Wednesday, December 31, 2008

new year's video?

Someone was watching this at work, and to me, it evokes a combination of admiration and WTF!!?!

2 very different games

My brother was kind enough to send me "Cooking Mama" for Wii. Got to play through it a bit. Had tried the Nintendo DS version of the game before so I knew what to expect. But certainly more fun on the Wii with the Wii-mote. Gimicky; novelty will probably wear off.

But Marsha thinks it's cute and I'm ostensibly learning something about cooking.

I also picked up a game for myself. Steam is still offering Left 4 Dead for 25% off, which seems a reasonable deal as the game is still fairly new. The deal only lasts until January 2, 2009.

Played through the first level of the single-player game. Pretty fun...I'm looking forward to trying the online play. We'll see if it holds my attention as long as Team Fortress 2 has (and still does, on the few times that I can really give to online gaming).

Not that I intend on spending that much time playing video games this year...but resolutions and whatnot will be a different blog post.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Dad's Birfday

Went well; I think he was happy.

Another lazy-ish morning; left-overs for lunch, trip to the art museum during the afternoon.

Picked up Pizza ingredients at Cosetta's; then went and had Italian food in Wisconsin for dinner. Spotted Cow beer is awesome.

Dad was happy; we came home & then looked through quite a few of the old slide carousels he had - interesting seeing the shots of my parents college days in the 70s & their wedding...I don't think I had seen all of them before.

Stayed up later than I thought we would doing this, but mostly pleasant.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

plesantish holiday thusfar

Survived church.

The priest, although apparently quite academic, sounded like a robot every time he read something out loud...each syllable was very distinct, if not natural.

Dinner and drinks with the family. Traditional Ukrainian Borscht and Perogies.

More drinks and a round of spinner. Fun game.

It's late and I'm ripping cds onto a portable hard drive...had a lot of cds from my high school days and I guess I'd like more of them on MP3. Too heavy and awkward to bring all that plastic over to Washington.

I'm excited for Christmas morning, but this is the first time (ever?) where I'm more excited about how my parents will like the gifts I got for them rather than the stuff I'm hoping to receive. I know I should have had this epiphany at an earlier age, but the past MANY christmases post-college for me have all been abroad and away from this is different.

going to church for christmas

I suppose it might look bad if I'm playing with a Nintendo DS throughout the proceedings?

(I think I already know the answer here, but I'm hoping someone can come up with an amazing rationalization that somehow has escaped me...I've been trying though...)

Monday, December 22, 2008

more travel infoz

So our Monday morning flight (already rescheduled) got canceled; luckily Northwest airlines ended up getting two spare 747s over to help clean up the mess of stranded Seattle travelers from this; we got on a flight that was supposed to leave at 2pm.

2 hours of delays later, we finally took off...

Then, once touching down in -2 degree weather in MN, the gate we landed at did not have an operator so we were stuck in the plane for an extra 20 minutes until that got resolved.

Happy to be out of the plane & at home with the family now.

Big thanks to the NW airlines flight crew that opted to do a little extra work and help people rather than start their vacations early.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

snowed in....again

Was supposed to fly out to Minnesota today.

However, the weather was not cooperative. Flight cancelled. :(

So, our parking lot looks like a christmas card - would rather be hanging out with friends and family, but I guess if I have to settle, then a picturesque, if not driver-friendly, outdoors at home in our warm-ish apartment with our cats isn't too bad.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

chinese truck driver obstructing police

Nice work here:

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

No big complaints yet

Work went well today. Later had happy hour  & pizza with some co-workers.

Can't complain too much about that.

Had sangria & watched yesterday's heroes with the wife.

Pretty solid evening as far as a weeknight post-work goes...can't be staying out & up late *every* day.

Monday, December 15, 2008


I miss Macau.
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teh alkoholik cat


Still my baby...she's very smart, knows how to play us off one another - as soon as she hears us pull a bottle out of the refrigerator, she's there, and after she confirms that it is, in fact, a bottle that she'd be interested in, then she bounds over to the couch.

As I pour wine into glasses for both the wife and I, the cat will first be in one of our laps, imploring us to give her a taste of alchohol. After one of us says "no more", then the cat jumps over to the other one to get her fill.

Repeat until everyone is happy. Smart, smart cat... :)
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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Post dinner

Yeah, it's the cat and I. And that's how things usually go.

Okay, the above sentence is not really true - that cat rarely sits in that position during dinner - and we don't live in that apartment anymore.

But I'm glad I was digging through pictures.

This still cracks me up

I know that this isn't an entirely new song, but the live version is so kick-ass - I'd love to have a chance to play guitar for DVDA.
The back story about the whole thing is awesome too - seems that Brian appreciates the love

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Google Reader is slow as hell?

I'm not sure how many of you (anyone?) who reads this fine blog and also uses Google Reader - but I for one sure do.

I really like the fact that it's browser based and conveniently tied to my google account, so it keeps current no matter which computer or browser I happen to be logged in from.

However, there's recently been an update to the google reader page. Visually, it's good - seems to be a little more refined and some nice features are there. But their servers seem to be getting pounded or something - service is SLOW. Where it had once been very snappy & responsive, it now takes ages to refresh & reload. 

I hope they get the bugs worked out...will I soon have to keep up on news by checking the main sites which I follow directly? (gasp) 

Yeah, this is probably one of those posts that goes up and no one's not the biggest problem in my life at present (by any means), but it does go to show how ingrained google stuff has become in my life.

Monday, December 01, 2008


Compare the article summary here

with this one here:

...amazing that the AP article cherry-picks the not so bad sounding stuff and puts up the puff-piece rhetoric that makes the president sound presentable. The quotes called out from the interview transcript are damning.

Lest you think that I am looking at stuff out of context, look at the BBC coverage of the issue - - at least they keep it short.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

productive-ish weekend

Ate turkey, hit the gym, got a few shopping deals, did some studying, and finished some games that I've been sitting on for quite a while.

Not too bad.

Friday, November 21, 2008

rainy sleepy friday

Settled in the new place and no rush to do anything tonight.

Having a few drinks, watching some TV, will probably play some games later.

Thursday, November 20, 2008


Picked up some "Cajun Chicken" coldcut meat at a semi-upscale-ish grocery store near my place earlier in the week.

