Tuesday, April 26, 2005


Can you feel that?

It's as if a million wikis cried out and were silenced. After badly paraphrasing Star Wars, here are the ones we were able to catch.

Quite the setup, wouldn't you say?

Antarctic Sound separates Joinville Island from the Antarctic Penninsula. Makes me cold just thinking about it.

The Burlington Bees are a Class A minor league baseball team affiliated with the Kansas City Royals. Apparently Burlington is one of the cheapest places to see a baseball game too. Didn't see that coming.

Robert H. Jackson was the lead prosecutor at the Nuremberg Trials, as well as being Attorney General for a while and a Supreme Court justice. Alec Baldwin played him in the movie Nuremberg, so he must have done something right.

J. B. van Heutz, the Pacificator of Aceh, was Governor General of the Dutch East Indies in 1904. He got his crappy nickname by ending the Aceh War. Seriously, they couldn't find a better word than "pacificator"?

In 1962 in South Africa, Nelson Mandala left the country for military training and later got arrested, Steve Hofmeyr was born, and the UN imposed sanctions. What a crazy year!

There you have it. Woohoo. My apologies for not being able to get worked up about this week, I didn't get anything I could make fun of. Hopefully next week will be better.

As always, read last week's RWE here. Or don't. Up to you.

As an aside, this will likely be my last entry for a while, as I won't be blogging while I'm in Kingston. So, until next time, enjoy yourselves.

All that hand-wringing for nothing

I woke up this morning feeling great about the possibility of going to Kingston. I guess something in my subconscious smartened up and realized that I like doing things. So, as of tomorrow night I'll be living the dream.

My Guild Wars problem might be solved too. Steve is a king among men and offered to pick up a copy of it for me. I'm not sure if I save any money, but it's supposed to be slightly cheaper until the 1st of May, and they lowered the graphics requirements so it'll actually run properly on my elderly video card. Hooray!

My feet are soaked but my cuffs are bone dry. Everything's coming up Milhouse!

Monday, April 25, 2005

I'm an idiot

Turns out that the way to get your pre-ordered version of Guild Wars is to bring your receipt in to the store, and they'll give you a copy the day before it's supposed to be released. Sounds like a good system right?

Except if you're stupid enough to throw out your receipt.

I'm that stupid.


What to do?

Kev wants me to make the trip to Kingston to help him move, leaving Tuesday night and getting back Friday afternoon. Cheap ride there, cheap ride back, potentially free steak on Thursday, and he's already stated that he'll be paying for up to 90% of my beer consumption (luckily for him I've become a real lightweight). There's a lan party starting up Thursday afternoon and running all weekend, and I've already said 100% that I'd be there.

Sounds perfect right? Then why do I have this overwhelming sense of foreboding about the entire deal?

Seriously, I'm dreading even contemplating it. I have no idea why. I know the place isn't going to fall apart without me, and I know my brother can cook enough to stay alive (and I'm not much for cooking anyway), and I know that getting to the lan a bit late won't matter. Still, I'm filled with fear.

It's stupid. I know I'll have a good time, I know I'd like to get out of the house, I know I'd like to see whoever's still in Kingston one more time, and I know that I should be thrilled about the entire possibility.

But I'm not. I'm so conflicted.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

It's back!

Loblaws got the good pizza back! I guess enough people complained about that crap they tried to pawn off on us and dumped that entire idea.

Today is a good day.

Rain and silence

There's something special about a completely silent house on a miserable rainy day. The dull grey sky mutes the light, making it a perfect match for the quiet inside.

The only sounds are rain tapping the windows and the gusting of wind, and the quiet drone of a computer fan. Time loses meaning, and this little slice of quiet could continue forever.

I have a cup of coffee, and I'm quiet content to enjoy the silence and watch the rain.

Friday, April 22, 2005

News you can use

Scientists discover how caffeine works

This is a subject dear to my heart, and knowing that caffeine shuts off the brain receptors that receive the tiredness signals is pretty cool. Only the first page is news, the rest is tips on getting a better night's sleep, so you don't need to bother with them.

In other news, today's Yirmumah made me laugh my head off.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Ottawa is burning

All night there have been sirens blaring. They sound like fire trucks, but sometimes I can pick out an ambulance. Maybe police cars too, but mostly fire trucks. I don't know where the fires are, but the trucks keep going.

