Musings and Self-Indulgence Archives

August 7, 2001
Musical polarity

Speaking of music, my girlfriend and I are fairly opposite in our enjoyment of music. Oh, we like a lot of the same things, but it's often for different reasons. For her, the lyrics are paramount. If there's no lyric booklet, she gets extremely irate. She'll get excited about a particular lyric and write it down and everything. For me, the music is much more important. Half the time, I can barely pay attention to the lyrics anyhow. Though I can enjoy good lyrics, the voice tends to become just another instrument for me. Which is probably why I can enjoy stuff like Dead Can Dance and Japanese rock and pop so much.

Posted on August 7, 2001 4:53 PM | | Comments (0)

August 10, 2001
Ah, to be young again...

Back when I was younger and first got into the whole online thing, I got into some really bizarre stuff. I pretty much hated my entire school career mostly because of my peers, so I was always looking for something that'd make me better than them or something. So I got into circles of people talking about psychic powers and astral projection and the like. And did stupid stuff like get catalogs for devices that would supposedly allow you to levitate. Very bizarre. I was a strange teenager. At least it exposed me to some interesting things, like lucid dreaming, but it sure makes me wonder what I was thinking at the time. :)

Posted on August 10, 2001 4:08 PM | | Comments (0)

August 13, 2001
Riders on the storm...

Blah. Bad bad storms this weekend. There was a pretty amazing electrical storm on Saturday that blew out our power for a good long while. It sounded like the lightning was striking nearby, it was so loud. It almost sounded like it hit the antenna on top of the building, since I thought I heard an electrical sounding noise inside the apartment. Spooky. Luckily, the only casualty of the storm was my Ethernet card. Lord knows how exactly that happened. The DSL modem was fine, everything else in the computer was fine (except for an oddly overactive and loud CPU fan... but that seems to have calmed down now). I guess it's possible that it was on its last legs and died of fright from the storm. Who knows? Ah well. I went to Best Buy and picked up a new one and everything's happy now. At least it's better than the first year we lived in the apartment when every time there was an electrical storm and we lost power, the caller ID box would get fried and we'd have to get a new one.

Posted on August 13, 2001 9:50 AM | | Comments (0)

August 14, 2001
I'm a big boy now!

I got a haircut yesterday! Yay! Even though nature is slowly deciding that I just don't NEED hair any more, I still like keeping it fairly short. It gets all out of control when I let it grow too much. Now I won't look like a complete piece of trash at the weddings I'm going to in the next couple of months.

Posted on August 14, 2001 3:59 PM | | Comments (0)

August 15, 2001
Yay. A blender.

As I mentioned yesterday, I've got a couple weddings to go to over the next couple months. Unlike most of the weddings I've gone to in the past, these ones are in convenient locations. :) Ryan and Huyen's is in Leesburg, which is about a 15 minute drive from here. Not only that but they say you can walk from the church to the reception place. Groovy. Michael and Jennifer's is somewhere in Pennsylvania, which isn't entirely convenient, BUT it's going to be close to one of Sarah's friends, so we'll be able to stay with her instead of having to stay in a hotel. Now I just have to figure out what the hell I'm going to get them. Sometimes I feel stupid getting, like, a pan for someone. But... eh... I guess that's what wedding presents are like. It just feels WRONG somehow.

Posted on August 15, 2001 4:13 PM | | Comments (0)

August 21, 2001
He's too... shy shy...

I pretty much hated high school. Loathed it, really. Junior high, too. Honestly, at this point, I can't quite remember a time when I liked school. I know there was a time, way back when, when I loved to learn and that made school worthwhile. But then everything else stole that from me. I was a geek, I'll admit. No pocket protector or anything like that, but I wasn't far off. Being shy didn't help, either. I was picked on quite a lot and never felt like I fit into any group, really. I always tried to rationalize that I was better than all of them and everything would turn out fine in the end. But I wasn't and it didn't. I just ended up missing out on things. I never went to my prom. A girl actually asked me, too, though I've never figured out if she was being serious. I said no, rudely, figuring that she wasn't being serious, embarassed because she'd asked in front of other people. I've missed out on far too many things, especially because of the shyness. It didn't get much better in college, though I found a few people I could actually relate to and like. But I generally hated it, too. Partially because many of the people truly were bastards but also because I know I missed out on things I could've enjoyed. And I still regret all of it. Letting go of the past is something I've never gotten the hang of.

Posted on August 21, 2001 1:02 PM | | Comments (0)

August 22, 2001
More DVDs... MORE!

It's sad. I'm addicted to DVDs. Back when there was only VHS, I wouldn't shell out the cash for a tape unless I REALLY wanted it. I think I couldn't rationalize spending as much money as you had to to buy something that wasn't going to last very long. I don't know if I ever really thought of it that way consciously, but I'm sure the notion entered my brain at some point. Now that there are DVDs, though, I spend a few hundred dollars a month on the things. I should probably be using the money to haul myself out of debt, at last, but... I'm an addict. I need the shiny discs. Gimme gimme!

Posted on August 22, 2001 1:52 PM | | Comments (0)

September 4, 2001
Me rite good won day

Looking over what I've written here on this blog so far, I've noticed that my writing skills have suffered tremendously since I stopped having to write things. I don't even seem to be able to keep a coherent train of thought going. This makes me unhappy. I'll have to do something about this.

Posted on September 4, 2001 10:26 AM | | Comments (0)


This is somewhat related to some comments I made in the entry about Ryan's wedding. I've always had a difficult time explaining my feelings on religion and such. I consider myself an agnostic and I could just leave it at that. When I was growing up, I went to Sunday school for a while. I don't remember when and why we stopped going. I remember being christened. I know little enough about the various denominations of Western religions and the differences between them. I know next to nothing about Eastern religions. So perhaps it may seem I've made an uninformed decision. I don't think I need to know all of the other choices to choose this. I daresay most other people don't study up on religion before they choose their beliefs. I think I've created reasons for why I feel the way I do to try to explain things. Like the fact that so many evils have been done in a deity's name. Or that the reasons for committing horrid atrocities are explained through one person's interpretation of a religious text. But I know that people will do what they want to do. Without religion, something else would've evolved to serve these purposes. Land disputes would escalate without religious backing. Genocide would be attempted by manufacturing some other reason that a race is wicked and evil. People will make excuses for doing the worst things in the universe. This just makes it easier. I know that some people need for there to be a God and a Heaven. It's too hard to face the idea that once we die, that's the end of us. It's difficult to deal with the thought that horrible things don't happen because of some grand plan. It seems just as difficult for some to believe that horrible things DO happen because of some grand plan. I'd like to think that human beings could be kind to each other because they want to be. That people can behave and not hurt each other because it's the right thing to do, not because they're following rules or because not doing so is a sin. I'd like to think I could have faith in human beings. I know that's an ideal and possibly a foolish one. I don't know whether the world could exist as it is today without religion. I don't know if we would've survived. I don't know if we'd be better off without it. I just know that I am. I may not be the happiest person in the universe, but I believe that only I and other people can do anything about that. And you know what? I think it's fine if other people believe differently. As long as they don't try to foist it on me, that's just great. Whatever makes you happy is all that's important, as long as you don't ruin other people's happiness. And... uh... that's about it for me. :) For now. Muahaha...

Posted on September 4, 2001 11:16 AM | | Comments (0)

September 5, 2001
Slave to love

I must be some kind of twisted moron. I seem to refuse to take days off. Unless I'm sick as a dog, I'll go to work. The last time I took any time off was when I went home for lunch and I felt nauseous and exhausted, so I didn't go back to work and slept for the entire afternoon and into the evening. It's not like I'm a super-important cog in the machinery known as Cigital. I have almost 5 work weeks of vacation stored up. Yet I'll refuse to just take a day off, even if the weather's gorgeous. Even if I've got time to plan ahead for it, it'll take a lot of coaxing to get me to do it. I'm not sure if I'm, like, afraid that I'll look like a giant slacker for actually taking some time off or what. It's freaky. It'd make you think I love my job and want to father its children. Which I don't.

Posted on September 5, 2001 5:20 PM | | Comments (0)

September 6, 2001
I have trophies. Honest!

Back when I was a kid, I was a pretty good bowler. I don't really recall HOW good, but I know I was pretty good. I got all sorts of patches and pins and trophies. It was the only game I was even remotely decent at. I sucked at soccer when I played for a year. I never even dreamed of trying out for baseball or basketball. Being a geek, I was uncoordinated. It was unavoidable. Back then, I was in a bowling league. So I played every Saturday morning. Sometimes on Sunday nights for a while, too. There were bowling banquets every year where I actually won things and everything. I've never been great at keeping my wrist straight. But I compensated for the most part and I was really rather good. Today, I'm not. Sarah and I went bowling tonight. I always have a hard time finding a decent ball at a bowling alley. I think I need a good 12 pounder. 14's still a little too heavy for my weak wrist and fingers. I won't even consider a 16. But all of the 12s and even most of the 14s have finger holes that are way too small for my thick fingers. So I lose quite a bit of control that way. Back in the day, I had my own ball. A firey blue 10 pound baby fitted to my fingers. Yummy. Tonight I started out with a 15 pound behemoth with slightly small finger holes. I searched around after the first game and a half and found a 14 pounder that had finger holes that were a bit too big but not all that bad. I bowled a 109 the first game. Not too too bad for not having bowled in a year. And then only 3 games with my brothers. Next game I got a 121. I was improving. Then I bowled a 106. Yucky. We gave up after that. It was late and we were tired and my fingers were getting sore. I feel I could do better with a ball better suited to me. My play was erratic. Sometimes I could chuck the thing right down the middle, sometimes I'd end up tossing it way off to the right. Ah well... Sarah told me it was O.K. to say what she got, too, so... she got a 68, a 59, and a 57. Of course, she said she could count on her fingers how many times she's been in a bowling alley, so she's got more of an excuse than I do. :) And she giggled as she threw gutter balls, and that's all that really matters, isn't it?