When sampling it, it tasted like someone had taken chicken-flavored cold-cuts and wiped taco powder all over them.

I told the salesperson that.

I also told her it was awesome.

Truly, the best sandwiches I've ever made in my life every day this week. :)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

temper temper

Feeling a little embarassed of myself...

Was at the gym, where I'm paying for the "towel servicee"; where I understand I'm supposed to be getting a fresh towel whenever I'd like one at the gym while I'm there.

Of course, none there when I show up.

Laugh it off, lady behind the desk says "glad you're cool about it, some people have really lost it."

30 minutes later, after I've been running for a bit, and have noticed that the front desk received a delivery and should be flush with towels, I go back to get a towel...there's a line and the lady at the desk is giving towels to all the people just entering the gym.

She looks at me and asks what I want.

"2 towels please."

She looks apologetic, "sorry, we're out"

And for some reason, I lose it and then I'm that guy...

"I can't believe this shit! God, this is so fucked up!"

The lady looks at me in disbelief (as do some others waiting around), then turns around and looks at the two fresh towels sitting behind her and is suddenly, "Hey look, I do have some towels. Here you go."

I'm momentarily placated, then ashamed.

But I think I'll be over that soon enough.

Monday, October 27, 2008

new laptop battery = happy dan!

Man...if I actually posted for all the times I thought "man, I should post this" ...I'd have a lot more, better, posts.

As it is, you're getting shallow reflections of when I see something new & shiny.

Case in point:

Laptop battery (after 3+ years of service) was getting almost completely useless - not keeping a charge for more than 2 minutes or so.

Ordered a 3rd-party replacement via - and this one is already so much better (haven't even charged it yet)....

I'm mobile again!

Though, come on - truth be told, especially given life in the USA, the only mobile action this laptop sees is me occasionally bringing it from the living room to the bedroom.

Still - happy it's working.

The iBook G4 is still holding up fairly well since its production in (i assume) mid 2005; but one can certainly see the new white plastic of this battery and how it differs from the umm..."weathered?" plastic of the rest of the machine.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


so my 10-year high school reunion is coming up....this weekend. I'm pretty excited about it on the whole.

Should be good to see old friends & people who I haven't seen in 10 years or so.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


Despite a lot of big thoughts to go over in my head over the past 3 weeks + the near financial implosion of the US economy, I feel pretty good at the moment.

Then again, that might be the wine talking.

New music (at least for me) that I'm liking a lot at the moment:

 - Me First & the Gimme Gimmes - everything they've done...I had to wikipedia them to get the whole deal; I'm thrilled to know that they are a side project from members of several excellent rock/punk bands. They cover everything and are super fun.

 - Rancid "B sides & C sides" - although some of the B-sides aren't stellar, there's enough unique Rancid there to make me very happy...

 - Fleet Foxes - Another great Seattle band! Very melodic...

 - Kasbian - good enough Brit-rock
 - The Verve - although I am listening to their new album, I also am revisiting "Urban Hymns", and like it a lot.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

noteworthy weekend

2 major events & one comment:

Event #1 - On Saturday, we went to PAX (the Penny Arcade Expo). Was fun. Lots of cool new games that one could play with (but we didn't do much since the lines were huge). Nice people, among those we talked to. Got to see the people behind Mega64. They had some amusing clips & did an insightful yet humorous Q & A session. The location in downtown Seattle was great too, in that we could run over to the Pike Place Market for lunch.

Event #2 - On Sunday, we went to Bumbershoot, which is a big festival/concert/performance/art event in central Seattle (around the Space Needle). Lots of bands & other artists over 10 different stages. You can't see it all. But what we saw was good. Some jazz acts, some world music /fusion acts, some rock acts, & other stuff. My favorite act (& the whole reason why I wanted to go today) was the Saturday Knights. They did not disappoint; they did a fun show that involved the crowd. Marsha & I were in the front row and it was super cool; got to high-five members of the band!

Comment: While I disdain watching TV all the time, it is nice to have a connection...

Monday, August 25, 2008

happy for the internet!

Good to be able to connect to friends all over the world to chat with; especially after having a busy day.

Good to not have the TV on & just some silence in the house; save the chat indicators and the click of my fingers on the keyboard.

Although I've been in front of a computer much of the day for work, right now it doesn't feel like work at all - it's good to be here.

Monday, August 18, 2008


Not sure if you've heard (I don't know if this has made national

headlines or not); Washington state is having a "top two" primary for your favorite two candiates to duke it out in

November, regardless of party.

I'm leaning towards democrats & independents.

Some interesting green candidates; also one Republican who has based

his entire platform/manifesto on his AIR POWERED CAR
!!! (his stance on other issues was non-existent, however...)

We'll see how it goes.

Yay democracy!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

a little hard to believe

So apparently everyone on the Chinese gymnastics team is 16 years old.

They all look super young to me; but I suppose that gymnasts do tend to be short in stature.

The commentators did not really do much to hide their suspicions..."the IOC says that all of the ages on the passports received were 16."

Tough to say, I guess...I mean, it's really up to each country that sends a delegation out to the olympics, right? If the country really wants to send out underaged atheletes, they ultimately will find a way to do it - it's not like a government issues documents that are forgeries...(they might just be "errors", right?)

It's not as if the IOC can go claiming shennanagins on the officially government issued documentation of each athlete that is competing.

liking the Olympics

Have been watching the latest round of the Olympics fairly closely....keep hoping that they'll be showing something of the Beijing that I knew - but no luck on that so far.

Some things that caught my attention:

1. Announcers on NBC can't pronounce "Chaoyang park" (朝阳公园)...they keep saying "Chaoyong park"...doesn't seem like that should be so hard to say.

2. There was some Budweiser(?) sponsored ad supposedly showing some popular 'local' bar in Beijing...but it sure looked like a generic blues bar that was sparsely filled - really wonder how they came to even know of that bar.

Although it is fair to say that I'm totally out of touch with the Beijing bar scene, however, I do know what a popular 'Chinese' bar tends to look like - this wasn't it.

Friday, August 08, 2008

broken record?

Is it just me, or was the music during the Beijing Olympic opening ceremonies about a 15-minute record that was on continuous loop? Sure heard A LOT of bagpipes.

Might just be me.

Monday, August 04, 2008

on being broken?

Does one have to be broken to fit into society?

I mean, at what point does conformity to socially acceptable norms break down to smothering one's inner self?