I live on an ambulance route for two hospitals, so sirens are nothing new to me. This frequency of sirens, however, is unsettling. They've been going for a good portion of the night, and they sound more urgent than normal.

With the amount of rain we got yesterday, nothing should be dry enough to burn. Or at least, it should burn slowly. If people's houses dried out enough in one day to become large fire hazards, then I'd like to know how they did it.

Tim Hortons has fancy new cups. They're back to being brown, which is a welcome change from the reddish 40th anniversary ones they used all last year. Don't ask me why, but coffee just tastes better out of a brown cup.

Also, Boston cream is the doughnut of the month, and I've been eating them as my regular doughnut for a while now. I've been listening to Dropkick Murphys a lot recently, and, unless it's traditional or otherwise indicated, every Murphys song is at least tangentially about Boston. Logical conclusion: I belong in Boston.

I've been there a few times, and honestly it's the only big American city I could ever see myself moving to. I have no desire to move to the States right now, but if I ever do, It'll be to Boston. I love that town.

I want to sit in Quincy Market with a big bowl of chowder and watch the crowds. I want to get on the T and take the red to the orange line. I want to go to John Harvard's Brew Pub and order a jug of beer. I want to walk along the boardwalk smelling the ocean winds blow in across the harbour. I want to watch MIT students nail a 300-long sequence of Perfects in Dance Dance Revolution (I saw 2 of them do it simultaneously, it blew my mind). I want to go barhopping in a kilt and sing drinking songs on the T.

Maybe some day.

Sudden realizations

I was making a bagel for breakfast when I suddenly noticed something. I eat a lot of jam. I put it on bagels, I make sandwiches with it, and I sometimes make peanut butter and jam burritos, and I always use a good amount of it. I bought the current jar 2 weeks ago, and it's half gone. That's a lot of jam to go through in 2 weeks.

Another thing I've noticed is that it actually feels weird to not have to move at the end of the month. For the past 4 years I've moved out of wherever I was living at the end of April, and now that I have a more or less permanent home, it feels strange to not have to move.

I need to get better curtains. My room is oppressively hot right now, and I can hardly stand it. Stupid sun.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Lyrics that reflect life

Not in the way you might expect, but a U2 lyric has seemingly become true for me.

In Zooropa, there's the line "Eat to get slimmer". A silly idea, right?

I have a pair of shorts that are now ridiculously too big for me. They were big even before I lost weight, and now they're like clown pants. Regardless, I was wearing them yesterday. They were generally hanging, but still staying up.

After a large dinner of burritos, they proceded to slide off.

I ate and got slimmer.

Should that even be possible?


Nobody gave me any input either way, so here's Random Wiki Extravanganza volume 6!

You know the drill, let's get down to it!

Michael Scott was president of Apple Computers from 1977 to 1981.His term ended the year I was born. My middle name is Michael. I'm scared.

Agricultural Policy is the system of subsidies given to farmers. I have nothing funny to say about farmers, so let's move on.

Deep Woods is the culfest of the Madras Christian College in Chennai, India. I have no idea what that means either. Seems like I get a lot of confusing stuff out of India in these RWEs, don't I?

Barmah is the only town in Austarlia's Victoria province to be north of New South Wales. It's also near the world's largest River Red Gum forest, and the nearby Murray River floodplain is the breeding ground for the Murray cod. Is there anything Barmah can't do?

The Francis Scott Key Bridge actually exists in two places: crossing the outer Baltimore Harbour and crossing the Potomac River between Washington DC and Arlington, Virginia. That's one talented bridge.

And there you have it. Five random facts that you most likely didn't already know. If you missed last week's, click here to read it.

Come back next week, or thereabouts, for more random wikis, or come back before then for my normal blog stylings.

One of those days

I mean that in the good way. Today was almost as perfect as a day gets. The weather was beautiful, sunny and warm without being too sunny or too hot, and with a nice breeze blowing. It's supposed to rain tomorrow, so I got all my walking urges out of my system today.

I found out the hard way that Roll up the Rim is over. Now I feel even worse about forgetting to roll up that last coffee I blogged about. Kirkey will likely come in here to yell at me for it again, and I still feel I deserve it.

If you plead guilty, you take away everybody's weapons against you. Except for guilt, of course.