Posted on September 6, 2001 10:37 PM | | Comments (0)

September 11, 2001

Well... I know everyone in the world is talking about the events that happened today. I think all the facts we're going to know about at the moment are out there. And one thing's sickening me the most. It's all the celebrations they're occasionally showing of people in the Middle East that were happy about this. I understand that not everyone's happy with the United States. I understand that we don't always do the right thing. And I know these people have different beliefs that cause them to hate us and have kept that whole area in turmoil for decades. But it's fucking sick to celebrate large-scale slaughter of ANYbody. We weren't at war. These weren't soldiers that died. These were innocent people. These buildings were targeted specifically. How sick are you to celebrate slaughter? How can anyone feel good about that? How can anyone think they're righteous for this? This is the sickest thing I've ever witnessed... I know people over there feel strongly enough in their beliefs and their faith to keep killing to try to get what they feel is theirs by right, but this... this is just disgusting and inhuman.

Posted on September 11, 2001 11:02 PM | | Comments (0)

September 12, 2001
I can't believe some people...

Blah. Blogger ate my last post somehow. Oh well... I'll write it again when I remember what I said. But I've heard from some people that there are those who are attacking and threatening innocent people just because they're of Arab descent. That's just wrong and ridiculous. I know people feel impotent right now and they want to take it out on somebody, but don't. These people had nothing to do with it. It's just stupid. And it's disrespectful in light of this tragedy to be inflicting violence upon other innocent people. Beating people up doesn't help.

Posted on September 12, 2001 11:28 AM | | Comments (0)

Don't hate me

Hrmmm. Well... I know that there are some fairly legitimate reasons for Palestinians to hate us because of our role in the creation of Israel. But I honestly still don't think that that kind of hatred warrants this. How long ago did that happen? Did any of us have anything to do with it? I know they have to live with it now, but I honestly feel there's a better solution. Hatred and killing is never a good solution. I know what we went through yesterday is nothing compared to the daily killings that have gone on in the Middle East for decades. But it's still wrong. And I guess I get tired of factions hating us. I feel we're doing our best to make things better for everybody. Sometimes we screw up. Sometimes we don't do what's right for EVERYbody. That's impossible. There are those who feel we shouldn't do what we do. That we shouldn't interfere with atrocities that happen in other nations. And it seems these factions would rather we left them alone. And you know what? Maybe we should. I know we feel it's our responsibility as a powerful nation and a major power in the world community. But if they don't want us, maybe we SHOULD leave them alone. Maybe we'll see how bad things can get if we aren't there. Maybe the next time an earthquake or a major catastrophe occurs, the Red Cross just won't show up. I know that sounds cruel, but I just sometimes get sick of nations dumping on us when we really are often trying to make the world a better place. And we use our resources to try to help people, as a major power should, often at our own expense. But as time goes on, it's hard not to see some sense in the isolationist viewpoint.

Posted on September 12, 2001 1:26 PM | | Comments (0)

September 13, 2001
An empty page

I often wish that I could get myself to try to write again. I haven't really written any substantial piece of fiction for a long long time. It really was something I enjoyed. But I guess I just got disappointed in what I produced and got incredibly frustrated by my inabilities. I know I have some basic weaknesses when it comes to writing. Some of these are things I don't think I can overcome. I know I have a problem holding something complex in my head at one time. I can write little scenes and such, but I can't put them into a coherent story. Nothing of any length, at least. It's really frustrating, since it's something I enjoy, but I can't get myself motivated to do it. Blah. Oh well. At least there's my incredibly popular blog. ;)

Posted on September 13, 2001 10:34 AM | | Comments (0)

Stupid kids

Jesus. My younger brother, who just started working as a teacher this year, just told me that there was a bomb threat called into his school today. The police traced it to a payphone right outside the school auditorium. I can't believe that even a high school kid could be stupid enough to do something like that right now. Really. I can't even begin to express how many kinds of wrong that is. My brother told me the kid who did it would face expulsion and jail time. I really hope he or she is caught.

Posted on September 13, 2001 5:04 PM | | Comments (0)

September 14, 2001
Ministry of Misinformation

There's one thing that's struck me as somewhat interesting. There's been a LOT of misinformation and rumors being reported by various news agencies. I remember not too long ago, there were a lot of complaints about this sort of thing. How technology had made it possible for news agencies to report stories as they were occurring. But they also weren't checking the facts in the rush to get things on the air or on the net. I don't think anyone's complaining now. It seems right now that everyone is hungry for any kind of information, whether it's true or false. I've actually preferred the live coverage, really, in this situation. Most of the produced news stories I've started to see have been melodramatic and scripted, some rather fake and disrespectful. Even if the as-it-happens stuff ends up giving me false information; even if it means that Tom Brokaw or Peter Jennings will ask someone to clarify something that they just explained simply and in plain English; I've still preferred that in this situation.

Posted on September 14, 2001 11:07 AM | | Comments (0)


Sarah never used to watch the news at all. She said there were things she'd rather not know. That she'd rather remain ignorant of what was going on in the world if it meant she didn't have to hear stories of babies being left in cars in August and innocent people being murdered. But she's been watching it more than I have lately. On Tuesday, she started watching when I came home around 11:15am and didn't stop until 2:30am the next day. The last few days, I think the repetitiveness has gotten to her somewhat, but she's still watching a lot. The car radio's been tuned to NPR since Wednesday. We never listen to NPR. It's interesting that a tragedy worse than any she'd been avoiding has forced the news media into her life.

Posted on September 14, 2001 1:11 PM | | Comments (0)

Fight the real enemy

I'm sure that a lot of teachers want things to get back to normal. My younger brother, John, keeps saying as much. But as long as the kids have questions, I think it's important to continue answering them. John teaches high school and he's mentioned that a lot of the kids are confused and just need to know things. It's good to see our children actually wanting to learn. And it's good to hear that teachers have been trying to teach the kids to not let their emotions be misdirected. To teach them that the innocent Muslims in our country aren't our enemy. He has a unique opportunity to put this in a historical perspective and hopefully guide these children to a better understanding. That kind of lesson is far more important today than anything else.

Posted on September 14, 2001 2:12 PM | | Comments (0)

September 17, 2001
I am a freak of nature

One thing that's always bothered me and makes me wonder about myself is that I don't seem to react the way I think I should when certain things happen. When older relatives die, even if I'd seen them many times, I don't cry. I think the only thing that brought me close to tears was seeing my mother crying when her father died. And now I keep reading about people who are moved to tears because of the tragedy of last week. People who still can't stop crying when they see things about it on the news. Sarah cried hard when she first saw what happened on the news and heard the details. She's still affected by it. She's spooked by noises in the night more than ever. When a truck goes by outside our window in the morning, she wakes with a start. When a plane flies overhead, she tenses. I got angry, but not overly sad. I started to think, not to cry. It was sad, but I wasn't saddened as much as I should've been. Seeing others cry affected me more than knowing what happened. Maybe it just doesn't seem real to me. Maybe I can't make my brain understand that it really happened, so I should be upset about it. I honestly don't know. It makes me wonder what it'd take to move me. What has to happen to make me feel that kind of sorrow? I hope that I'm not truly that callous.

Posted on September 17, 2001 11:09 AM | | Comments (0)

September 19, 2001

Sex. There. That'll get me some more hits.

Posted on September 19, 2001 9:14 AM | | Comments (0)

They use color film now?

Last night, I pulled out my old Pentax K-1000 camera. My parents got this for me for Christmas some year, I believe. Unfortunately, like a few other things I hoped I could do well and got excited about, I abandoned photography. To be truthful, though, a lot of that had to do with the cost of buying film and getting it processed. At the time, I was a poor boy who was spending what money he had on other stuff. Anyhow... I never really seemed to grasp a lot of the fundamentals of photography. Which is a very dangerous thing for me. When I learn something wrong at the beginning, it takes forever to unlearn it. I feel I have a decent eye for aesthetics, but it was the science of the thing that threw me off. It's sort of like painting and drawing is with me. I can envision the way I want something to look in my head, but there's no way in hell I can actually create it. For the most part, I tended to use the camera to just take pictures, not create art. I didn't really pay attention to what I was doing. I just fiddled with the settings until the internal light meter said everything was peachy. I often foolishly used the flash when I actually wanted the effect that the natural light was giving. I think I might give photography another go. We'll see what happens. It's not that I actually needed another expensive hobby. I just think I could enjoy it.

Posted on September 19, 2001 1:30 PM | | Comments (0)

September 20, 2001
Well, except maybe a fisheye...