At what point is it worth it to have stability vs the excitement (and huge risks) of a constantly shifting existence?

No good answers here...but it does seem to support the notion that one should take risks while you are young, as when you get older the stakes get higher and the chances of full recovery lessen.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

1 year

It's been 365 days since we moved back from China. My world feels smaller.

More comfortable in a lot of ways, I suppose. 

My ass is fatter.

My mandarin is probably in need of some practice.

I can cook more things than ever have before. I've read more than I have before. 

Have broader, fuller work experience.

Still feel like there's a lot left to do - as if things are just getting started for me here.

But miss China & my friends there, the past life, quite a bit. Would be happy to revisit even if just for a little while. 

(I'll probably have to wait until post-Olympics, however, given the visa situation there and everything...)

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Flight of the conchords - fantastic!

Well, although their show is sort of old news - having aired in 2007 (?), I'm just getting into the show & the music, and I think it's fantastic.

One of the better things that I've heard in a while.

At first glance, one might think that they are a New Zealand version of Tenacious D.

While they are a comedy music duo, their style & humor is different; perhaps a bit more dry. Tenacious D's music was more of a metal band with accoustic guitars, the Conchords do many more musical styles (pretty much everything except metal).

Also, the D haven't been up to that much lately...

This video is pretty solid anyway:

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Never have I been more proud to share my homestate with Jessie Ventura as I was last night.

He was on Larry King live.

The article linked above does not do justice to the awesomeness of his interview there.

Highlights, paraphrased by me:

- Drilling in Alaska? Follow the money - clearly this is just gouging by the oil companies & a little extra drilling isn't going to affect our prices at the pump.

- Endorse a candidate? - He's not sure if he's even going to vote as both of them are pretty much pushing the same lines; neither is offering anything along the lines of being truly fiscally conservative.

- Iraq/Iran/Afghanistan - "Apparently the president talks to God. I've been a pretty good man for the past 7 years, and God hasn't told me anything about starting wars in other countries..."

Larry King looked uncomfortable, but I was so happy that Jessie Ventura kept it real (as he tends to do) rather than reading off some carefully scripted PR-bullshit.

Monday, July 14, 2008

MAME! :)

This is one of those things that I had always heard about but never tried...MAME is a program that lets one run arcade games on one's computer.

Ended up getting very drawn into this - playing many of the games that were in arcades everywhere back when I was 12-14.

Didn't find anything terribly engrossing, but I hadn't played any simple shooter games for a while (UN Squadron, anyone?). Got my fill.

MAME for OS X has been performing/behaving rock-solid.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

iphone 3g madness

I did walk by the mall last night (we got ice cream), surely enough there was a line snaking around the Apple store, even at nearly 9pm.

The new iphone does seem like a pretty cool toy, but I'm not sure if it's so cool that it's worth spending hours of one's day waiting for it...I'm pretty sure that within 2 weeks availability will be all worked out.

Anyway, I'm also quite amused by the fact that the new iphone OS 2.0 has already been jail-broken...seeing as cingular would intend to rope me into another 2-year contract as well as charge me extra for the privilege, I'd really rather just get the hardware and plug my existing SIM card into it (a la every phone purchase I made in China or Hong Kong).

Seeing as I don't have reason to even use my cell phone that much anymore anyway, the whole scheme seems like a money sink anyway...

perfect day out - lazy day

Slept in until ~10 am. Felt good. Then worked through a pot of coffee, read up on the news. Bagel for breakfast.

Doors and windows wide open. It's hot out, at least by the standards in western Washington. Things are somewhere in the 80s, which to me is still very pleasant - it's nice to have a breeze.

May do a little reading; then will run errands later.

I suppose I could do more with my time if I was intent on fulfilling my ambitions today...but just relaxing feels pretty good for now.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

disappointed in Obama

Gotta say - LAME that he supported this whole telco-wiretapping immunity thing.

I still prefer him over the republican option, but seriously - where the hell is this whole "change" thing that he's been pushing & riding to get to his present position?

I thought that he represented the part of the Democratic party that had spines.

Lame lame lame.

other news - July 4th was fine

Stuck around and saw a local fireworks display; made pizza with homemade dough, drove to a town on the other side of the mountains which felt like it lived up to many outside conceptions of "old west", later on found a cool area in Seattle & hung out.

Talked to bands that are looking for guitarists; had some phone conversations and one try-out; we'll see how that goes.

quickie game note

One title that I must recommend for Nintendo DS is Professor Layton and the Curious Village.

Have been playing through that before bed the past few months, usually solving a few puzzles at a time. Has been fun and I feel like I'm learning something.

But finally finished the game! I'm happy that I completed it, but this seems like one I'll really miss after it's wrapped up.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Holy Crap!

Turned on the radio in my car yesterday for the first time in a while, and I was drawn into listening to a remake of the Dio classic, "Holy Diver".

It kept my attention, but on further reflection I'm kinda shocked that such a half-ass cover song is getting airplay.

They haven't really done anything to re-invent or update the song, but instead they did the following:

1. Change out vocalist to a very generic-sounding dude
2. Update guitar sound from late 70's period guitar to late 90's / early 00's "big guitar" sound
3. Add in seemingly random death-metal growls (cookie monster style)

It's almost like they're trying too hard - it's almost like a parody of half-ass music remakes, but from what I can tell about the song it seems to be intended as a wholly sincere effort.

A google search reveals that there are some rabid defenders of this version, and I can't figure out why.

Monday, June 09, 2008

thoughts for now

Had time to reflect during the drive this morning.

Close to a year being out of the China life, and still adjusting; not so much in terms of how to live in the country, but now finding what I want to do with my life & taking advantage of the opportunities here.

It's easy to get caught up in the wake up / work / TV / sleep cycle and the net result of that is that I'm getting nowhere on what I feel like I should really be doing with my life.

Need to keep a positive attitude about things - at least in identifying this I can take steps to adjust.

Some unbridled joy would be nice its nature, it can't really be an everyday thing...but it seems to have been a long while since I felt that.

Things here seem to be keeping up at a very solid medium...not that much bad happening, and not that much crazy good happening either. Given the situation in the world, I shouldn't complain. On the other hand, I might as well be striving for the ideal, as this life seems to be the only one I have, and it's likely not going to get crazy better unless I do something about it myself.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

every day

Every morning I keep checking the RSS feeds, for something - for some sign, some purpose.

