I haven't done in a while; I pressed the snooze button on my alarm clock. Aside from delaying my morning 8 minutes, it had no noticeable effect on my day. During my morning browsing, I found a particularly interesting post here, at the Emaculation forums. It referred to this article, which talks about how the next version of VirtualPC for Mac will feature the ability to pass DirectX rendering right through to the Mac's graphics card. In essence, this means a Mac equipped with a decent processor and a higher-end Radeon graphics card will be able to play PC DirectX games just as well as a similarly-configured Windows machine. As you can see, this virtually eliminates the biggest caveat of Macs at this point: poor gaming support. The ironic thing about this whole deal is that Microsoft now owns VirtualPC, so this new "enhancement" they've built into the latest version of their software could stand to hurt them. Curious, indeed...

After breakfast, I spent about half an hour helping mom set up Firefox on her laptop. After seeing her deal with one-too-many popups and Flash adds in IE, I figured it was time to introduce her to a vastly superior browser. It took her some time to get used the concept of "tabs" instead of individual windows, but once I showed her all the advantages of tabs (mainly thanks to the phenominal TabBrowser Extensions), she seemed to warm up to them a bit. I also showed her how Firefox automatically imported all her IE favorites, and helped her get them organized into groups for easier access. I then topped it off with the AdBlock extension to help her get rid of those nasty Yahoo! Mail Flash-based adds. I think she's going to have a much better experience now.

After we got finished with that, Mom and I read over today's Geometry lesson, which dealt with Pi even more. This time it was the almighty formula for the area of a circle. I didn't have much trouble getting through the work this afternoon, but it did take me an hour and a half to complete. For lunch today I had a burger while watching X-Play's chronicle of the Metal Gear Solid series. Everything was great...except for the naked Raiden segment. MGS fans: you know what I'm talking about. Everyone else: don't ask, you're better off not knowing. Trust me.

At around 3:00, Mom left with Sara to go out to the local Hobby Lobby and look for painting supplies. Apparently she's wanting to start painting at home some more. I finished up math and then settled in for a good, long session of CoD. I was up and down the whole time, putting in a couple of decent matches, a few terrible ones, and a single shining performance that made the whole thing worth it. Honestly, is there anything more satisfying than running as fast as you can with your entire team and completely desimating the entire opposing side, all in the first minute of a round? I think not!

But Sara had other things on her mind besides Call of Duty when she and Mom got home. I foolishly agreed to play some Unreal Tournament 2004 with her over our LAN. Her bots pummeled mine in the Onslaught rounds, which seems a bit suspicious since she was the host. In Deathmatch I was able to hold my own, but for the most part Sara was the one doing all the own-ing (which she reminded me on many occasions). I won a single, solitary round...but every other time I came in a close or distant second. I can't let myself get so out of practice like this...

This evening Dad brought home barbecue for dinner after Mom left to take Myst to fencing class. Dad and I watched Wheel of Fortune, and the beginning of tonight's Astros game, before taking Sparky (our remaining dog) out for a walk around the neighborhood. Sparky has been feeling lonely lately since losing Amos, so we're giving him a lot more attention as of late. We got back and watched the rest of the game until the girls got home around 8:00. Then the four of us watched the first episode of Babylon 5, which Dad had rented on DVD. It was...a bit rough around the edges, to put it mildly. As most shows are in the their first season or so, the actors played a bit stiff, delivering their lines with too much or too little character. And the fact that the show used 1993-era CG graphics for all the space shots didn't help much either. However, the show's concept is interesting, and a lot of people say it gets better in the later seasons. I'll reserve my judgement on this particular series until I see some more of it.

So did you spot the similarities? Hope so, because I don't feel like pointing them out...

Goodnight, folks!
(0) comments

Monday, June 21, 2004

Art, Homeowners, and a Super-Soaker

Yes, the formula for the perfect Monday. Write it down, folks; this is what you'll wish every Monday was like...