Well, after asking for advice on good ol' Usenet, I think I've decided to just stick with the camera lenses I have for now and see what I can do with them. I'll probably just stick with the fixed 50mm lens I've got instead of using the zoom, since I'm sure that's a much better way to learn photography. I do already know SOME stuff, but there's a lot more I need to know. Maybe I'll even buy some black and white film and get all artsy. Of course, it'd be a lot more fun if I had the space and equipment to process the film myself, but oh well.

Posted on September 20, 2001 1:51 PM | | Comments (0)

September 24, 2001
Holiday snaps

Bought some black and white film this weekend. Awwwww yeah. Now all I need is to get some batteries for the light meter in my camera and I'll be all ready to become photo boy. I was thinking of taking the day off and going into the inner harbor in Baltimore on Friday, so that might be a good opportunity to snap some pictures. Or maybe not. The camera's a bit bulky and we often seem to park fairly far from where we're going. We'll see.

Posted on September 24, 2001 11:34 AM | | Comments (0)

September 25, 2001
You're 18, right?

It's amazing how horrible I am at guessing people's ages. I mean... back when I was in school, it was a lot easier to at least know a range. I couldn't tell a freshman from a junior too well, but it didn't really matter then. Older people could be 30 or 40 or 50 or whatever. Now it seems even worse. Any young girl could be between 12 and 19. People I work with who look young to me can sometimes be 10 years older than me. I think I must just not look for the telltale signs of age. Or maybe it's because pretty much most of the people I meet act like they're 12.

Posted on September 25, 2001 2:16 PM | | Comments (0)

October 3, 2001
Nice... uh... effects...

I watched Space Camp last night. It was just as good as I remembered it being. :) The DVD is pretty barebones with only the feature and a trailer on it, but it was still a good buy at less than $10. There was one odd thing about the movie, though. I remember the effects being fairly poor, but there was some pretty blatant badness here. I don't know if this was a problem with the transfer or if they had to reconstruct the effects and did a bad job of it or what. Every single time the sun rose over the Earth while they were in space, you could see the sun as a dark spot THROUGH the Earth before it rose. Often while the shuttle was travelling through space, you could see the matte lines. When Andie was going to rescue Max, you could VERY obviously see two dark lines attached to her which I assume were cables holding her up. I'd never noticed this before quite this badly in my many viewings of this movie. I guess going digital isn't always the best thing in the world for movies.

Posted on October 3, 2001 2:25 PM | | Comments (0)

October 4, 2001
If you're not part of the cure, you're part of the problem...

So I'm sitting here listening to the Crosby, Stills & Nash box set that Sarah got for me used from McKay's in Centreville. I'm now on disc 4, which mostly has group and solo stuff from the late 70s, the 80s, and the early 90s. Listening to some of this stuff, I again have to wonder what happens to certain artists. There seem to be few artists who can consistently produce good work over a long period of time. I don't know why artists feel their music has to "evolve" or something. I know music and musical tastes change with time. I know that music production today is different than it was when CS&N started. But why does it seem that most of the time, when musical artists evolve, it ends up sucking? U2, Elton John, Sting... the list goes on. The only group I can think of that really DID evolve and turned into something so much better than they originally were is the Beatles. Not that I hate their early stuff, but how can anyone compare that to Sgt. Pepper or the White Album? I know that taste in music is subjective and maybe someone out there actually likes Sting more than The Police, but this just seems to be a widespread, bizarre phenomenon. Maybe this condition is caused by the creative well running dry. If so and I were someone like Sting or Bono, I'd just give up on music instead of convincing myself that the crap I'm churning out is remotely good and oh so much more mature than what I was doing before.

At least The Cure has never let me down.

Posted on October 4, 2001 1:51 PM | | Comments (0)

October 5, 2001
Chatty Cathy!

Hrmmm. I'm pretty chatty today. Oh well. It's a Friday.

I seem to have a somewhat obsessive personality. Which I really dislike, since it often makes me do and feel things I'd rather not. The most common way this manifests itself is in my dislike for uncleanliness and disorder. It's not just that I dislike them. It has a physiological effect, too. I get tense. The muscles in my shoulders tighten. I get agitated. It doesn't always happen and sometimes I wonder if it's either selective or I've just learned to deal with the mess around me. I also get obsessed about other stuff. Like when someone doesn't write me back. I wonder why. I obsess about it and make up reasons. I know I'm being foolish and I can tell myself I am, but I can't stop feeling that way and it really gets out of hand. It really has a great emotional effect. I wish there were something I could do about it.

This is one of the many reasons I refuse to drink alcohol. I don't really have many moral or ethical reasons for it. I do dislike the taste of what little I've tried. I also dislike how stupid some people are about it. And there are other reasons. And, for some inexplicable reason, I'll often get amazingly upset when friends of mine drink. Though not always. Sometimes I think it's hilarious. But as for the obsession thing... I just get worried that I'd find some kind of alcoholic beverage I really like the taste of... or I'll drink enough some time that I actually feel the effects and I'll like them a lot... and I won't be able to stop. I can see it happening VERY easily. Sarah occasionally gets fruity/minty/chocolatey concoctions when we go out and she tries to get me to take a sip, but I just won't. It just doesn't seem like a good idea to me.

Of course, everyone who's reading this probably thinks I'm a freak now. :) But, since the small handful of people who actually read this ever already KNOW I'm a freak, that's O.K. :)

Posted on October 5, 2001 11:16 AM | | Comments (0)

October 9, 2001
Take my picture!

I'm still debating with myself about whether or not I want to bring my camera to Michael and Jennifer's wedding. On the one hand, I think it'd be cool to play around with the black and white film I got and see how it turns out. On the other hand, the camera's big and the flash would make it that much bigger and I'm not sure I'd have enough light to go without the flash, even with the 400 film we got. Maybe I'll do some tests around the house with what I think may be similar lighting conditions and see how that works out. Or maybe I'll just forget about it, since I'll probably never get the shot I want with everyone else there trying to get the best shot with their automatic cameras. We shall see...

Posted on October 9, 2001 3:09 PM | | Comments (0)

October 10, 2001
Tell me about this "photography"...

The mail never came yesterday. Oh well. I guess it's just fine anyhow. It's not like I would've had time last night to watch any of the DVDs I'm expecting. Tuesday's our big TV night and then I had to do some laundry and pack for our trip. I'm still not sure if I'm going to bring my camera. I didn't pack it, but I may ask Sarah to grab it before she comes to pick me up. Even if I don't bring it to the wedding, it might be nice to use it along the way or while we're in Ohio. Experimenting with a camera is more fun when you're visiting somewhere else. There's just a lot more you can take pictures of. I leafed through a photography book last night. It makes a lot more sense to me now than it did when I first got my camera. Hurray for small victories.

Posted on October 10, 2001 10:03 AM | | Comments (0)

October 16, 2001
My nipples explode with delight!

Wow. I had a super-spiffy shopping day today. :)

I got into work and had a mail from telling me that the Grateful Dead's Ladies and Gentlemen... The Grateful Dead: Fillmore East New York April 1971 4 CD set was in stock for around $19. When I went to check if it was still there, it amazingly was. Usually when I get those alerts, the CD's already been snapped up before I even get to look. The same seller also had a CD I'd been planning to get for Sarah for Christmas. So that worked out extremely well.

Then I had this mail from CDNow. I haven't bought anything there in ages because their prices suck and their shipping costs are outrageous. CDNow killed off their Fast Forward Rewards program a few months back and I had a bunch of points accumulated but not enough to use for a free CD. Well, the mail said that, since I was a member and I'd had points left, they were going to let me do a buy 1 get 1 free deal. So I ordered The Cure's upcoming greatest hits CD with the bonus acoustic CD and The Innocence Mission's latest.

Then I bought a bunch of stuff from Amazon and used a $10 coupon that pretty much just covered shipping. But... eh... oh well. :P

Shopping today was all about happiness.

Posted on October 16, 2001 1:53 PM | | Comments (0)

October 19, 2001
Look at the birds up in the trees...

I really like the fall. The colors are just so beautiful and the temperatures tend to be perfect for me. I'm not really a big fan of summer and winter. I don't like the heat and I don't tend to like extreme cold, either. And, though the snow is pretty, it's not enough to win me over to winter. I prefer the more moderate temperatures of spring and fall. Though often the spring and fall can seem just like summer here in Virginia, this fall has really been perfect so far. Temperatures mostly in the 50s and 60s, beautiful blue skies, colorful trees... perfect.

Posted on October 19, 2001 3:45 PM | | Comments (0)

October 21, 2001
That was a book?

I never read any of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Or any books set in Middle Earth. Or, really, any Tolkien at all. I don't know why. Maybe just because they seemed so long to me at the time. As I've mentioned before, I think, I'm a slow reader. But that's no excuse, since I read all of Zelazny's Amber novels and there were a bunch of those. All I need to read is 3 books, really, though I could always read more. I honestly don't know why I haven't read them. I'd better get a move on, though. The movie's coming. THE movie.

Even though I've never read the books, I've seen the cartoons. And I know something of what the books are about. And the coming movies have me excited. It's not often that we get a decent fantasy movie, honestly. Or, really, sci-fi for that matter, but it seems like fantasy's gotten the shaft more often than sci-fi. Fantasy movies seem to be permanently mired in the B-movie realm. What better trilogy of films could there be to help drag them out of there. It'd be awesome if the Lord of the Rings flicks caused a revolution in fantasy filmmaking.