With that I run out of things to say.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

No random wikis tonight

I don't feel like writing anything tonight, so I won't having a Random Wiki Extravaganza. Maybe tomorrow if anybody even cares about it. Steve, I know you mentioned it in the poker games, but one night you said you liked it and the next you said you didn't really care for it, so I'm confused.

I think I might go to bed before 3 tonight. I need to start sleeping better, but there's just so much to do on the internet at night. Like write in a blog... Hm, maybe I'm shooting myself in the foot here.

Well, nobody really needs both feet.

In other news, my writing projects have stalled. Maybe it's just writer's block and I can get stuff flowing with a meaningless side project. Maybe I'll try that tomorrow if I feel up to the task.

All this creativity (or the lack thereof) really eats into my jobhunting time. maybe I can combine the two. If anybody knows a good way to get your ideas heard by people in the relevant industries, I'd greatly appreciate knowing it.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Oh Guild Wars, you so cray-zay

As of this sentence there are just under 3 hours left until Guild Wars finishes its last public beta event. I should be playing, but I just can't get motivated to do anything in the game, because I know it'll be over soon.

I've heard that they might be erasing everybody's characters when the game launches. I've gotten rather attached to my warrior monk, and I don't want to see him get erased. Sure, I can just make another one, but it's the principle of the thing. I spent a lot of time leveling and doing pointless question to get the skills and armour and weapon I have now, and it's not fair to just erase all that work. I just got armour that had actual pants, for whoever's sake!

Normally warrior armour has leggings that don't leave much to the imagination. Most likely to make their opponents avert their eyes in disgust. Clever bunch, those exhibitionist warriors.

With 4 hours left in the beta, the cities were hotbeds of furious economic action. People were selling their goods for ridiculous prices, making trades that they ordinarily wouldn't even consider, and a lot of people were just giving things away. It was a madhouse.

Personally, I made a bizarre trade (I was trying to get rid of stuff and help my fellow player at the same time. I'm like that sometimes). The trade was for two different types of crafting supplies (you get some of the right types and a guy in town makes armour and weapons for you). I traded a steel ingot (cash value 30 gold) for 2 shells (cash value 3 gold each). No reason to make such a bad trade, but I did it anyway. Steel is tough to get, you need the right item and a special salvage kit, which costs a fortune. Shells you can find anywhere.

Just in case the rumours of impending deletion were false, I kept a good supply of all the crafting supplies I had, plus all my money and gear. If the rumours are true, then I wouldn't benefit from it anyway. No sense feeding the madness.

Here lies Scott the Green, level 15 Warrior/Monk. Swordsman and enchanter with a tendency to play air guitar on the field of combat.

He shall be missed

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Sin City is pretty okay

Finally got out to watch Sin City last night. I liked it, but it could have been better. It definitely looked like a comic book brought to life, which was what they were going for, and they did it so well I expected to see panels. The narration was a really nice touch too.

As a comic adaptation, it was perfect. As a movie, it was good.

Speaking of perfection, Frank Miller's Sim City is a near perfect adaptation of the source material, parodied through Sim City.

After the movie we played poker, and Steve was out first, as he always is. Even though he was the last person to get eliminated, he was out first. I didn't do nearly as well as Thursday night, and I got eliminated second. I won the first hand, and I think I started a long, slow losing skid right after that.

Mat won, after arbitrarily raising the blinds a few times. The first time he did it I quickly found out who among my friends reads this because they broke out laughing, just like I did. The game did go faster though, only taking 4 hours instead of 5, with 7 players at the start.

Now, Guild Wars is running, so I must go do some pointless questing.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Steve went out first, as always

Played poker last night, as we tend to do on Thursdays after midnight. The game went a lot longer than usual, and we didn't finish until after 5. In the morning. We played for 5 hours, with a starting table of 5 guys.

Steve actually went out third, but I felt the need to bug him. I put him all in, but I forget what I had. A straight maybe? There were lots of straights floating around, and I really only remember one specific hand, the one I won the game with.

It was Cid and I in the final, and it seemed as soon as we went heads-up I couldn't get bad cards. I think I got dealt suited cards more in the hour we played heads-up than I did the entire rest of the game. They didn't help much seeing how the table cards refused to follow suit, but Cid and I chipped away at each other. He bluffed me a lot, I bluffed him a lot, it went back and forth.