(Not having much luck)

Feel restless in a way - why am I here &amp; what am I doing with my life?

At times I think that it would be easier if I was back in China, but that's a cop-out...I was going through the same thing there.

Restlessness for its own sake is tiring and pointless - especially if you just let it eat at you.

However, I keep thinking that my subconscious is trying to tell me something, and that yes, some purpose is just around the corner if I just take a moment and notice it.

(but yeah, not much luck on that yet)

Sunday, May 18, 2008

summer here?

Unusually warm weather here in the Seattle area this weekend, and everyone seems happier for it.

Very pleasant days all around. It's nice to leave the windows open and not worry about rain.

I think that my blood must have thickened from my days in Shenzhen - comparatively, this weather is not at all hot compared to day to day life during much of the summer there.

("Summer" in this case being the intensely sunny & humid period from approximately late March to mid-October).

Not bad here, but I recall when we arrived here in August last year, the weather was "hot" by local standards yet we seemed to want sweaters. That's no more the case for us.

Monday, April 21, 2008

yay for scrivener!

Have been playing quite a bit with this piece of software, and I'm impressed so far. Lightweight, easy to use, but also very convenient & powerful.

As such, I'm making more structured progress on the book project than I have been in a while...which is making me feel good, like I'm accomplishing something.

Still running the demo version though, and I'm still a little torn on actually paying the (reasonable) $39.95 for it.

1. I don't want to get locked into any specific OS platform - I love my mac laptop, but actually have some doubts if my next laptop should be a mac or maybe something else...part of me really wants to go all the way Ubuntu - but I keep clinging to other platforms due to things that have locked me in: phone/calendar/contact sync, iTunes, games I've purchased...

2. As much as OS X is good to use, there's actually very little of the OS X exclusive stuff that I use daily and couldn't live without.

3. That being said, I'm getting used to things working smoothly and without much user intervention on this computer (laptop), and a switch to anything else would probably leave me tinkering more often than actually doing. And while tinkering can be fun, the whole point of computers is to allow the user to do useful things, not just play with them for the sake of playing....

(so, if I'm actually getting more done with this software, yeah, I guess it makes sense to get it...)

Sunday, April 20, 2008

thoughts on repetitive drum beats

This post is not intended to be a bash on techno, though the title of this post might give that impressions.


1. In my high school years, Everclear was a band I heard a lot of, and after buying their albums and listening through, were indeed a very well liked band in my listening rotation. Some time later, when rocking out in a car with a friend and his new ipod, he pointed out to me (and then by playing each song), that the drummer from Everclear pretty much had one beat/loop that was used (to good effect) in many of their songs. After that was pointed out to me, I couldn't quite listen to them as earnestly as I did when I was in my late teenage years.
(still do like the band, however).

2. On the advice of one of my wife's colleagues, we were told to check out some reggaeton music; and as such we proceeded to check the work by Don Omar and in the process came across some other compliations. Was annoyed as hell by the fact that half of the tracks we downloaded had the exact same drum beat as "Gasolina" (apparently by "Daddy Yankee") which sure was played regularly in the clubs (per my hazy memory) in much of 2005, 2006, and 2007.

Per very brief initial research on wikipedia, however, it turns out that the extensive use of that one beat is very much a defining part of this genre:

Reggaeton’s most notably unique feature is a driving drum-machine track
which was derived from a popular Jamaican dancehall rhythm. As stated
previously this beat is called “Dem Bow,” from the Bobby Dixon-produced
Shabba Ranks song of the same title. The beat that can be heard throughout Reggaetonis an interplay of a steady kick drum and a syncopated snare. The kick
drum emphasizes a 4/4 beat, while the snare comes on the "and" of the
2nd 16th note and right on the 4th 16th.

I guess I need to pay more attention to the lyrics or listen more broadly in the genre before I dismiss it (as after all, I barely have been exposed to it) - but I think I'll be looking for artists' work where the beats used are more varied...

Not to say that that one beat is bad - it's actuallly very interesting rhythmically and good to dance to - but if I'm putting 50 new songs on my ipod, I tend to keep things varied.

- on the topic of beats -

There are some standard drum machine options that have been used extensively and frequently in many rap songs. Yet, to me, the repetition tends to be tempered by different bass-lines, choruses, breaks, and effects used with those beats.

Certainly within rock music there are many "stock" beats that most drummers have in their repitoire and use in various combinations.

Not sure what is making me write at this length about the few mainstream-ish Reggaeton songs that I've's just that one beat is so distinctive and is making many of those songs sound all the same to me.

Enough now, I guess I better putter back onto the porch and rest my tired, arthritic arms after effectively betaying my age and inability to "get it", so therefore telling the damn kids to get off my lawn...

Friday, April 18, 2008


Heard a lot about this game so decided to take a closer look.

We'll see how long I can really stand it - sounded like a very interesting concept, but concept alone does not make a game fun.

Will post more if I have a change of heart.


Installed and so far so good. Haven't started to pay attention; but pleased that a game from 2 years ago runs so well on my PC. Graphics do not suck, but aren't mind-blowing.

(esp. when compared to something more recent, a la Call of Duty 4 or Team Fortress 2...)

just waiting for an excuse...

have played with Ubuntu 8.04 and have been pretty impressed so far.

That being said, I'm still happy between my XP desktop and OS X laptop (and Vista work laptop, but there's no choice in that so it's kind of moot...).

Wishing for either (both?) MS or Apple to do something stupid that will make me say, "fuck this proprietary OS shit!"

As it is though...doing fine in both regards on both platforms, and as such, despite all the goodness/progress made by Ubuntu (and other Linux desktop distros), I don't feel any real reason to switch over yet.

That being said, I'm still pretty sure that I'd never pay full retail for MS Vista. (although, if I could get it for free or next to free, yeah, I'd have to consider it....)

I'm flippant and indecisive.

awkwardly chilling

it's friday and things are mostly well. at home, having a few drinks, watching battlestar galactica with the wife (who, as it turns out, really got into that show).

can't complain too much.

Feel like there should be something more to this, to everything.

But despite my unease/discomfort, nothing is springing to mind.

So I'll have some water & enjoy.