If not... hell... it sounds like at least these movies'll be great. Just reading this made me drool.

Oh yeah... and then there's Harry Potter, too. :) Though I think that'll be perceived more as a kiddie flick than as a serious fantasy movie. But hey... it's something.

Posted on October 21, 2001 5:00 PM | | Comments (0)

October 22, 2001
Sublime subliminal sublimation

This is a somewhat sublime feeling. I'm pretty much finished with Christmas shopping for Sarah. And it's only October. I have a few small things I want to get and some stocking stuffers to think of, but I'm done with the bulk of it. I usually try to start shopping a few months before Christmas so I can spread the spending around. I admit that I usually go extremely overboard, but this year we decided to cut back, especially since Sarah's been out of work, so she won't be able to get me as much. Which is fine with me, really. I like buying presents. But anyhow... I started about as early as usual this year. But I kept finding good deals on all the stuff I wanted to get her, so I ended up getting all her stuff in September and October. November and December will be left for the little things and for anything else that might come up between now and Christmas.

This is a good feeling. Now I don't have to worry about budgeting Christmas too much. :) Except for getting presents for my family. Or at least for some members of my family. At one time, we'd decided to not get presents for each other. But my older brother kept doing it, so my mom started doing it, and everyone gets stuff for my niece because she's the baby. This will all lead to ruin, I tell you! ;)

Posted on October 22, 2001 10:26 AM | | Comments (0)

Call me Mr. Serious

I really tend to take things far too seriously. That becomes more and more apparent to me as each day passes. Not only do I overanalyze practically everything, I really make a big deal out of very minor things. I can't help being this way, though. I've tried and it really doesn't help at all. I often end up feeling extremely annoying because of this. I'll make a big deal out of things that aren't a big deal and I won't seem especially calm for no good reason whatsoever. It really drives me nuts. It's like my brain can't tell the difference between something that is a big deal and something that's not, so everything has to be a big deal, just in case. It really sucks, though. It makes it impossible to relax, take it easy, and just be, enjoying life and friendships as they are.

This is why I will, no doubt, have a heart attack before I'm 40.

Posted on October 22, 2001 5:15 PM | | Comments (0)

October 23, 2001
Hello... is there anybody out there?

This is something of an addendum to yesterday's entry about taking stuff too seriously. I thought about it a bit and it seems to me that I don't make a big deal out of things that really are a big deal. Take the events of September 11th, for instance. I was a bit stunned but it was just something of a fascinating thing to me. While the world was freaking out, it didn't seem like a huge thing to me. I'm unsure whether this stems from cynicism or not. I guess I feel the world is pretty sick and bad stuff happens far too often, so it's just another day. But there have been other big deals that haven't been big deals to me. And some big deals that have been, though I think in a lot of those cases, it was because the situation required action and I had no idea what to do. So... I don't know. It's odd that I can make a big deal out of something someone says to me or doesn't say to me, but thousands of people dying is nothing. I guess in the case of a tragedy like that, the basic facts are known and there's nothing to analyze. But when someone says something to me that bothers me and I don't know why, I have to sit and wonder why and try to figure it out until I get to talk to them again.

Yes. My blog. My personal place for talking to myself. :)

Posted on October 23, 2001 11:19 AM | | Comments (0)

October 24, 2001
Ice c'eam sammich!

You know what I haven't had in a while that I'm suddenly in the mood for? An ice cream sandwich. I honestly don't know why, but I just crave one. It's one of those cravings where you can just about taste it. Yum. Ice cream sandwich...

Posted on October 24, 2001 10:42 AM | | Comments (0)

October 26, 2001
DVD Goodness

I watched some of the extra stuff on the Star Wars DVD last night. Not all of it but a decent portion of it. The deleted scenes were very cool. It was so amazing that they spent the time to finish all of these scenes with complete effects and everything. The best part of the deleted scenes documentary was the bit where the guy went through and showed how he finished the deleted waterfall scene. I've always wished that I had the talent to do effects work or work in computer animation, but I really don't. It's just amazing what these guys can do. The creativity involved in coming up with ways to make things look real is immense.

Of course, the one thing that stuck with me from watching the making-of documentary was that Rick McCallum has a potty mouth.

I wish I liked the movie more, but I still find it difficult to not be disappointed. I understand that Lucas wrote the movie for kids and that this movie is basically there to set up everything. But there are various holes and silly plot points. And I still wish that Lucas had found a way to write the story without introducing the character of Qui-Gonn. Obi-Wan had always said that Yoda trained him. Now, I guess you could say that, at some point, Yoda did train him or will train him, as he is only a Jedi knight at the end of the first movie. And, since Qui-Gonn was long dead, maybe Obi-Wan found it unnecessary to mention him to Luke. But it still seems a bit iffy to me. Maybe there was no other way to tell this particular story without introducing a character like that. I feel he could've written a different story about the same thing without him. But oh well. He's there. I still enjoy the film, don't get me wrong. Just not as much as the other movies and not as much as I'd like to.

Posted on October 26, 2001 10:47 AM | | Comments (0)

Join me and together we'll rule the living room

Watching the stuff on the Star Wars DVD last night reminded me of something else that's always bothered me a little bit. And it's not just about Star Wars. I've just always had a little bit of a problem with the whole thing about the apprentice becoming stronger than the master and the master getting killed. It was a bit easier to swallow in the first Star Wars, since Obi-Wan was rather old. Though he was probably still strong with the Force, his body couldn't fight any more. But the whole thing in Phantom Menace just seems silly. Qui-Gonn wasn't that old. He was a Jedi Master. Sure, he was a bit reckless at times, but he did a lot of stupid stuff to get himself killed. And then Obi-Wan, not even a Jedi knight yet, goes and kills this guy who was easily holding his own against TWO Jedi? Yeah, right! The whole thing seemed contrived, from the silly shields that kept Obi-Wan from joining the fight to the silly death of both hero and villain.

This sort of theme shows up a lot, though, and it's more unbelievable in other stories than here. I just remember Star Wars better since I've seen it so many times. I know that it's a common element of myth, but it can just rub me the wrong way sometimes.

I won't even go into how I'm bothered by the fact that the only time Luke actually accomplishes anything is when he's totally pissed and the only reason he steps back from the Dark Side is because the Emperor taunts him. That'd just be too geeky. ^_^

Posted on October 26, 2001 11:01 AM | | Comments (0)

October 30, 2001
World traveller

Man... according to my My Yahoo! page, round-trip airfare to Tokyo out of Reagan is only about $500 at the moment. The lowest I'd seen before was $700 and the highest was close to $1000. This is amazing. I still can't afford to go, but it makes me wish I could all the more.

Of all the places in the world I'd like to go, I think Japan currently tops my list. For quite a long time, the UK topped my list and it's still high up there, but I think Japan's on top now. Perhaps because Japan's a bit more exotic. For convenience, though, I'm sure England and Ireland have Japan beat, since I'll have a slightly easier time understanding an English guy. Though, with some accents, only slightly. England, unlike Japan, also has toilets that I'm familiar with, which would make me happy. Japan also seems a bit more strict as a society, so it'd be a bit uncomfortable. But it's still a beautiful place that I'd love to visit.

Both have wonderful things to see. I love castles and old churches and both lands are covered in excellent examples of both. In Japan, you've got Tokugawa Ieyasu's tomb, Himeji Castle, and so many more man-made and natural beauties. In England, there are dozens and dozens of castles and probably just as many churches.

Lovely lovely. Hopefully before I die, I'll get the chance to visit both.

Posted on October 30, 2001 11:12 AM | | Comments (0)

Car work good

Coolness. After waiting a week for parts, Midas finally replaced my muffler and exhaust pipe. My car's much happier now and I don't have to fear going over the tiniest little bumps in the universe. Yeehaw.

Posted on October 30, 2001 3:37 PM | | Comments (0)

October 31, 2001
Violence in cave paintings

This morning I was flipping through the channels and saw this feature on Good Morning America. What I still find amazing and amusing is that all of these features on violence STILL use footage from Wolfenstein 3D and the original Mortal Kombat, two games that are over 10 years old now. C'mon... can't they get new footage from stuff like Soldier of Fortune and Tekken 3?

Posted on October 31, 2001 9:37 AM | | Comments (0)

November 1, 2001
I'll see you... in November...

Cool. It's November. The onset of November usually means one thing to me. My birthday's coming soon. The best part about Halloween for me, now that I'm a grown-up, is that it's exactly two weeks before my birthday. Not that I'm looking forward to being another year older or anything, but you can't overlook the gift aspect.

Posted on November 1, 2001 10:32 AM | | Comments (0)

November 2, 2001
Media snail

Gotta love media mail. Last month, I got something shipped from Oregon and it took almost 3 weeks to get here. This week, I got something shipped 2 days ago from the same place in Oregon and it showed up today. I just enjoy the randomness of it immensely.

Posted on November 2, 2001 4:59 PM | | Comments (0)

November 4, 2001
Do it. Now. Make it happen.