Finally, last hand came. I was dealt a queen and jack, and the flop was a queen and two 5s. We bet, and I went all in on the turn. Turns out Cid had a queen as well, but he had a 4 kicker.

I like winning with the kicker. It's aptly named, because it's a kick in the pants.

It was actually kind of relaxing playing without Mat there. The blinds didn't get arbitrarily raised, and there was much less yelling than normal. Only problem was, well, it took 5 hours.

The plan for today is dinner at the buffet, then Sin City, then more poker with everybody who wants to play. Can I repeat as winner? Only time will tell.

I downloaded a bunch of songs by the Dropkick Murphys. I'd almost forgotten how awesome these guys are.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

I am a bad Canadian

I just got back from Tim Hortons. Halfway through the walk back, I realized I had forgotten to roll up the rim.

I've never felt like a failure as badly as I did at that moment.

If there's an unclaimed Envoy in the Eastern Ontario region when the contest is done, it's mine.

I'm still in shock.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

This too shall pass

Now that I have pencils, I have no urge to draw. Guess that was just a passing desire. It's not too big of a loss, seeing how I don't have any proper sketch pads anyway, and things drawn on lined paper look kind crappy (plus it's a pain to remove the lines after you scan it).

So, another thing in my life passes by the wayside. Hurray. Maybe someday...

Tuesday, April 12, 2005


Good (time of day) to you all, and welcome to Random Wiki Extravaganza volume 5. The weekly blog feature where I pull up 5 or more random pages from Wikipedia for the sole purpose of entertainment and possibly to teach you some extremely trivial trivia.

Is there any better kind of trivia? Let's find out!

A flavin-containing monooxygenase system is used for oxidation in metabolizing drugs, and it doesn't oxidize carbon atoms. I guess that's good news.

State-owned enterprises are businesses that are owned by the government. I bet you never would have figured that out from the name.

Israel Lopez is a Mexican soccer player with a cool name. Seriously, say it out loud with a Spanish accent.

Murray Elston was an Ontario Liberal representing the Huron-Bruce riding (which was later renamed Bruce) from 1981-1994. He was interim party leader in 1991, but apparently wasn't good enough at it to keep the job.

Ray Lee Hunt owns a portion of Hunt Oil Co. He's much richer than me.

One more? One more.

Encarnacion is a sculpting technique involving multiple steps of painting, varnishing, and sanding, which give the statue a life-like glow.

Seems like these RWEs just fly by. If you want to read last week's, then click here. Otherwise, don't click there. Or click there and then close the window, just for a larf.

Regardless, tune in next week, where I'll do it all over again!

Monday, April 11, 2005

A tour de force

Check out my guest spot of Kevin G's blog, where I bring balance to the Force. Or at least make myself look like an enormous long-winded nerd. Either case is acceptable.

In other news of ultimate excitement, I got a 5 pack of mechanical pencils. My old one had been broken ever since I lent it to Greg in 3rd year, and I finally got sick of having to screw the top back on every 3 seconds. I wanted to get 1 good pencil, but the 5 pack was the right price. I'm not expecting perfection, just something that writes and doesn't fall apart on me.

Staples doesn't seem to sell single 0.7 pencils anyway. I need a 0.7, because if I use a 0.5 I'll just break the lead every time I put the slightest pressure on it. I've tried to use them, I just can't. Curse this horrendously muscular body of mine!

I've been struck by the sudden urge to draw, and that really came out of nowhere. I was in Staples waiting for Barrel to get his business cards (which turned out amazingly, by the way), and I thought "I feel like drawing". Getting the pencils was just a happy coincedence.

As for the cards, we decided to go with the first idea we had, which was a watery background and black font, with different parts coloured for emphasis. I was concerned about the text being too small, but it turned out top-notch. My compliments to Staples for an excellent print job.

The day concluded with lunch at A&W and Barrel's power steering pump breaking itself, and I have laundry in the washer now. I think things peaked with lunch.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

There's nothing better than misappropriated steak

The other night at the grocery store, the cashier pointed out a bag I had apparently missed. I didn't think too much of it until I got home and noticed that the bag contained an $11 steak. I certainly didn't buy it, and I have no idea how I wound up with it.

