Sep 30, 2003

I enjoyed the first Max Payne enough to complete it twice (which is quite the rarity nowadays), so I've had some interest in Max Payne 2. From the screenshots that were released early on in the development cycle, I wasn't too excited. Now, gameplay videos are available and they have definitely changed my tune. It's like they took all of the good aspects of the original game and improved upon them. Bullet time looks cool and useful, unlike in the first game where it was a necessary evil. Another thing I just noticed is that the object physics seem to be even better than the UT2K3 engine!

Sep 29, 2003

Someone recently asked me to suggest a digital camera to these specifications:

  • Small/compact
  • Expandable memory (at least up to 512 MB)
  • 3x optical zoom
  • 4 megapixels

My suggestion turned out to be for the Canon PowerShot S400. After looking around for cameras, I realized that the S400 is smaller and has better resolution than my S30 and costs the same price new. Silly technology improvements.

While whale watching, I encountered the only problem I have with my camera: weak optical zoom. Considering that the optical zoom on my S30 is only 3x and very few consumer-level digital cameras offer anything greater, I think I will have to stick with it for now.

Sep 26, 2003

This is, officially, the world's ugliest phone.

Sep 25, 2003

Holy cow crap in a bag; I've added more photos!

So great. If I ever get a nice car and an office where I can see said car parked (RE: not going to happen here since I park in the underground lot), I might just print some of these out if a crap car parks next to me. Seems like the jerk thing to do; seems fitting for me.

Sep 17, 2003

If you need a quiet CPU fan for an Athlon: Thermaltake Silent Boost.

Sep 16, 2003

Worst Jobs In Science: "I was a teenage stool-sample analyzer. Well, not me, but my old roommate was. He thought this type of job would help him get into med school (it didn't). His biggest complaint was people who turned in tightly-sealed (naturally) peanut-butter jars packed full of the stuff, which would (naturally) decompose producing gas, causing a literal shit-storm when opened. He only needed about a teaspoon-full to do the analysis. "

I'm a healthy motherfucker. I stepped on the scale a couple of days ago and I'm now pushing 195 pounds. I was 192 pounds last week so those three pounds are driving me nuts! I'm working out a lot and definitely gaining muscle mass, but my fat levels are not decreasing. I should add more cardio to my work out.

Sep 15, 2003

So true!

The site seems to be operating at 100% efficiency again! I'm not exactly sure what caused the slowdown, but my suggestion to my website admin is what caused the latest problems (eg gallery was broken)! I noticed that the log files for apache were reaching sizes larger than 1.3 GB, so I suggested rotating the logs. When apache was restarted, it was mistakenly restarted in chroot mode (a security feature that we don't really need) and that broke just about everything. My home dir website was down, gallery was down, etc. Another quick email and things are back up again!

Sep 8, 2003

It seems that my website isn't responding for some of you. For me, it just takes awhile to load. Odd, posting about everyone not being able to see my posts...

Sep 5, 2003

It’s your birthday. Someone gives you a calfskin wallet. How do you react?: Questions asked of San Fransisco mayoral candidates taken from Do Android Dream of Electric Sheep. Beautiful! The questions make more sense in the book than the movie because of the greater explanation of how a human should/could react to the questions and what a replicant would do instead.

Motorola picks an operating system : "If Motorola is launching something, it ought to suggest that the software has passed the technical hurdles." Hell yeah our software has passed the technical hurdles. Just wait until you use a Smartphone; you will be hooked!

Sep 2, 2003

So, the trip to New York City… my first time, actually. I’ve been to a few large metropolises before: Detroit, San Francisco, Atlanta, Boston, Seattle, Orlando and Toronto to name them all. NYC is completely different from all of them and it starts with the ambiance.

Starting out in Times Square had to affect my perception dramatically, though. The overall feeling that spewed from the city wasn’t the common perception of impatience, snobbery or discourteousness, but one of surging energy. As Leah said, there is just so much to the city given that there are so many different sectors, each with its own life force. Time Square was bursting with this power because of the sheer vivacity (tactless extravagance) and curiosity (aimless tourists).

We also visited the rest of midtown, much of the upper East and West sides, downtown and even touched some of the NYU campus. Blast to the fact that I didn’t have my camera that night: there is a cube almost identical to the one on the UMich campus! The only difference is that theirs didn’t spin. As Leah and I noticed it and walked near, someone hopped out of the car at a red light. He scampered over the cube and tried to give it a push. He hopped back into his car and then gestured to his passenger that he knew of a cube that rotated. I yelled to him “The one in Ann Arbor spins, eh?” and he looked back, slightly bewildered and replied in the affirmative.

Since Leah had just turned twenty one the previous week, we hit a few bars during the trip. She had received a few suggestions from coworkers and with the power of Pocket Streets on my Pocket PC, we hunted them down. First problem: one of the bars was called Bowery. When I pulled a “Find Place…”, it found Bowery alright. It wasn’t until we were in the heart of Chinatown with no one around that I realized that it found a street called Bowery and had simply shown me the centermost location on that street. We used the Pocket PC to locate the nearest bar she had been recommended, headed in that direction, but ended up going to the closest bar we saw. It was called Pioneer and wasn’t too bad of a place.

It was only 11:30 PM and while the bars in Ann Arbor or Seattle would be full at that time, NYC bars are open until 4 AM and don’t seem to swell until 1:30 AM. There were about 25-35 people inside total, but you couldn’t tell by the noise level. The DJ was blaring a mix of old and new dance (pop mostly) though no one was dancing and everyone had to yell over the music to hear each other. Nonetheless, we had fun. A few (expensive) drinks later, our tongues were looser and we both learned something. Though I paid $7 for a shot, that wasn’t anywhere near as bad as $26 for a Woo Woo (vodka, peach schnapps and cranberry juice) and a Cosmopolitan when we saw Cabaret!

Cabaret was the first show we saw, but it did pale in comparison to Long Day’s Journey into the Night. Jon Secada as the MC? He can sing, but he cannot dance or act. The actress that played Sally (Melinda Karakaredes (sp?)) did more than an admirable job. I had seen the 1972 version of Cabaret with Liza Minelli, but I do believe that I fell asleep through part of it. I could follow the story well since I had seen the movie, even if I couldn’t understand some of the lyrics of some of the songs.

Long Day’s Journey into the Night was our first idea for the trip. It was closing weekend, Leah had heard nothing but good reviews and it had Brian Dennehey *and* Philip Seymour Hoffman! Even though those seem like bigger names to me, it was Vanessa Redgrave that stole the show. She had a much more difficult role to play and she absolutely sold it. It was a character piece, and thus I was a huge fan. Hoffman’s role seemed small and insignificant at first, but then the final scene changed all of that. Read the book or watch the movie to see what I mean.

The three museums we hit (Met, Whitney and Guggenheim) simply reinforced my ideas about art. If it does not show technical ability or is not visually appealing (very subjective), then it’s worthless. I still dislike watercolors and most modern art, still like primary colors, pale orange and brown against white and silver, Mondrian and Rotko, Meiji period Japanese art, geometric abstraction and period fusion (example: an series of WWII-style Japanese bombers in the shape of an infinity symbol over a burning current-day mid Manhattan done in the style of Edo period Japanese room screens using mother-of-pearl inlay and gold). I probably spent more time in museums in the past four days than I have in the past 10 years combined. No complaints.

Well, that’s it. Pictures to come.