Friday, April 11, 2008

I like this quote

"Give a man fire, and you warm him for the night. Set a man on fire, and you warm him for the rest of his life." - Terry Pratchett

Thursday, April 10, 2008

working with cat

While working late at home sometimes is not always desirable (especially if you'd rather be doing something else), one thing that usually makes it better is when one of your cats is willing to share your lap with the laptop.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Venezuela - baywatch for the children!

So, apparently Venezeula feels that "the Simpsons" is inappropriate as a morning cartoon for children.

(I can understand this).

So they have pulled the show from the airwaves and replaced it with "Baywatch".

That seems really funny to me. But on some reflection - are we to think that children couldn't handle the simplistic storylines or bouncing boobs (and David Hasselhoff)???

From a certain point of view, Baywatch might be better for children than the simpsons. At least the women are empowered to go kick ass and save lives, just as much as the men on the show are.

I have heard that Venezuela is home to many beaches; and I'd imagine that any child going to the beach is probably going to see an eyeful of skin anyway...and for that matter, I doubt that Venezuelans are as uptight about seeing skin on TV as some folk are in the US.

(but on the other hand, the simpsons does make a lot of literary and cultural references that may inspire kids to look them up and read further in order to get the jokes..actually, on further thought, some of those references are probably lost in translation; from my experience having watched Simpsons episodes in Spanish while in Mexico & occasionally on DVD)

For further thought, I guess that baywatch was something frequently on TV when I was growing up & visiting friends...and I've turned out fine...right?

And if you didn't know Baywatch, then this wouldn't be nearly as funny:

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

ubuntu 8.04

As of right now, 16 days to go until the next version of Ubuntu linux is released.

I downloaded the beta this weekend and tried it out as a live cd for a little bit - seems very solid so far. Was responsive and good looking on my system.

Did not do a full-on install of it yet on my home PC, mainly since it is still running XP quite acceptably. Would be neat to dedicate an entire physical machine to it; but haven't really had a need to yet; my late 2005-vintage iBook is still running fine (although the battery is only good for ~30-40 minutes if wi-fi is on...

Regardless, pretty impressed with it.

If I only needed a PC for web, email, documents, pictures, & listening to mp3s, and watching movies/files that I had donwnloaded, or I needed to outfit a lot of people with PCs and I was on a budget, then I'd be pretty confident in choosing Ubuntu.

Not sure if it's ready for prime-time yet if you do a lot of PC gaming and like having the newest games to play, or if you're using your computer to make/record music, or if you are dependent on some proprietary application that only works on Windows.

The thought of "letting go" of being tied to proprietary software is pretty attractive, though a bit misleading. It's not as if by adopting an open-source only approach to things that somehow one's tech life will be free of complication or hassle. One still needs to do backups.

Regardless, I think more people being aware of the option and using it is a very good thing.

eee pc

Seems pretty cool - have gotten a chance to play with one at work (one of my colleagues won it).

Not sure what I'd really do with it or why I'd need one at the moment - not to mention that it's also pretty well known that a bigger-screen version is on the way soon.

(On another note, I do find it amusing that Windows XP has had its lifespan extended (again) for the eee PC since Vista is a bit too bloated to work well on a low-spec system like the eee)

Rancid makes me feel better

Had been feeling down (was in a bit of a rut) well after last thursday's post...the weekend was mostly better, but Monday was unsatisfying.

Yet, rocking out to songs by Rancid helped me feel much better.

One of my all-time favorite bands - I have a lot of love for them and have been enjoying their music nearly half of my life.

This is just a convenient video from a google/Youtube search with pretty clean audio.

Monday, April 07, 2008

what's up with boring city development?

Lease is coming to an end, and so we're thinking about what to do next.

Living now in a part of the greater Seattle area that is very pedestrian-friendly, in that there are not only lots of crosswalks, but there are also businesses & things to do within walking distance. I can't honestly call it vibrant, but one will see people nearly anytime...maybe it's better described as an "active" area?

We like that. Unfortunately, home prices where we live now are on the high side. Annoyed that most of the places we can afford (further out) are in neighborhoods where there's nothing around...just a lot of houses - that seems really boring to us.

Alternatively, I guess we could try living in Seattle proper, but the areas we can afford aren't super compelling either, and are also going to require a longer drive for both of us.

Maybe just keep renting for the time being?

Thursday, April 03, 2008


Not sure exactly what has been bothering me - but feeling a little aimless/restless right now.

Work is fine. Life at home is okay.

Just not really sure what I want to do 'next', if that makes any sense. Not a lot of clear goals right now - I guess I need to figure those out.

Perhaps finding something more fulfillling for my hours outside of work would be a good idea.

(Had some moments where I was playing games this weekend and I realized/hoped that there is more to life than just consuming digital entertainment...)

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

question to ponder

Which is the more evil organization to work for - Clearchannel or an Oil company?

Had this debate with a friend a while ago who had options to work for either in an international context.

While I guess it's possible that US oil interests have instigated more human misery to the world than Clearchannel, and have done more in the past to block sustainable fuels (which has caused the earth greater damage than clearchannel's moves to kill music artistry), I just don't like Clearchannel at all.

Although they have near monopoly status in many markets, what they control is a dying industry. Can't find a lot of redeeming value in what they've done.

For all of their evil, at least some oil companies try and push for semi-sustainable and responsible drilling and collection where they work.

Also, I'm probably also biased in that of the people I've met who work in the oil industry, most of them have been pretty alright people. I haven't met anyone who works for Clearchannel, and as such I can't associate the concept of their company with anything more than their logo on a billboard.

Monday, March 31, 2008

down day?

Just felt kind of down today. Not exactly sure why.

But perhaps I didn't get enough sleep? Really...trying to figure this out.

But, seeing this bit of news made me happy.

Though, I get the feeling that I need to finish reading Quicksilver and the rest of the series. Just 2600-some pages to go. But apparently the series picks up in the next 2000 pages. We'll see.

Decided to attempt a little experiment - I have a bunch of books at home that I've bought over the years and never read; have games that I've bought but haven't finished - I guess we'll give that a shot & see how long I last.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

what is the point of .mac again?

Just thinking - really, what is the big deal about .mac (apple's service that costs between $75-100 per year for web hosting and ~10 gb of storage)?