I don't think I quite have the patience to become a good web page maker. It can be difficult enough for me to visualize something whole. But I also seem to have little patience for something that takes a while to bear fruit. Indeed, even when doing programming for work, I'm much less motivated when I haven't gotten to the point where the program is actually doing something interesting. Once I've gotten to that point, I'm much more into the debugging of things and adding little features in. But getting there can sometimes take a bit of time. I don't know where this impatience comes from, but I really wish it wasn't there. It seems to have stunted my learning quite a bit.

Posted on November 4, 2001 12:05 PM | | Comments (0)

November 5, 2001

This weekend, I cut out a coupon for soy milk. This is something I never thought I'd do. At one time, the very idea seemed ludicrous to me. But lately I've been starting to wonder if I've got some measure of lactose intolerance. So I'm considering experimenting a little to discover if I can actually bear the taste of these dairy substitutes.

I once had an iron stomach. I could eat anything. The richest foods in the world wouldn't bother me. I could drink milk with an orange juice chaser and it didn't bother me a bit. Sure, whenever a stomach bug hit, I was usually the first to get it and I got it good. But what I ate was never a problem. Some major stresses and anxieties in my mid-teens put an end to that. Eating pizza and wings in college far too often exacerbated the problem. Now we're at the point where, if I eat pretty much anything, there's a very good chance that it'll bother my tummy at least a little bit. So, basically, I'm looking for ways to stop that from happening so much. I may be getting older, but I'm not THAT old yet.

Posted on November 5, 2001 10:13 AM | | Comments (6)

November 6, 2001
Brain work funny

Sometimes I wish I'd taken more psychology classes (actually I wish I'd taken more archaeology classes more than psychology classes, but that's another thing entirely). I'd really love to understand what it is in our brains that makes us so clearly remember our embarassments and mistakes. Or maybe it's just me. Maybe I'm the only one who does that. Or maybe only certain types of people do it. I'm sure it has something to do with the emotions you feel when you're screwing up something. But it's really a pain in the ass to be able to vividly remember making a complete fool of yourself in junior high but not be able to remember hardly anything you've ever done right.

Posted on November 6, 2001 11:34 AM | | Comments (2)

Pretty pretty...

I can't believe how gorgeous the skies are today. They've been utterly blue all day. Not a cloud in the sky. Hopefully it's just as nice this weekend. It'd be nice to get out of the apartment for a while. It's a bit chilly out, but if it's sunny, I don't mind. The peak foliage has already passed us by, but there's still some good fall views out there. I have a roll of film to finish, so it'd be fun to use it on some fall scenery.

Posted on November 6, 2001 4:48 PM | | Comments (0)

8 with one blow...

I got 8 DVDs today. 8. All 6 of the ones that were supposed to come out today actually arrived in the mail today. The 2 others were only a few days late. This is a miracle. Not that I'll get the chance to watch all of them right away, but it's nice to have them.

And the best part was that I won a free cone at Baskin Robbins with my Shrek DVD. Woo! :P

Posted on November 6, 2001 4:50 PM | | Comments (3)

November 10, 2001
Interview me... I dare you...

I somewhat dread going on interviews. I really am a very poor interviewee. I get very uncomfortable and nervous and my brain totally stops functioning. What makes it worse is that I'm naturally shy. It takes a while for me to warm up to people. Just about everyone I know tells me they had no idea I was like what I'm like until they actually talked to me for a while, since it's not like I approach others usually. This is also why I didn't really date in high school.

But anyhow... you don't really have this kind of time in an interview. So I usually come off as quiet, reserved, and somewhat stand-offish. It's been 5 years since I've interviewed anywhere, so maybe I've conquered this a bit, but probably not to the degree that I'd like to.

I'm hoping this will open up a new door for me. I honestly wasn't in love with my job. Sure, I understand the need for software testing, but I just never got into it as much as I felt I should've. There were many times I considered looking for something else. But I really did like the atmosphere and many of the people I worked with. That's something that's harder to find, I think. So hopefully I can find that again, as well as finding a job that I really enjoy doing.

Posted on November 10, 2001 12:45 PM | | Comments (2)

Turning Japanese...

I think I would've made a good Japanese person. I've got the self-deprecation and modesty down. Which is yet another reason I'm bad at interviews. I don't sell myself very well.

I guess I really wouldn't make it on a street corner after all.

Posted on November 10, 2001 2:22 PM | | Comments (1)

November 11, 2001
Sleepy time

One oddity I've noticed. I'm sleeping much better now that I'm unemployed. It really makes no sense. I'm the type of person that gets anxious about this kind of thing. Extremely. Hell, when anyone got fired or there were layoffs before, I always figured I was next and got freaked out about it. For the past few weeks, I'd been sleeping horribly. I'd stare at the ceiling for at least an hour before falling asleep and I'd wake up at least 2 hours before the alarm went off. Now... now I'm falling asleep right away. And sleeping late. When I'm exhausted, I actually sleep. This is weird. Maybe I disliked my job more than I thought.

Posted on November 11, 2001 10:36 PM | | Comments (0)

November 14, 2001
You say it's your birfday...

Happy birfday to me! :) Sarah woke me up with breakfast in bed and had gifts laid out for me on the couch. We lazed around in bed for a while and it's been a pretty quiet day. But that's O.K. I certainly don't mind.

Posted on November 14, 2001 4:23 PM | | Comments (0)

November 27, 2001

Being back in Massachusetts to visit my parents for Thanksgiving reminded me of one thing... the early settlers were entirely uncreative. Practically every town name in Massachusetts is the name of an English town, derived from the name of an English town, or an American Indian word. Surely they could've gotten together and come up with something new.

Posted on November 27, 2001 10:03 AM | | Comments (0)

November 28, 2001
Pray for Mojo...

It may seem like a very silly thing for an unemployed guy to do, but I bought a car yesterday. We went to Carmax looking for a '97 Saturn SL2 that we'd seen online that was about $7500. We've had a good experience with our Saturn, even though Saturn of Sterling really sucks. Unfortunately, that car had already been sold. However, we saw a '00 Saturn LS1 with a sunroof, CD player, and power everything for about $5000 more. It seemed like a good deal, so I put some money down, got a good APR, and bought it. Since Sarah's working so far away and her hours are weird, it didn't seem feasible to keep sharing a car. Unless I found a job right here in Sterling, it just wouldn't work. This will greatly increase my range. It's a risk and it scares me a bit, but I think it'll work out. Pray for me. ;)

Posted on November 28, 2001 8:49 PM | | Comments (3)

November 29, 2001
Gee whillikers, a spoiler!

There were a few oddities in the Carmax experience. As we were originally looking for a specific car, we told the guy what we wanted. Instead of looking for it in the computer or something, we wandered out onto the lot to see if it was still there. We looked all over. Bizarre. The funniest thing, though, was when we were getting in the car for a test drive, the salesman said, "Oh, look! It's got a spoiler!" as if a)this was a complete surprise to him and b)this was the kind of thing that would make us HAVE to buy the car.

Posted on November 29, 2001 11:00 AM | | Comments (0)

November 30, 2001
Bye, George...

As a big Beatles fan, I have to take the time to mourn the passing of George Harrison, the quiet one. Though his death won't shock the world as much as John's murder, it's still a somewhat unexpected and sad occasion. After surviving a knife attack and battling with cancer, George is now gone. Thanks for the music, George...

Posted on November 30, 2001 11:09 AM | | Comments (1)

December 3, 2001
Kitchen Band-Aid

On Saturday, Sarah picked up an early Christmas gift for me. She felt that it was too big to hide and she didn't want to miss out on a good deal she was getting, so she got it for me early. I know this will sound dorky, but it was a KitchenAid Professional 6 Quart Stand Mixer. I've wanted a KitchenAid mixer since I was a teen. Sure, we don't really have room for it in our kitchen with its tiny amount of counter space, but it's nice to have it. I can't wait to make something with it.

Yes, I am a dork.

Since Sarah gave me my big present early, I gave her her biggest present early, as well. A Gameboy Advance with a few games. She loved it, even though she's swearing at Super Mario Advance. :)

Posted on December 3, 2001 4:08 PM | | Comments (2)

December 20, 2001
Christmas in Middle Earth

It's almost Christmas and it doesn't really feel like it. It just hasn't been cold enough and there's been no hint of snow whatsoever. Ah well...

Last night we went to see the first Lord of the Rings movie with a bunch of ex-co-workers. That's the first time I've been to a movie on opening day in a while. It was a good movie, but I couldn't help being disappointed by certain things. The fact that I'd just read the first book for the first time very recently made it difficult for me to not be very aware of omissions and differences. For the most part, though, it was a great movie and the scenery was breathtaking. I really MUST visit New Zealand some day...

Posted on December 20, 2001 9:01 PM | | Comments (1)

December 24, 2001
Patty-cake, patty-cake...

I enjoy cooking. It's one of the few domestic skills I was brought up to learn that I actually do like. Unfortunately, my current kitchen is completely not conducive to cooking. Though we finally have an oven that works, the counter space is lacking. We can't even fit a pan and a mixing bowl on the same counter. So I don't do it very often. It's one of the few things I feel I can do fairly well, though, so I wish I did it more. I meant to do more this Christmas, but things didn't turn out the way I'd planned. Ah well...