It was a nice cut of meat, thick and juicy. I took some pictures of it to show Kevin, and now I can show you.
Steak, courtesy of www.ImageShack.usMore steak, courtesy of www.ImageShack.us

Big steak. Funny steak.

And oh so good.

Sorry, memories of dinner rendered me unable to form a real sentence. Now then, how did this happen? Who would buy a steak and then leave it at the cash? Did they just not see it? Did they purposely leave it, knowing that a poor man who otherwise couldn't afford it would be able to have a nice steak dinner? Was it laced with deadly poison and left as a trap by militant vegans?

That last one is a long shot, but one I'm still a bit concerned about. If I don't post anything on here tomorrow, you'll know my fate. If it was poisonous, well, tastiest death ever.

Regardless, thank you mystery steak giver. Your kindness, intentional or not, shall not be forgotten.

I finally did it

I beat Ninja Gaiden. The ending was a letdown.

Nothing funny (or even interesting) to say about it, I just wanted to let the world know.

I've run out of games I want to play. after beating Ninja Gaiden and setting the speed records on every boxer in Super Punch-Out, there's nothing left for me to play.

Maybe I'll find all the endings for Chrono Trigger.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Nothing a swift kick to the teeth can't solve

Every personal problem can be solved by kicking the offending party in the teeth. No warning, no notice, just BAM!

Landlord nagging you for the rent? Kick him in the teeth.
Girlfriend wants to break up with you? Kick her in the teeth.
Acting like a jerk to someone? Get kicked in the teeth.

Equality is a two-way street, and if everybody was aware of the fact that they could get kicked in the teeth for provoking someone else, I think everybody would be a lot nicer. If not nicer, more civil. Civility leads to peacefulness, so a worldwide freedom to kick people in the teeth just might bring about all that world peace people seem to like so much.

Now, getting back to being serious for a minute, I was supposed to go see Sin City tonight, but plans got muddled, and now at least a few people I was supposed to go with are an hour away. I'm not sure what happened, but I don't have enough information to be able to kick anybody in the teeth for it. Lucky for all of us.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Lousy ink

The brand new colour ink cartridge started struggling after printing 63 flyers. Granted, they did have a full-colour background, but I expected to get at least a hundred out if it. The new black one is doing just fine, but the colour is in rough shape.

I tried printing another one a while later, and the colour seemed better, so maybe I just need to wait for a while so I can get a few more out of it. Here's hoping, anyway.

The flyers look pretty good. We have both the mail-out and tear-off varieties, so we've got all our bases covered. Ahh yeah.

In other news, level 6 of Ninja Gaiden is driving me insane.

It's up

Barrel's website is now up. Don't believe me? Here's proof. You might not care, but I do. Starting on April 20th, if you need a vehicle washed anywhere in the Ottawa region, give him a call and he'll go do what he does.

Now I have a bunch of flyers to print, but naturally I'm putting that off for no good reason. I think it's mostly because I don't feel like putting in the ink cartridges we got just for the flyers, but it's probably also a matter of not wanting to deal with large stacks of paper.

Regardless, I'll do those later. Right now I'm talking about Wookiees with Greg, and they take priority over most things.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005


End of the world!

Yup, I decided to replace the title text with a nifty logo. In addition, should you want to put a link button on your site, I have one available now.


I made a blogness card

It's like a business card, but for blogs. It's got a nifty logo and everything.

What do you write on a card designed to tell people you have a blog? Right now mine looks like it's half an advertisement for a web design/programming house that doesn't actually exist, half a description of what it is I do here. My dilemma: do I try to make this a business, or do I keep it all light-hearted and fun?

I'm leaning towards the fun, but I like the idea of a company named Qv7. Sounds all futuristic and cool. Maybe.

I showed Barrel one of my ideas, and he thinks it could really catch on. I'm just not really sure how I'm going to make it work. When I do, I might get a business license and make this funny little muddle of ideas into something.

Until then, I'll keep dreaming.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

The perks

First, read this: Dinosaur comic

T-rex speaks the truth, that really is one of the perks.

On another note, I'm just now discovering the awesomeness of Dinosaur Comics. I'd heard of it, even read a strip here and there, but never actually sat down and got into it. The author uses the same art but writes a new strip every day. Same settings, same characters, same sequence of events, but every strip is different, and he almost always hits a dinger.