While I am impressed with what it is supposed to do and how-easy it is supposed to make things, and giving that I tried it for one year, I feel that it is more like a glorified version of; in that it's taking something that is pretty freely available and then charging people a premium for a crippled version.

Although I was happy with what I did with iWeb & .mac, I think that blogspot is a more sustainable and perhaps better long-term play.

okay weekend

Went to a bacon-themed potluck/party on saturday. Not bad - especially if you like bacon....

Sunday has been okay.

Slept in; then played some games (Half-life 2: episode one and super smash brothers), played with our cats, then installed an iphone-interface hack on my phone, then went to the gym, then did some shopping, then came home & had dinner, played with our cats, watched the L-word and then south park. Then finished our box of Franzia Sangria, and I played Team Fortress 2.

I guess not productive at all, but I feel pretty relaxed now and should be in a good frame of mind for real work tomorrow.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

motorola is really hurting and hearing about why makes me sad for the USA

After reading some news postings about this, I was really sad, in a way - I mean, Motorola was a great company and it is too bad that their CEO was technically incompetent. Consider that the RAZR was a very cool, hot phone in 2004 but they are still trying to milk it even now in 2008.

Letter from concerned insider is here:

Discussion is here:

Seriously, what is wrong with most US-based CEO's that get caught up in pandering to Wall Street?????

Also, to paraphrase one of the comments in the Slashdot discussion..."If this is what Six Sigma can do for Motorola, think of what it can do for your company!"

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

reflection on differences in life abroad

Had a discussion with an old friend who is still living in China this morning, and I came upon the following conclusion, which hadn't seemed quite so clear to me before:

Socially, when living abroad in China, life in the ex-pat community demands that one is welcoming and inclusive to strangers/newcomers, since nearly everyone is only a semi-permanent resident, friends come and go literally every month, and as such it is clearly to one's benefit to keep one's social circles pretty open.

Whereas, when living long-time in one's own community, the need to include outsiders is certainly lessened. Not to say there is no benefit to being inclusive, but when people get caught up in career, family, existing social obligations + the commitment of a mortgage to a given area, it seems that the amount of time and room to meet new people is lessened.

At least that's how it feels now in Seattle. It's not that the locals are mean or anything, but it seems like most people that I do meet are already well involved in their own social circles and there's little desire or reason to get newcomers involved...seems to just take time.

Seattle is growing fairly quickly, however, and there are a lot of newcomers anyway.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Sins of a Solar Empire

This game has been getting a lot of hype for the volume it has sold and for its unique style of gameplay.

Indeed, the game is very unique; it's something like a cross between Starcraft and Civilization.

Ultimately, it is a bit more of an RTS than turn-based strategy game.

I'm doing terribly in it so far; mostly because (I think) that it has its own style of play that one needs to learn...and the learning curve is a bit steep.

Might be more trouble than it's worth to really bother getting good at...I dislike games that feel more like work to play than actually just "playing".

On the other hand, I might get somewhere in this game if I actually spent the 3-4 hours straight playing it that seems to be required in order to complete a single game. Unfortunately, it's pretty hard for me to do that...even on slow weekends like this one, giving 3-4 hours straight to a game is diffficult.

This is probably one of those cases where I've fallen more for the idea & hype of the game rather than the game itself...but we'll see.

It also still looks & plays very responsively on my old PC system. Will probably still try in the future.

Call of Duty 4

So, despite 2007 being the year of Portal, Bioshock, and Team Fortress 2, Call of Duty 4 came out and was widely hailed as one of the best action games of the year.

I'm usually not into straight military games, and I had never really paid attention to the Call of Duty series before.

But, after hearing all the hype, recommendations from co-workers, and finally seeing a deal to snag a copy for just over $30, I checked it out.

Glad that I did.

The game is beautifully done (looks great on my older hardware), very action-packed, and manages to tie together a bunch of fairly different mission styles with a coherent, mostly plausible story.

I think I completed the game over the course of 3 weekends, which was a little on the short side, but still acceptable.

The multiplayer is reputed to be very good, but I haven't given it much time yet - still will at some point.

Anyway, pretty pleased with that one overall.

The witcher

The Witcher was part 2 of the Christmas gift I gave myself, and my progress on it is considerably less exciting than that on Bioshock.

It seemed like a really cool RPG in concept, and as I've tried it so far it seems pretty good.

Drawbacks? Well, it's really, really pushing the limits of what my "possibly good in 2004" PC can do, and as such it's laggy & slow. Not entirely unplayable, but a lot of time is wasted in loading scenes.

Apparently there's going to be a big update/revision in content coming for the game in May, so I'll hold off on really getting into it until then.

Bioshock - my mini review

I hadn't thought that my PC could handle the requirements for Bioshock; but I was pleasantly surprised to find that the demo ran for a Christmas gift to myself I picked up a copy of the game via

Anyway, it ran pretty well and I played through the game (mostly on weekends) for most of January and February.

The game's story & setting about a dystopian objectivist underwater city-state built in the late 40's/50's is pretty interesting & well thought out, and there's enough hidden enemies to keep things surprising.

Your character can get some special powers that are pretty cool, and you have to deal with some "moral" choices - you kill all the bad guys regardless, but you can choose not to kill some little girl mutants. An interesting twist, but not exactly earth-shattering.

The game kept my interest, the plot moved along pretty well, with some fun twists & turns. Some complain that the game is on the short side of things; and I guess that it is - but it was really a perfect length for me as a casual gamer...kept me busy on the mornings of quite a few weekends.

I picked up wired Xbox 360 controller to use with my PC on this game, and that was fun too - a little more comfortable for the setup in my house as I could sit on the couch & play.

Anyway, if you like well-told shooting games, this is certainly worth a look if you haven't tried it already.

more thoughts on a lazy weekend

So it's Easter Sunday, the wife is feeling a little ill, and I find myself with lots of free time but needing to stay at home as we wait to go to a family gathering.

Have played quite a bit of games already, so now it's time to do something semi-productive and blog a bit.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

time to myself at 7:40???

Home after work, have had dinner & cleaned up - it's 7:40 and as such I have free time left in the evening.


Will probably use this time to study a bit - I'm reviewing to take a PMP exam at some point in the next few months.

Maybe will do a little reading too - I should get back to finishing Neal Stephenson's Quicksilver. I'm ~315 pages into the book so far...(just 600+ more to go).

Maybe can play some games too.