Posted on December 24, 2001 11:34 AM | | Comments (0)

January 11, 2002
Dream a little dream or two...

I had some incredibly freaky dreams last night. One of them I can explain, but the other one I really can't.

In the first one, Sarah and I were at a concert. I believe it was a concert for some female singer she likes. I knew who the opening act was and she didn't and I was getting really excited about it and she was confused. Then the curtains opened and the lights started coming out and I shouted out "P.E.!" and Sarah looked completely baffled. Turns out Public Enemy was opening for whoever it was. A complete mismatch. Now, this one I can explain because I'd just been reading reviews of the Public Enemy Live at the House of Blues DVD and considering getting it.

The other one, though, was a bit stranger. There was this girl who was apparently my step-sister. Apparently, we were both attracted to each other, but I didn't know she was until later in the dream. But both of us thought it was extremely weird because we were both related to each other now. So it was sort of a Brady Bunch/Marmalade Boy kind of thing. Lord knows where that dream came from, though.

Posted on January 11, 2002 9:04 AM | | Comments (0)

January 15, 2002

When I was in college, my roommate had a strange wish. He wanted to be shot. Not fatally, mind you. He just wanted to know what it felt like to get shot. For some reason, I was thinking about this the other day and I remember back then thinking it wasn't too peculiar. Right.

Posted on January 15, 2002 9:57 AM | | Comments (1)

February 4, 2002
"New England... the Patriots and we..."

Wow. Apparently the Patriots won the Super Bowl. I didn't watch a bit of the game at all, but I'm shocked. It's nice to know they won one. I remember back in 1986 when they were in the Super Bowl against the Bears. There was so much hype for it back then. They even had that silly "New England, the Patriots, and We" song... and a video to go with it, if I remember correctly. Even I watched the game then. Or at least half of the game. After the first half, I think we all gave up on the Pats.

But anyhow... this is redemption somehow, I'm sure.

Posted on February 4, 2002 9:06 AM | | Comments (1)

February 9, 2002
It's only a flesh wound...

I'm not dead yet!

Just nothing really going on to talk about. One happy thing. Just by filling out a survey, I won a free software title. Yippee! Unfortunately, the only good ones on the list were ones I already had. So I just picked one I thought I could sell for decent money and settled for that.

Oh. And I also did my taxes. Though I owe the state $43, I'm getting over $1800 back from the feds, so I'll last a bit longer with this unemployment thang, at least. This is a good thing.

Posted on February 9, 2002 12:41 PM | | Comments (1)

March 14, 2002
Accident on I-66! Film at 11

Something different to report! I actually got into my first real car accident today. I guess I was in the car for one other accident, but it was fairly minor. And this time, I was behind the wheel. The fog this morning was dense and I figured I was home free without incident once I got on 66 and was just about to 123. The fog had burned off and it was looking like a gorgeous day was starting. The car in front of me braked pretty hard, so I eased on mine. I saw the pickup coming fast in my rearview mirror. But I guess my brain froze and I didn't think to try to swerve off into the break-down lane. Probably for the best, since he probably would've sideswiped me if I'd tried, as I was braking and probably didn't have the speed to get out of the way. Nobody was hurt, though, and the car only received superficial bumper damage. He was nice about it and gave me his business card and all. No reason to get insurance companies involved when it's just paint scratches. He said he'd just glanced down to get his coffee. Ah well. I'll be getting the car looked at tomorrow morning. Kind of shook me up, really, and it hurt my back a bit. But, amazingly, my CD didn't skip a bit, so I guess I can feel good about that. :)

Posted on March 14, 2002 9:42 PM | | Comments (1)

April 2, 2002
Nothing to report, sir...

Jeez. I haven't said a thing in far too long. Not that I have much interesting to say, but anyhow...

I decided to take the job at the school. I dropped off the contract yesterday. I really hope everything works out and that I enjoy the job. It won't start until the beginning of July, so I have to hold out until then, but I should be O.K.

Nuffin' else goin' on at the moment...

Posted on April 2, 2002 10:38 PM | | Comments (1)

April 6, 2002
Oh oh, teacher...

It's been a bit odd for me working at the school. In college, we all called the professors by their first names, so it's not like it'd be odd for me to call a teacher by their first name. But being thrust into the elementary/middle school environment again, I find it nearly impossible to get myself to call any of the teachers there by their first name, even when referring to them to other people. We're all adults here and some of them look like they're younger than I am. Strange what the mind can do.

Of course, it's entirely possible that I have a teacher fetish of some kind and I want them to teach me a lesson, but that doesn't seem too likely.

Posted on April 6, 2002 6:14 PM | | Comments (0)

April 21, 2002
Phat or no phat...

Sorry I've been among the missing lately. I've been busy, tired, and/or feeling ill lately, so I haven't really felt like saying much. I think the sudden heat really took its toll on me. I don't handle heat very well and it came upon us rather suddenly. But things seem to be cooling off now.

Sarah recently got an ancient Thinkpad 750C. A 486 with a tiny hard drive and an apparently not-quite-functioning CD-ROM drive. I've been struggling to get a wireless network card to work in the thing with no luck so far and I can't quite figure out why. Probably just too old to handle today's PCMCIA cards, though all specs say it should. Ah well. Frustration abounds.

According to our scale, I've lost 35 pounds since the last time I went to the doctor. Granted, that was a year ago or so, but it's rare for me to lose any weight, really. Frankly, I think the scale's lying to me. Maybe it wants to borrow the car.

Posted on April 21, 2002 1:45 AM | | Comments (0)

April 22, 2002
I feel pretty.

I feel pretty.

I actually managed to get that old Thinkpad onto the network. I'm stunned. My problems were completely wiped out by re-installing Windows 95 after someone let me borrow the floppies. A few other tweaks fixed my TCP/IP problems and suddenly, miraculously, it all worked. So now I've got a 486 with 20 megs of RAM and a 320 MB hard drive on a wireless network running Windows 95 with IE 5.01. I'm just shocked this thing actually works.

And it was a free machine. :)

Posted on April 22, 2002 9:44 PM | | Comments (2)

May 23, 2002
There can be no light without darkness...

Last night, I watched Legend, one of my all-time favorite fantasy movies which finally came out on DVD. I watched the director's cut, which not only had extra footage but also had the Jerry Goldsmith score that the UK version has had for all these years. I'd never gotten a chance to hear it at all, so it was great finally getting to hear it. It was also cool seeing some of the extra footage. I honestly don't get why most of it was cut, really. What was cut really doesn't make sense, though I know he was trying to shorten it, so I guess the inconsequential stuff had to go. But I think keeping it in definitely made the film flow better. There were bits that seemed completely choppy before that worked much better in the director's cut.

As for the score... well... I've seen the US version so many times with the Tangerine Dream score. I think part of the reason I liked the movie so much was the score. It was different and innovative. The Goldsmith score is great, but it's your standard classical fantasy score. The Tangerine Dream stuff was so different. And it actually fit very well, I thought. It's interesting to see and hear the choices the different composers made. There are scenes where an entirely different mood is being created with the music and it's amazing how both seem to fit the scene for entirely different reasons. It's interesting to see which aspect of the scene each score tries to play up.

I'm probably biased about the Tangerine Dream score. But I like it a lot and I honestly thought it worked extremely well and was something different and new for a fantasy film. Very ethereal and magical but still electronic. It'll be difficult to get me to stop thinking of that score when I'm watching the director's cut. Luckily, the US version is on the other disc.

All in all, I like both versions. I'm sorry the thing ever got cut, since it really shouldn't have been, but I'm glad that led to the creation of the alternate score, because I think it's an impressive piece of music. More impressive is the fact that they scored the thing in 3 weeks.

I'm just happy it came out on DVD at last. I was starting to think it'd never come.

Posted on May 23, 2002 11:25 AM | | Comments (0)

August 1, 2002

Time again for a little self-indulgence where I publicly babble about what's going on in my head. But hey... it's a blog and it's barely read, so everything's fine.

When I first read this article, I was a bit concerned. Parts of it sounded far too much like me. But we, as a society, too often tend to try to make the symptoms fit the illness instead of the other way around. There are things in there that sound like me (having a hard time staying focused while I'm reading, having a hard time paying attention while people are talking to me, needing new things often, poor organizational skills), but there are a lot of things there that sound nothing like me at all (hyperactivity, performing poorly at school, having a bad memory). And I can come up with various other explanations for such problems. I try to think back to when I was a kid to see if I can remember ever being like this. I was always great at school until I hit high school and things fell off a bit, but I still managed to end up 13th out of around 250 in my class. When I was really little, I was always in the advanced reading sections, but I also remember taking all day to read The Neverending Story when I was in the 4th or 5th grade.

I do wish it was so simple that you could just stick a name on it and it'd solve everything. My adult life has been a muddle with repeated failed attempts at learning new things and starting new hobbies.

Maybe I should see somebody about this stuff. Or maybe all of you should.

Posted on August 1, 2002 9:42 AM | | Comments (2)

August 17, 2002
Everything's O.K. now... yeah...

Well. That was fun.

Sorry I've been out of it these past couple weeks. After getting Windows 2000 installed and finally getting all the kinks worked out, I decided to get a new hard drive, since mine was getting fairly full. So I saw that Best Buy was having a $110 mail-in rebate offer with Western Digital's 7200rpm 120 gig drive. Looked like a good deal, so I bought it.

