May 2003 Archives

May 1, 2003

This is pretty freakin' nasty. Yuck.

Posted on May 1, 2003 2:25 PM | | Comments (0)

May 5, 2003
Credit card fraud shmedit card fraud

So on Saturday morning, I get a phone call. I didn't wake up for it, but I checked my voice mail when I did and I had an automated call from Capital One's fraud protection department. That woke me up. I called the number that was given and was directed to a real person pretty quickly. Just as they asked for my mother's maiden name... click... my power goes out. I was on a portable phone, so it went dead. Turns out the maintenance guys had turned off my power, since the meter in my apartment had been accidentally switched (God knows when) with the one for the apartment diagonally across from mine, so they were switching it back.

Eventually, the power came back on and I called Capital One back and went through the whole thing. It was kinda nice that they mentioned that someone had called and had hung up when they'd asked for my mother's maiden name. It felt nice that they were looking out for me. Anyhow, it turns out that somebody had charged over $8000 to my card at some audio store and then tried to do another $8000 at some other place, but that was declined. Since I don't use that card any more (as I'm trying to rid myself of credit card debt), I guess that kind of activity alarmed them.

I know it's something fairly simplend probably routine, but it's that kind of customer service that makes me feel good.

And it's certainly better than the Mormons who accosted me as soon as I stepped out of my car after I'd gotten home from work one fairly warm day last week. :P

Posted on May 5, 2003 10:47 AM | | Comments (2)

May 12, 2003
Come on, baby...

This news story is just bizarre. Lighting a 10 year old kid on fire? What kind of adult would even consider doing that? Especially given that it was apparently a kid the person didn't even know (not that it'd be O.K. otherwise...).

I know there are less guns in Japan and all that, but it seems like people there make up for it with really bizarre violent crimes. I've heard of decapitations; ride-by knifings; a guy who drove his car into a mall, pulled out a knife, and started hacking into people; and now this. In a nation of conformity, people can get extremely creative when they get violent.

Posted on May 12, 2003 2:47 PM | | Comments (0)

May 19, 2003
Hey, world... check ME out.

So I went to the local Giant this weekend to pick up a couple things. I was ill, but I had nothing to eat, so I had to get some food. Since I only had a few things, I decided to try the self-checkout thing. I have to admit... it was pretty cool and it worked well. It scanned my happy bonus card, then scanned all my items and coupons. The only thing it didn't do was bag everything for me.

The only weird thing was... when someone got in line behind me, I started feeling really self-conscious, especially since I'd never used it before. I was worried that I was being too slow or something. At least I only had 3 items.

All in all, a pretty spiffy experience. Didn't really expect it to work so well.

Posted on May 19, 2003 4:13 PM | | Comments (0)

May 21, 2003
Ecks Two

Well, I finally got around to seeing X-Men 2 last night. I was going to go see it this weekend but then I realized that the free certificate I had for it was in my car... which was in Ohio with Sarah. However, she returned safe and sound on Sunday and my car came with her. Luckily, she didn't take the certificate herself to go see it, the scamp.

Anyhow... though there were some flaws with the movie, I found it to be much more enjoyable than the first movie. I admit that some of my problems with it come from my knowledge of X-Men lore, but there were some other little things that bugged me, too.

Let's start with the stuff I didn't like... Wolverine. Jeez. I know he's an interesting character because his powers are cool, his attitude is cool, and he doesn't remember anything so there's a LOT to play with there. I also know he's a fan favorite. But come ON. It just seemed like he was in every scene. Hugh Jackman's excellent in the role, but everything just seemed too Wolverine-centric. Magneto's quip about Wolverine thinking everything is about him is apt.

Cyclops and the chemistry, or lack thereof, between him and Jean. I don't know if he's just a bad actor or just trying to play the Boy Scout WAY too much or something, but it's just wrong. And there just doesn't seem to be any chemistry there at all. It's possible that that's only because they rarely get any decent screen time together (Cyclops probably clocked less than 10 minutes in the whole movie). I don't know. It just doesn't make the whole thing believable. And makes the set up for the next movie that much more disturbing, since I think the whole power of the Phoenix storyline rested in the characters and their relationships. If the main romantic relationship isn't believable and you don't give a care about the characters, it won't work.

Storm... she's gotten better. Really. But that's still not Storm. I don't know if it's the writing or the acting or what...

Nightcrawler kept saying that he couldn't teleport without seeing where he was going... and then proceeded to do it several times, not even counting the one time he did it at the crucial moment. When he rescued Rogue, when he popped the Professor into the jet... Nightcrawler's power isn't necessarily line of sight. As I recall, it still worked if he'd been there before and could visualize the place he was going to. Then he was only limited by distance. It was a little more dangerous that way, but... still... Maybe I'm being nitpicky.