Maybe will get back to working on my book?

We'll see.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Crying nut video!!!

Was thrilled to find this on youtube - I love their music but hadn't really had a chance to ever see their videos.

Very pleased to say that their videos seem just as much fun as their music!

How does one pronounce "sheet"?

Having to try and clarify the difference; and I'm not exactly certified for teaching ESL.

Sheet = "Sh" + "eat"

Shit = "Sh" + "it"

While she knows that people understand her if she's asking for "5 shits of paper", she is a little self-conscious about it. Any suggestions?

Still on the Gaming kick

So yeah, although I could well be talking about anything, I've been recently compelled to write about gaming a lot - I guess that I've often had gaming on my mind for when I have free time to myself.

(This unfortunately, is at the expense of making/playing music - hopefully this is just a temporary setback - but my apartment isn't really conducive to much guitar play & I don't have a band yet)

Anyway - Since we're going semi-chronologically here:

Rise of Nations

- This is an older (2003) game, but I never found a stable copy in China. So, I bought one here last October. It's still a really well-made, fun game; one of my favorite RTS games, period. Not really fun to play at a distance - good on a laptop.

- Although more stable than the sketchy Chinese versions; it still crashes on me fairly frequently, sometimes even when trying to resume a saved game.

Still, the combination of growing your empire, advancing civilization, and attacking invaders/ conquesting more land is a super fun combination.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

more game thoughts - The Orange Box

I'm pretty sure I've blogged on this one before, and it's already received its share of love in most mainstream sources, but I'm trying to be complete here.

Great deal for the $50.

I have never been into online gaming before, but Team Fortress 2 provides a very fun experience that is simple, easy to pick up, and yet satisfying for hours at a time.

Half-Life 2 is a well-made shooter with a pretty cool story, and the additional "episodes" 1 & 2 are included in the package as well. I'm actually still working through Episode 1 at present...mostly because I don't have time for a lot of games.

Portal is an excellent puzzle game that tells a story very well, revealing bits and pieces through the process of solving puzzles; the final chapter of the game is very satisfying opportunity to apply all the skills you have learned in the first part of the game. It's also pretty short (in a good way) - which was nice considering that I only had limited opportunities to play

Anyway- this whole compilation is notable in that I first bought it in October last year and I'm still playing through it now in March, which is additionally good as I feel I'm really getting a lot for the money I had spent on it.

Friday, March 14, 2008

game reviews, part 1 - Civ IV Beyond the Sword

Felt like I might as well give my impressions of the few games that I've acquired & played over the past 6 months; I guess I might as well do that in blog post form over the next few days this weekend as I have/find time for blogging.

Anyway, the first game I got since returning from China and getting a household established was Civ IV: Beyond the Sword.

Yes, it was more of an expansion than a full-on new game, but I had heard all the hype surrounding this and thought it would be really worth a try.

Indeed, it gives you a real bevy of options for new game variants to try - you have an adjusted-rules "regular" game with new cultures and leaders to have and fight against, and there are also 20+ different mods.

Considering one game of Civ IV can take at least 2-4 hours to play through (even on "fast" mode), this can get pretty involved.

I hadn't really felt like I played through the "old" version entirely, but this really, really gives me more options.

This sort of game doesn't ever offer much in the way of a narrative story; but it does offer a pretty immersive experience that can draw one in very fully from the start.

As others have said before, it's a "desert island" type game in that if you were stuck with only one game to play, this is probably one of the best picks that one could make.

That being said, I've found that:

1. I like playing games with a story, so if I'm looking for something that is more escapist fare, this isn't always what I'm looking for.
2. The game experience is so immersive that I can't really find a good time to play it - after work is hard as that time tends to be for the wife and I together; before sleep is also not a good time as I'll stay up late playing it. The weekend is good, but if it's sunny I don't really want to be spending all my time inside in front of a computer.
3. My PC set up uses our LCD TV as the monitor - and given that while playing, the screen can get pretty cluttered with a lot of small-font text - and it's not comfortable to play at a distance. This is a game that (for me) works best with a real laptop or desktop setup.

Anyway, it has a lot of replay value and I will play it again and again, just not that frequently.

Apparently the online multiplayer is good too, but I haven't ever tried it.

iphone? - SDK coolness? - I don't know

If you read this article by David Pogue of the New York Times, you may be inclined to believe that the iphone + app store via itunes model that is being proposes is going to be HUGE.

I do not buy into the hype, in that the proposal is sounding pretty restrictive in that apparently 3rd-party apps will be restricted from multi-tasking. Thus, if you are using an app and then need to answer a phone call, text message, or email, you'll actually exit & shut down the 3rd-party app...this is basically the same thing that any piece of software on the Palm platform must do (and that is an OS that was created in 2002) - my point being that this is an old-school model of doing things.

Not that I'm a Microsoft fanboy, but comparatively, with Windows mobile, one can have 5 things running at the same time, which is actually useful - you could be downloading something, writing a text message, and talking on the phone (via bluetooth) at the same time.

I guess I'll likely not be getting a new iphone anytime soon (although the 3g version coming this summer is appealing since it will be shiny, pretty, and hopefully have fast data downloads)...

Neocha - NEXT?

This is sort of cool - a dedicated online player for Chinese indie music.

There is some good stuff on here; although it's certainly not all rock all the time.

Currently listening to a band that seems to have never learned how to tune a guitar (not the first time I've encountered that issue, but a little surprising that they bothered to record it that way, especially on an acoustic track).

Regardless, seeing this site and hearing some of the non-crappy stuff here makes me happy - reminds me of my days in China and I'm thrilled to hear that there are some cool bands making their own original music here!

Was alerted to this via Lostlaowai or

Thursday, March 13, 2008

The spice must flow

Just wrapped up viewing the "Children of Dune" miniseries (and I had watched the 2000 miniseries version of Dune prior to that).

Wow...pretty decent adaptation of the books. I am glad that I read the series (Frank Herbert books anyway) prior to watching the adaptation, but I was pretty satisfied with it - they did a good job, and even Marsha got into watching it.

I had been waiting a long time to see the series, since I had heard about it while I was in China but it proved very difficult to obtain.

So yeah, well over half a year after moving back to the US, I'm still catching up on things.


Caught a bit of the news while flipping through channels at the gym as I had finished my workout...ever get the feeling that CNN is for children?