It takes a long time to copy 30 gigs worth of stuff.

During the process of installing the new drive and making the old slave become the new master, I noticed that the two 7200rpm drives were extremely hot. Like I felt my fingers burning when I was taking them out. This didn't seem good. Since my old case didn't really have wonderful air flow (though it was decent if I figured out how to get a couple fans into the fan slots) and it didn't really have a good way to cool the drives, I decided to get a more modern case. I opted for the Antec SX635, a pretty sweet little mid-tower with a 350W power supply, a built-in rear fan, and two optional fans, one of which blew air right across the hard drives. So I bought the extra fans and everything went pretty smoothly. The case seems a lot cooler now and I think the drives will be much happier.

So... now I'm back, hopefully. Next week at school should be interesting as we try to get everything set up for the start of school on the 27th. It'll be a busy busy week, I can tell...

Posted on August 17, 2002 12:02 PM | | Comments (0)

September 4, 2002

I have to admit... I like Netscape 7. I know there are probably better browsers out there, but I've always been a Netscape kid. The new one's a definite improvement over 6. We'll see if there are any annoying bugs that'll drive me away.

Go, Netscape, go!

Posted on September 4, 2002 10:05 PM | | Comments (6)

October 2, 2002
Glove... lovely glove...

I can't remember what I was thinking about this morning, but an odd question drifted into my head. Why hasn't someone come up with a more modern name for the glove compartment? Hardly anyone wears driving gloves these days. So the name isn't really descriptive of what we store in there. It's not like I think the names of things should be changed when they become outdated. I'm just surprised when they aren't, especially in something like a car where they seem to come up with some fancy name for any little feature to make it sound like a cool technological marvel, even if it's just a cup holder. Glove compartment doesn't really cut it.

Posted on October 2, 2002 8:31 AM | | Comments (2)

October 8, 2002
Fall on me...

Yum. It was nice and chilly this morning. You could even say it was crisp. Fall is finally here. Happiness.

Posted on October 8, 2002 11:09 AM | | Comments (1)

November 7, 2002

Well, my novel's coming along very slowly. I was pretty good about keeping up with my daily goal until I got sick on Monday. Since then, I've been pretty bad about staying with it. I'm up around 3700 words now when I should be at 10,000 or so. It's a bit of a relief to see others struggling just as much, though. It gives me some faith that I can recover. Or that we're all screwed.

This is actually probably the longest story I've ever written. I've always had a problem with length. There are usually a set amount of things I want to happen in a story and I have trouble filling in the rest of it, so the story ends up being 2 or 3 pages long. Even if I stopped now, it'd be something of an achievement.

But I won't. I'm sort of stuck at the moment because I'm going into a dialogue-heavy section and dialogue's always been my weak point. But I'll plod on. I think my difficulty with this task is that I keep trying to think it has to be good. But it just has to be done. It's not like anyone can write an exceptional novel in a month. I'm trying not to look back at what I've written so far too much, since I'm sure most of it will bug me. I only look back so I remember character's names, pretty much.

I may put what I've done so far up here at some point. Maybe.

Posted on November 7, 2002 9:46 AM | | Comments (2)

November 14, 2002
28 and counting...

It was 28 years ago today that I came to Earth, my children. Rejoice! My arrival marked the coming of a new age.

For me, at least.

Posted on November 14, 2002 1:21 PM | | Comments (1)

November 19, 2002
Updation nation

Just some quickies.

There's pretty much no way I'm going to be able to finish the novel. I'm only at a little over 10,000 words and there's not much time left and Thanksgiving will eat into that a great deal. I tried but I hit too many mental roadblocks and I just don't have the time. I don't get home from my Japanese class until around 10 on Mondays, which didn't help. Sarah, on the other hand, has over 30,000 words and I think she'll be able to make it if she keeps at it.

Only two more Japanese classes left. Then there's a bit of a break and the next class starts up if I decide to take it. I think I will. I'm enjoying it quite a bit.

My mom got me Bowie's The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars for my birfday and I just love it. I'd heard most of the songs on there before, whether on the radio or on the Bowie at the Beeb collection, but it was nice to hear the whole album together. The remastering made it sound real nice, too.

Be excellent to each other.

Posted on November 19, 2002 8:50 AM | | Comments (1)

January 23, 2003
Show me the interest!

I've finally taken my financial future into my own hands. Sorta. I was offered a fairly low interest personal loan, so I took it. The rate was only slightly better than my lowest interest rate credit card, it's probably the best rate I'll get without being a homeowner. But it's the psychological aspect of it that'll help in the long run.

Using credit cards only in the most dire of emergencies and knowing exactly when I'll be out of debt finally will be a good thing. Credit card debt is the most evil thing in the universe and it's been haunting me for over 10 years now. Having to wait another 5 years is a pain, but... at least now I know it'll be over soon.

Posted on January 23, 2003 1:28 PM | | Comments (1)

January 29, 2003
Look! Up in the sky... sorta.

Hrmmm... I hope this isn't a sign of bad things to come with Smallville. I'm hoping that it's just a little dip and things will get back to the usual goodness soon. But last night's episode was pretty horrible and next week's doesn't look much better.

Last week's episode was great. Lots of character development and "big picture" plot development. Some great dialogue, too. So maybe I was expecting too much. The plot in this week's episode was pretty thin. Even I figured out who probably shot Lionel right away. And the dialogue was pretty lousy. Not that Smallville's dialogue is always wonderful, but this was often predictable and even cornier than the corniest it's ever been. The only really high points of this episode were seeing Lex and Clark go at it and seeing losing his temper, something he'll eventually need to learn to control.

As for next week's episode... well... it'll be nice for Pete and Chloe to get some serious screen time again, since they've been pretty absent lately. But the original red kryptonite episode JUST happened. And they're going to reuse it already? Is this because Lana and Clark were getting along together TOO well and they needed to shake things up again? They could've thought of something a bit better than a retread. Jeez.

What little I've heard of the following week's episode sounds promising, at least, with Lex searching for Lionel's illegitimate son and all that.

Posted on January 29, 2003 3:55 PM | | Comments (2)

February 26, 2003
Well... it's not THAT small...

Wow. Last night's Smallville was easily the best episode of the season, if not of the show. And I went into it not really expecting much. I had no idea just how much plot they'd jam into this one episode. There was SO much going on, but it never once felt overwhelming. They were even able to include a minor subplot on top of all of the good stuff.

A few weeks ago, I was lamenting the current state of Smallville and worrying about where it was going. But the past couple of episodes, especially this one, have been outstanding.

When the first hints of the Superman movie music started playing, I felt a little giddy. When it came out full bore, it was almost chilling. Great use of music in the scene between Clark and Dr. Swann.

Excellent excellent episode.

Oh. And I get out early today because of the snow. Mwah.

Posted on February 26, 2003 11:28 AM | | Comments (0)

March 11, 2003
Oh baby...

My dream vacation. And, given the state of my finances, it'll probably forever remain a dream. :P Along with my other dream vacations. :)

Maybe I should make some different dream vacations. Like one to Maryland or Delaware.


Posted on March 11, 2003 9:50 AM | | Comments (0)

April 25, 2003
Sign at the X

Next Friday, X-Men 2 opens. Awww yeah... Looks like it's going to be awesome, too. Though the first X-Men movie was good, there were still some weak bits and there was too much character introduction stuff weighing things down. Now we can get into some real action and hopefully some decent character development.

I keep reading about people who want the Phoenix to show up in an X-Men movie at some point. I personally don't feel it's that great an idea. The Phoenix concept worked so well because you had a real history with these characters. And there was a lot of time to work with it. The build-up began many many issues before the whole Dark Phoenix thing. I just don't see any way of doing the story justice, even if you changed the way things happened. Even if they started injecting the build-up to it now and didn't get to it until, like, X-Men 6 or whatever... I just don't see it working.

Ah well... I haven't read X-Men in years anyhow. I know it's not the same now. Sometimes I get interested, but I spend too much on comics as it is. :P

Posted on April 25, 2003 12:31 PM | | Comments (0)

June 18, 2003
No sugah

Ever since I was told I had to stop eating sugar, I've discovered that the world of sugar free has come a LONG way. I've got a massive sweet tooth, so it was a major blow to me to discover I wasn't supposed to have it. Though I haven't been totally strict, I've cut WAY back. No more soda. Lots more water. Cookies and other sweets very rarely.

The thing is... stuff without sugar tastes a lot better these days. Even the no sugar added ice cream from Breyers is quite good. And Crystal Light isn't as bad as I thought. Even Minute Maid Light is good. And the best thing is... most of these products are also lower in fat and cholesterol, which is another thing I'm supposed to be dealing with. I'm down below 200 pounds for the first time in a VERY long time.

I'm just shocked that there's actually good sugar free stuff out there. I never imagined you could do a good butter pecan ice cream without sugar, but... you can. It's yummy. Come over and eat some.