Now the good... Nightcrawler. Wow. As he's always been one of my favorite X-Men, I was unsure about his inclusion as a major character. But Alan Cumming did an excellent job. I can't picture anyone else in the role. His facial expressions and everything were perfect and really captured Kurt. The religious aspect was, perhaps, a little overdone. Otherwise... great job.

Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen... what can I say? These guys certainly bring class to their roles. And these are two rather classy roles, despite it being a comic book movie. Both intelligent powerful men with a long history together who believe strongly in their divergent ideals and goals. These guys can say more with their eyes than many actors can with their whole bodies.

It feels like Hugh Jackman's really found Wolverine. He was almost there in the last movie, but he really has him now.

The little inside stuff that only comic book fans would appreciate was abundant this time and that made me happy. And it was nice seeing Magneto being as cruel as Magneto can be. Last time he was nasty... but he takes it one step further this time.

I'll stop babbling now. I really enjoyed it. And, though I'm hesitant about where things seem to be going for the next movie, I think everything will be O.K. And if it's not... at least I have this movie to look back on.

Posted on May 21, 2003 2:36 PM | | Comments (0)

May 26, 2003
Paul and Jeani

Just wanted to take the time to congratulate Paul and Jeani on the day after their wedding. I know I don't know either of you all that well, but I feel like I've gotten to know you a bit through the Ping and phonezilla. So if I was ever in Chicago, you wouldn't just be some anonymous happy couple walking down the street. You'd be a couple that I could probably recognize if it wasn't raining and you were close enough that my failing glasses could see you. Isn't that better? Thank heavens for the Internet.

But seriously... congratulations! I wish for all the happiness in the world for the two of you. Enjoy your life together.

Posted on May 26, 2003 9:05 AM | | Comments (2)

May 28, 2003
Sunflowers EVERYwhere...

Yesterday, Sarah and I hit the Sunflower Cafe in Vienna, VA for lunch for the first time. Not being a vegetarian (and loving the heck out of chicken), it was an odd experience. Particularly since I opened up the menu and had no idea what half the stuff meant. :P Luckily, they provide a little glossary at the back of the menu so you have some idea what you're eating.

Sarah and I both got adventurous. I tried the General Tso's Surprise (the surprise being, of course, the fake chicken) and Sarah got the Curry Supreme. Both had soy protein masquerading as chicken. Both were rather tasty. I found the Tso's sauce to be rather weak, though. I expected either sweet or spicy, but I got something only mildly sweet. On the other hand, Sarah's curry seemed WAY too salty to me. However, on the whole, I preferred hers and she preferred mine, so we switched. Though I ended up eating quite a bit of the Tso's, too, since Sarah got full.

I was a bit surprised at the texture of the soy. It was a lot closer to chicken than I expected. You can't really say much about the flavor because of the sauces and the way they were cooked, but the texture's probably more important anyhow.

The side salad's dressing was a bit too sour and/or vinegary to me. I couldn't quite tell what the dressing was, but I tasted some soy sauce in there. It was just too much for me, I think.

I don't know if my tummy just wasn't used to just vegetables or if I ate too much, but SOMEthing didn't agree with me, though. However, I think we'll go back at some point. We're both trying to eat healthier and this is a good way to do it. With such a varied menu, I think we can both find something we'll enjoy.

Posted on May 28, 2003 10:05 AM | | Comments (2)

May 29, 2003
I like... bats...

Well. I was sitting in the living room last night. I can't remember what time it was. Probably somewhere around 11 or so, though it may have been a BIT earlier. I was playing a bit of Wolfenstein online. I was on the Allies side and we'd just won. Suddenly, something rather larger than a fly was flitting about in our apartment. At first, I thought it was a bird, so I said to Sarah rather calmly, "Hrmmm... there's a bird in here." She proceeded to freak out. :)

After looking at it further, Sarah said she thought it was a bat. I didn't think it was, since I thought I'd seen a beak and I thought it had feathers. But upon closer inspection (which was hard to do, since this guy was really moving), I noticed that the wings didn't really look like bird wings. And I don't think it had a proper tail. ANYhow... I opened the screen door and got it to fly outside after about 30 seconds. It was very surreal.

We're still not sure how it got in. I checked the screens on the windows and there wasn't a hole in any of them. Sarah thinks it might've gotten in through the hole above our shower. For some reason, there's a hole in the far corner of our bathroom. It looks like it's supposed to be a vent, but there's no vent cover or anything. It never really bothered us TOO much (except for when water drips from there for no reason... it's always ice cold and it can be quite a surprise when you're in a nice hot shower), so we didn't really stop to ponder what to do about it. Besides... getting the people who run our apartment complex over to fix something like this is a trial.

Hopefully we'll have no more nocturnal visitors of a fuzzy nature.

Posted on May 29, 2003 10:22 AM | | Comments (1)