Firefox 3 Beta - Yay!

Have installed Firefox 3 beta on my Mac - not too shabby!

Only complaints so far (which are relatively minor) - the scribefire extension doesn't work yet, and my system hasn't yet totally adjusted yet.

Webpage rendering is much faster compared to firefox 2.

Seems pretty good so far. Considering that outside of gaming (at home) and excel sheets (at work), nearly everything I do is based out of a browser now*, it's good to see that things are developing quickly and working robustly.

The extensions on Firefox are also still pretty useful to me; I've started to use (it's blocked in China so I was late in ever trying it out) in addition to Foxmarks, scribefire, and download status bar.

*It's interesting noting really to what extent this is coming true. My company runs their official email application and groupware suite via a web-based client, and most of our internal systems are web-based as well. While I'm running a Vista laptop at present, to me there really isn't a compelling reason for why I'd ever need a windows OS at work (I guess Office for running Excel...that's really about it). At home, I'm running most of my personal stuff on my laptop, which runs OS X but 95% of the time is used for web browsing, which is most often done with Firefox. Anyway, I guess my point is that I have no compelling reason to use Vista, and given the performance hit it tends to require + the need to upgrade to significantly beefier hardware in order to use it for gaming, I do not see any reason to upgrade anytime soon.

Monday, March 10, 2008

seeing the wife off

Well, Marsha has started her new job and since her work start time is earlier than mine, now I'm the one seeing her off to the door in the morning.

Interesting reversal from the status quo for the past 6 months or so - but it's okay.

She was a little nervous before heading out; readjusting and checking one of the professional outfits we had put together earlier in the weekend.

Maybe this is a little bit what it feels like when one first sends their kids to school?

We'll see how things go for her - I imagine that it will be an interesting week for her as she gets introduced first-hand to work culture in the USA.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

be kind rewind?

Really liked that stuff that has been "sweded".

Made me think a bit. Creativity, making your own films, etc.

'Ghostbusters' theme in my head, and had to revisit that.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


Just finished reading this series - and it was excellent! Beautiful artwork, moving story...enjoyable simply as a comic but yet good on the level of an interesting retelling of a religious story.

Buddha, by Osamu Tezuka

Really can't complain with the series - I'm thrilled that it was available at my local library.

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Tuesday, January 08, 2008

enjoying "rome" again

Have decided to re-view the 2005 BBC/HBO series "Rome" with my wife.

She's liking it, and I'm re-appreciating it.

What a well-done show! Great writing, superb acting, excellent mock-ups of city life. Season 1 is very tight and moves along very quickly. Season 2 isn't quite as tight, but the story is still compelling and at this point you've grown to care about the characters so much that you're happy to see how it plays out.

While (budget allowing), this could no doubt have been drawn out into a much longer running series, the fact that it's kept very finite I think has helped contribute to its overall quality.

Anyway, thanks again to my friend Brian (still in China), for introducing me to this.

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Friday, January 04, 2008

learning to make fart jokes in korean

The title of this post says it all.

I can say: "Silent, but deadly"


"Not silent, and deadly".

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Tuesday, January 01, 2008

since I'm at it, here's two minor episodes of late

Both are geeky and have no relation to China (unless you want to get really, really obtuse and count things related tangentially):

1. Had to re-install XP on my home Desktop. It took me a week to finally pull the trigger and do it rather than try and pull the malware off via a convoluted series of steps that must be pulled off in precisely the right order (the repair instructions read more like those for casting a magic spell or making a potion in Harry Potter).

2. While running out to get some food last night, my cell phone dropped off of my belt, which sucked. I didn't notice it at the time and it was dark out - so when I finally noticed it was gone, it was really, really gone. A search of the house, retracing my steps, and visiting 7-11 and KFC again (where I had gone to get some food to go) was to no avail. Luckily, I had recently backed up the information on those devices earlier in the day. Still wasn't too happy about the prospect of needing to venture out and either get a new SIM card or a whole new phone the next day.

All's well that ends well - Luckily, we got a call this morning from someone on my wife's phone (which I had been using to call my phone constantly) - apparently someone had found the phone on the street in the morning and they gave it to a nearby business.

I had the service shut off last night anyway as a precaution, and it seemed like no calls had been made or personal data stolen, and the phone was working it was no problem to re-activate it and continue life as usual.

(*Okay, shallowly - I would have been fine with replacing my phone with something new and cool. But, that would have been a very bad idea financially; and I've only had this phone for a little over a year - it should be no problem getting another year out of it - at least until whenever the 3g iphone comes out...)

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1st post for 2008

So, here it is - another year, and I'm older and (perhaps) a bit wiser.

Still adjusting to life in the US and figuring out what the hell I'll be doing with my time in the future.

Had a large family gathering in Vancouver this year (it was nice to see everyone); it did prompt some reflection about where I am in my life & what I want to do.

Starting to feel old. Well, not really OLD old, but realizing that I'm really no longer in college anymore and am a part of the mainstream adult workforce now.

Maybe questioning if I really should be using my free time to be playing computer games? On one hand, I think they're okay as an alternate option to movies or TV watching or blindly surfing the internet just for the sake of surfing the internet.

On the other hand, if I'm cutting out doing things that will develop myself socially and personally to accomodate video games (being in a band, writing a book, spending quality time with my wife), then maybe I need to cut back.

Also, I feel like I'm coming down with a cold. Am taking things easy so as to try & reverse it...but instead it feels like I'm just delaying the inevitable.


I guess the usual goals of being fitter, happier, stronger, more learned, etc all are things that I'd like to do during the next year.

Now that the wife & I are back to life as usual (ie, no guests and no visits), we're eating more healthy and in smarter portions, and are trying to exercise.


Have been uploading stuff to both Picasawebs and Flickr. (Picasa's desktop software's integrated websharing is awesomely convenient since I use Picasa on the windows box I have); Flickr is nice since there isn't a cumulative limit on content you can upload.

Here's the link to the Picasa page:

Here's the link to the Flickr page:

Fun stuff:

We have a gas-powered fireplace in our apartment and it is really, really warm. I thought such fireplaces were more for decoration. Apparently not - it is keeping the house toasty-warm.

(I'm reconsidering the efficacy of leaving our computer so close to it ).


Finlandia cheese is not produced by the same company that makes Finlandia Vodka.

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