Posted on June 18, 2003 3:18 PM | | Comments (3)

July 6, 2003
Digi digi coo

I'm sort of on the lookout for a digital camera. I've decided to drag myself into the 21st century a bit. I can't really afford one, but it'd be nice to finally have one. I don't have overly much to take pictures of, but that's never stopped me before. Actually, Sarah and I are going on a little trip at the end of July and we figured it'd be nice to have it then. Also... I've had an interest in photography for quite some time. I never got especially good at it (though my family was always amused at my many shots of the water flowing in the kitchen sink). Part of that was cost. It was hard to practice when developing cost so much and I wasn't really taking pictures of anything of any note. So I'm hoping that maybe having a digital camera will help immensely. But we'll see.

I've mostly decided on the Canon Powershot A70, though a convincing argument could make me change my mind. It's a decently priced camera, has quite a lot of manual features, and it produces a good picture. It's really out of my price range, but... if I want to get one, I want to get a decent one that'll last. Hopefully this will fit the bill.

Posted on July 6, 2003 2:00 AM | | Comments (1)

August 9, 2003
100 Degrees

Sorry to anyone I haven't been good at e-mailing or calling (like my parents). I've been sick since Monday night. And, stupidly, going to work half of the days since. My temperature has fluctuated between normal and 100 degrees. I'm mostly back to normal now, but not quite. It's definitely been fun.

Posted on August 9, 2003 9:55 PM | | Comments (0)

November 14, 2003
Gray, grayer, grayest.

On this day, back in 1974, I was born.

I may not be older than Christ, but I'm older than Ryan, that whippersnapper.

However, I'm obviously not too old that I'm going to bed at 8pm or anything.

Innocence Mission show tonight at Jammin' Java. From what I've heard of the shows on this tour, it should be awesome. I hope they're signing, so I can get them to sign my copy of Glow.

Posted on November 14, 2003 12:18 AM | | Comments (1)

February 9, 2004
What's Goin' On

Life's been going pretty well lately. Over the last couple weeks, we've had 5 snow days, two delayed openings, and I had a sick day. The teachers may be unhappy about all the missed class time, but I'm lovin' it.

I've been feeling rather yucky for the past couple weeks, though. This cold just won't go away. It's just sticking around in my head. At least my sore throat's gone, but I feel like someone's blowing up a balloon in my head.

Yes. I know the MP3 of the Week hasn't been updated since November. I just haven't felt like doing it for some reason. Hopefully I can get back into the swing of things soon.

Sarah and I are looking to rent a townhouse. We're just outgrowing the apartment. Can't really afford it, but it's probably time. So... if you have a townhouse for rent in Fairfax or the surrounding counties, let me know.

Posted on February 9, 2004 10:38 AM | | Comments (0)

March 1, 2004
Instant relatives!

On Sunday, since the weather was so incredibly nice, Sarah and I went driving. Our destination was Gambrill State Park, which was mentioned on Ryan's page a while back. We were basically looking for somewhere with a relatively easy hike but some nice scenery, since we're both rather out of shape. The trails were muddy and had a surprising amount of snow and ice on them. But it was still fun to get outdoors and enjoy the lovely day. Pictures will be coming eventually.

Along the way, we stopped in at a little antique place on 15. Upstairs in a little basket was a group of photos with the sign "Instant Relatives!" 25 cents a photo". The price had been $1 a photo, so this was a pretty good markdown. Anyhow... I don't know why I like this stuff, but I get a kick out of finding old photos, letters, and postcards. With letters and postcards, the subject matter isn't always as important. It's just interesting to see different colloquialisms and things like that.

I bought about 12 pictures, all from the 30's and 40's. A lot of them were focused on one particular family and I got three pictures containing three generations of Thomas F. Gibsons. The pictures are great, though I wish you could see more of the background in some of them. One of the ones from the 30s has an old car in it, but you can't see too much of it. Still... it's a really cool and fairly cheap thing to collect. I don't tend to go out of my way to find this stuff, but if I see it, I usually get some. I can imagine this becoming a rabid hobby if I allowed it to get out of control.

Posted on March 1, 2004 12:10 PM | | Comments (0)

March 30, 2004
A summing up

So. Yeah. Haven't posted in quite a while. I guess my life hasn't been especially interesting. Not that it usually is, but most of the time I can come up with SOMEthing. I guess I just haven't felt like it. Ah well. So... here's what's been going on.

I have some pictures to post eventually. I'll get to it, I promise.

My CD-RW drive died last week. Or maybe some time before that. But when I tried to use it, it just kept clicking loudly at me. No amount of cleaning would fix it. I decided to just replace it and maybe look at fixing it later, if it's possible. So I ordered a Lite-On 451S DVD writer from Newegg and it's been great. One of the quietest drives I've ever had and it's done great at writing both CD-Rs and DVD-Rs. No coasters yet!

The Freaks and Geeks super ultra amazing DVD set showed up today. It's very cool and I look forward to going through the yearbook and watching the episodes. I totally missed out on the show when it was on, so this'll be a treat.

Might be hitting the Sakura Matsuri this weekend if the weather's O.K. We'll see. I've never managed to make it there either because of other stuff going on or rain. So we'll see if my bad luck holds out.

I'm on my second week of spring break. It's been nice having a vacation. Didn't really DO anything with it, but that's O.K. It feels nice to just have some time off.

Ah well. I think that's about it. See? Very little going on.

Posted on March 30, 2004 9:39 PM | | Comments (0)

June 17, 2004

Back when I was a lad, I was rather good in school. Geekily, nerdily so. I was concerned when I got B's. I remember when my 5th grade teacher was all worried when I got a C in math, but I managed to get a grip on long division and pulled myself out of that one. Even when the apathy hit and I started not caring so much about school during high school, I was still pulling decent grades and I managed to finish 13th in my class. In college, it was about the same.

But now school kinda scares me because I feel like I've gotten dumber and have really lost some of my capacity to learn. There are a lot of things I feel like I have a hard time "getting". And taking Japanese hasn't helped dissuade me from that notion one bit. I really am not very good at languages. Trying to remember all the grammar rules and vocabulary and kanji is really difficult for me.

But there are times when I feel like I'd like to go back to school for SOMEthing. I'm not sure what, but I feel like there's something out there I want to know everything about. I just have to find out what it is. I have to get that verve for learning back and find some way for learning to be fun instead of frustrating. It's just not fun when your brain hurts.

Posted on June 17, 2004 11:32 AM | | Comments (0)

August 9, 2004

Well, hey there! I haven't been ignoring this blog too much, have I? Of course not!

The move is going slowly. Slowly slowly. But it's going and we still have almost a month left anyhow. I'm trying not to freak out, though I feel like freaking out. I don't know why. I know we can get it all done, especially since I have an entire week off next week. But part of me just sees all the stuff we have and thinks it'll never happen. It's not like we're moving across the country, though. We're moving about 15 minutes away.

I was hoping to have a nice computer/game room, but I'm starting to think it won't happen. I have my computer over there now. And my CDs. And a storage unit for half of the DVDs is arriving at the end of this week. But the more I look at it and try to mentally place everything into this room, I don't see any way possible of getting everything in there. So I think the TV idea may have to go and the gaming systems will have to go downstairs and I'll have to buy one of those wireless bridges. We'll see, though. Maybe my brain just isn't capable of picturing it in a way that'll fit everything.

So the move goes on and on. And I get next week off. And work has been slow slow. And this weekend we're going to Ohio to visit Sarah's family for her cousin's baby's first birthday. We're not staying with her grandparents this time, though, but in a nice hotel, so it'll be a bit of a mini-vacation for us before we have to REALLY dig in with the move and the school year starts again.

The weather's been beautiful lately. Too bad we've both been too busy to really take advantage of it. Ah well.

Keep the comment spam coming. I just love it.

Posted on August 9, 2004 11:03 AM | | Comments (0)

September 23, 2004

Well... I've upgraded to MT 3.11 and it looks like everything's going well. I still have to tweak some stuff and the registered comments using TypeKey isn't quite working right (some Perl issue), but I like how it's stopped the comment spam very much.

Sarah and I are all moved into our new townhouse. We're still in boxes, especially because we want to make sure the mice are gone, but we should hopefully get out of those soon. We can only hope!

We now have two cats. The male is a cream-ish/orange-ish domestic long hair named Sebastian and the female is a brown-ish/black-ish tabby domestic short hair named Tigger. Since Tigger's not really a female name and it doesn't suit her at all, we're trying to change the name to Audrey (after Hepburn, since she's a rather classy kitty).

Other than that, work's just been extremely busy, so I've been bad with e-mail, phone calls, blogging, etc. Hopefully things will calm down soon and I'll feel rested again. Until then... I'll tweak the MT templates until they work right on both blogs and probably leave this space pretty blank. :P

Posted on September 23, 2004 2:47 PM | | Comments (0)

November 5, 2004
"I am 16 going on 17..."

O.K. I'm not really. I'm 29 going on 30. In about a week and a half. So there.

I'm actually not all that concerned about turning 30. I think any concern comes from the fact that EVERYone dreads turning 30, so I'm just bowing to peer pressure a little bit by talking it up. I doubt 30 will be all that different from 29. I'll keep aging. My hairline will keep receding. All that stuff. I'm not one of those people that had all these things I wanted to do before I hit 30. Though I've been told not having any goals is part of my problem.

Hopefully some time soon, though, I'll actually write stuff in this blog. But for now, this is it...

Posted on November 5, 2004 1:41 PM | | Comments (0)