The morning started out pretty routinely (Sara says I should stop talking about what I eat for breakfast, so I'll omit that). Mom and I read over Geometry, which focused this time on the relation of Pi to regular polygons. Then at 11:00 we got in the car and headed for the Round Rock Public Library. But first, we had to make a brief stop at a local Jiffy-Lube to get our state inspection for the 4Runner. Along the car ride, we were fiddling with my Belkin FM Transmitter, trying to play some Pink Floyd on the car stereo. Unfortunately, there are stations broadcasting at various intensities on all four of the 88.1-88.7 bands that the TuneCast can cover. Consequently, I ended up listening to music on my own for the rest of the outing.

I chose the Round Rock Library specifically because they had a book there I've been wanting to get; Switching to the Mac by David Pogue. It mirrors a lot of content from OS X: The Missing Manual, but presents it from a more Windows-centric perspective. The book is clearly meant for the Mac newbie (such as myself) that's migrating from Windows and looking for similarities. Although after reading The Missing Manual, I've already learned much of the content in the book. I can probably skim through it easily in the 2 weeks for which they allowed me to check it out...

We got home at around 1:30, and had sandwiches for lunch (with our new tomatoes, of course). I was able to squeeze in a decent round of CoD before we had to turn right around and leave again at 2:30 for Art Class. Joe had done a lot of work cleaning up my Halo painting after the fuzz disaster from last week, and it does look slightly better. However, the fuzz is still visible on many portions of the painting. He promises to work on it a lot more in the following week, and "will clean it off even if [he] has to use an exacto knife for every single hair". That's one loyal art teacher...

And before we left today, Joe suggested something interesting. He runs a photo restoration business on the side out of his Art Studio, using Adobe Photoshop to touch up worn, scratched, and stained photos for 30-40 dollars apeice. Well, he suggested that I use my Photoshop experience to open up a similar venue out of our house on the other end of the county. I jumped all over the idea, mainly because my cashflow is down to a trickle right now in the reffing off-season, and I have a lot of time during the day to spend working on such projects. He gave me some sample "Before & After" pictures of his work, as well as an example of his advertising pamplet. I'm already in the process of designing my own pamphlet, as well as coming up with a business name. Joe has also agreed to devote next week's class period to teaching me his tricks for photo restoration and give me some pointers on setting up my business. I for one I'm very enthusiastic about this endeavor, and can't wait to get started...

After an early dinner, Dad and I headed nextdoor to the neighborhood Homeowner's Association Meeting at 6:30. To our surpise, virtually the entire neighborhood was already there, even though the meeting didn't officially start until 7:00. While I had planned on sitting in on the meeting, I ended up spending the entire time swimming with the other few kids from the neighborhood. Ethen was there, along with four other girls (2 near my age), and Ethen's younger (and more annoying) brother (Myst had decided not to come). As you can imagine, chaos insued within a few minutes. Water was flying, along with various swimming toys, and at one point Ethen and I went back home to fetch my old Super Soaker. That became a point of contention for the rest of the evening. I of course wasn't able to keep ahold of it for the entire time; it passed hands more than once. The person wielding it always had dominance. No one was seriously hurt, which is always a plus. We just had a fun time, something I haven't done in a while...

The meeting wrapped-up around 9:00, and everyone trickled out after that. The neighbors that live on the other side of us walked back to our house, where we gave them a demo of our Home Theater. The movie of choice was (as always) Star Wars: Episode II--the ending battle scene. Even though we've used that chapter to demo our theater more than half a dozen times now, it just never gets old. That's the mark of truly good film scene, I imagine. The neighbors left about 15 minutes later, and everyone headed upstairs to bed. I feel exhausted after all that swimming, plus I smell like Chlorine. Hope my hair's not green in the morning...

Oh, and if you're wondering where yesterday's blog is; I didn't get around to writing it today. Heck, I barely had enough time to write today's. Trust me, nothing seriously interesting happened Sunday. We had the Grandparents over, at barbecue steaks, and exchanged Father's Day cards and gifts. It was pretty social.

Goodnight, folks!
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