I think this is the first time I've ever announced how enamoured I was with a newly-discovered comic strip. It may be the last time, I don't know.

Read from the beginning


I appear to be spyware-free. I'm doing a happy dance.

Barrel and I decided to put off the webpage stuff until tomorrow. We spend most of today running around getting business stuff, and the van now weighs roughly 9 million tons, and that's without filling the water tanks. It's gonna be beefy when he gets it fully up and running, that's for sure.

After buying a wet/dry vac at Home Depot, he ran into some guy he worked with way back in the past, and managed to secure some business. I seriously don't know how he does it.

Regardless, tomorrow's another day.


You know it, I know it, it's Random Wiki Extravaganza volume 4! The weekly blog feature where I find random pages on Wikipedia.

Are you as excited as I am? Too late, here we go!

Nishaya is one of Asimov's planets in the Foundation series, known for its goat herds and excellent cheese.

Samuel Fessenden was an American Abolitionist, lawmaker, militiaman, and early Republican.

Lebensraum was was used as justification for the Nazi practice of occupying other countries. It means "living space", and basically says that Germany is too small for the Germans because people expand to fill any available space. Population-wise, not individually.

The Border Intercollegiate Athletic Association was an NCAA affiliate that disbanded in 1962, after 30 years of representing schools from states along the Mexican border.

K. H. Scheer started to write the Perry Rhodan novels in 1961. I'm not sure what that means, but that's the entire wiki right there in one sentence.

That last one barely counts, let's get another one.

The Volvo V70 was introduced in 1998, and I want one. I don't care if it's a full-size station wagon, I like Volvos.

And there it is, 6 amazing topics that you might not have known about before tonight! Tune in next week when I do it all again.

Previous editions:
Volume 1
Volume 2
Volume 3

If you pay attention to the titles, I don't keep them very consistent, do I? That will change, and from now on all Random Wiki Extravaganzae will be titled "RWEvX" where X is the volume number. How clever!

Like a digital St. George

I went on a spyware hunting binge tonight. I figure the spyware is like a dragon, and by destroying it, I'm acting like St. George, except I'm killing it with a comuter instead of a lance or whatever else he's supposed to have used.

I noticed something was odd when I was getting IE-specific spyware when I don't use IE. I'd noticed that the the same few things kept coming up in my search with Spyhunter, so I decided to try with Ad-Aware and Spybot.

I first became suspicious when both of those told me I had the most up-to-date definitions, when both were still dated 2004. I installed new versions of both, and lo and behold, there are new definitions. Ad-Aware found almost 200 things on my computer, and Spybot is running right now.

I uninstalled Spyhunter. As far as I'm concerned, it's worthless.

Spybot has an immunization against bad plugins for Opera. I didn't even know Opera plugins could automatically install. You learn something every day. Naturally I turned on all the immunizations for IE (plugins, link redirects, host file updates, whatever else it offers), because even though I don't use it, it never hurts to be protected.

In addition, I ran HijackThis to hopefully permanently clean out a lot of things, changed my startup list in msconfig, and manually uninstalled and deleted suspicious-looking programs.

I'll tell you tomorrow if any of the above were successful, and Random Wiki Extravaganza will be coming up shortly. It might be a good one tonight, I hope.

Monday, April 04, 2005

There's a-doins a-transpirin

Things might be in motion. Just got off the phone with Steve (I know too many Steves, so from now on he will be known as Barrel), and we're going to sit down and hammer out the webpage wording tomorrow. After that, or possibly before that, we're hitting up Staples to get the flyers and business cards printed. I designed the cards and had a good deal of input into the flyer, so I'm finally going to get the chance to see something I worked on go into actual use.

The cards are really cool too, sleek black with white writing and a nifty logo. They'll defintely stand out, and they look badass while doing it. Maybe I'll make one for myself and hand it out to people, or possibly make one for this site. Not sure why a blog needs a business card, but maybe I can whore myself out as a substitute blogger.

I'm scheduled to do a guest spot on Kevin G.'s blog next week, so that's a start.

Now if I could only apply this enthusiasm to getting a real job, or starting up my own business. I have lots of good ideas, but none of them are immediately profitable. Perhaps I can get my foot in the door of an R&D firm, someday.

Guess that'll be the dream, for now.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Ryu Hyabusa saves daylight

If you never played the original Ninja Gaiden, this post will be nonsense.

I decided to give Ninja Gaiden another try. It's still impossible, but now I'm getting stuck in level 4 instead of 5 like I had been.

I have the NES and SNES versions, and I really prefer the SNES. It comes with all 3 original Ninja Gaidens, even though only the first one is worth playing. The graphics are nicer and I think it controls better, even though the overall gameplay stays blistering fast and frustrating.

I don't know how getting shot can take off 1 bar of life and getting touched by a bird can take off 3, but that's the decision the programmers made, and we all have to live with it.

In true Ninja Gaiden fashion, Ryu set the clocks ahead an hour for daylight savings time. He ran through the house at top speed, jumping off the walls and chopping up bugs and lanterns to get the goodies hidden inside. Along the way he got knocked out of midair by an assortment of birds, and avoided army guys who could jump an unusually long distance.

Because of his methods, he got to each clock in a different amount of time, and after setting them all ahead an hour, none of them had the same time. Because setting each clock to be the same as all the others would be an arduous task, he decided to save it for the sequel. Sadly, the game turned out terrible and nobody in their right mind played it.

Thus, all the clocks in my house have a different time on them. This is the official explanation. Mr. Hyabusa is not available for comment, as he is currently off in search of demon statues.

Percentages vs Pixels

Once again, I'm stymied by a design decision about the webpage. Initially I thought that doing the sizes of the text boxes as a percentage of the window size would be the best idea, in the mistaken assumption that the empty space on the sides would be replaced by text for people running at lower resolutions. Because a text box was set to 60% of the screen width and that point, 40% of each line was blank. I then realized that it would stay the same for everybody.

In other words, somebody running at a low resolution would get the same 40% blank space, and the text would cover a lot of lines.

I switched it to a fixed width, measured in pixels. I made it so that widest boxes would still fit on the lowest resolution screens. This was great, until I realized that not everybody runs their web browser maximized, and that for some users I'd be making them do a bunch of horizontal scrolling, and nobody likes that. Nobody.

So, I went back to the percentage system, but using larger numbers. Right now my biggest text boxes are 85% of the screen, and it stays that way for every window size.

I think this is the best solution, and I'm a little upset that it took me 3 tries to figure it out. It's common sense really. Avoiding scrolling and minimizing wasted space are two admirable goals, and I'm finally accomplishing them both, I think.

With this fascinating look into my amateurish web design now completed, I offer to you a burning question:

What colour would a Wookiee Jedi's lightsaber be?

Friday, April 01, 2005

I am a drain on society

I did my taxes tonight. Without getting into specifics, I'm getting a very nice refund. That's right, I do nothing all day and the government gives me money for it. Life is good.

If only I could get a tax return more than once a year...

Definitely a bizarre night

I went to play poker at Steve's last night. We tend to do this on Thursday nights, for some reason. We don't start til 11 or so (after Steve gets off work), and we go til whenever we're done.

It started out fairly normally, I got picked up and we went to pick Thaila up, then Steve called looking for a ride. We booted downtown and after he got off work we somehow crammed him into the back seat with us. Now, nobody in that car was what you'd call "little", and the back seat was bizarrely narrow.

I'm still not sure how we pried ourselves out, but I'm pretty sure the first person getting up made a sound like a cork popping.

When we got upstairs, the entire living room was full of porn magazines. I guess one of Steve's housemates got them for free, but they were everywhere. Every table, every chair, the floor around the TV, wall to wall porn. I won't pass judgement on the quality, but I will say that there was one shoot where the guy was done up in full zombie makeup. The girls were normal. I'm still scratching my head about that.

On to the actual poker. Every hand had an 8 come up on the table. I can only remember two hands that didn't, and getting an 8 dealt to you was basically a guaranteed way to win the hand. I got a steady stream of low-high combinations, but I managed to do pretty well, and I was chip leader for a while.

Steve was the first to get knocked out, and then the game stayed in stasis for another hour or so. People won big hands, lost big hands, but the chip balance stayed more or less even. Except for mine, mine steadily decreased.

I'd been getting terrible hands dealt to me, and even when I got something good I got beaten. I was down to a pretty short stack, so when I got dealt a pair of jacks, I knew I had to make my move. I went all in, and Mat called me without even looking at his cards. Lo and behold, he had aces.

I hate poker.

Until next week.