Thursday, January 28, 2010

Etiquette and Protocol

I found myself in another awkward situation today.  Suppose you're walking through a thin space, like the gap between some cubes at work.  There's a man sitting in the alleyway of the cubes, and you need to squeeze past him to continue on.  It's a tight fit, so either you've got to turn sideways, and either give him a bit of your backyard, or have your package be about 2 inches from the back of his head and neck.  What do you choose?  I actually was actually squeezing through using one of these techniques, took a step back, and then went past him using the other technique, because it seemed the lesser of two evils.


(In this case the guy in the hall and the guy he's talking to are circles, and you are a Mike and Ike.)

So I ask you, fair citizens, what would you choose?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Tuesday Randomings

You maggots wanna live forever?

*shuffle*

I've talked about Stick It before, but that movie owes a large debt of gratitude to Bring It On, that's for sure.  And I'm not sure what's more weird:  The fact that there's so many direct to dvd sequels, or that I've never seen any.

*shuffle*

Boston.com's photographs from Haiti are eye-opening.  Just to warn you, some are very graphic, and all are quite depressing.

*shuffle*

After living in our current apartment for nearly a month we finally have things arranged and put away to a satisfactory degree.  It's amazing, there's so much room in the place and it still doesn't seem big enough for our purposes.  At this point I think we'd trade the extra bedroom for a few closets interspersed throughout the apartment.

*shuffle*

I need a haircut soon, but I don't think that I'm ballsy enough to give this a try.  I'm more of a Space Invaders fan anyhow. 

*shuffle*

Speaking of video games, guess how many I've played this winter.  Two.  Just Modern Warfare 2, and Left 4 Dead 2.  How pathetic is that?  College aged Gregor would be sorely dissappointed in Working aged Gregor.  However, there's a bunch of good games coming out soon (Mass Effect 2 comes out today!) that I'd like to play, plus a handful of games from 2009 that I'd still like to play through.  After we get all caught up on our re-watch of season 5 of Lost I should be good to go.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

PlayStation


As part of my "moving in with the gf and getting a place of my own" I've been trying to clear a bunch of stuff out of my parents house.  Some of it was left there for lack of room during college, but the majority of it was plain laziness.  However, this past weekend I gathered up my original Playstation and games from the basement and put it in a box to be donated.  I believe I got the Playstation as a gift somewhere around 1997, right after the DualShock controllers had come out.  I remember that the decision between a N64 and a PlayStation was one that I weighed for weeks, with a scribbling of paper listing the pros and cons, but ultimately decided on PlayStation for some reason.  The first games I got for it were mostly of the racing persuasion, for some reason.  Cart World Series, Sled Storm, Test Drive Offroad, and Test Drive 5 were all included in the first Christmas, and all of them were pretty fun.  However, I had this thing where I HATED paying more than $30 for a game, so I ended up buying of the $5.99 demo discs(you see, before there was the internet you had to buy discs with demos on them, rather then just download them) and also a lot of trash.  Blade the video game (TERRIBLE) is Chieften of the terrible games, and Spec Ops:  Stealth Patrol is close behind it.  Seriously, look at that cover.  Just not good.

There were a bunch of great games that I owned, however.  Tenchu:  Stealth Assassins was released around the same time as Metal Gear Solid, and so it's stealth gameplay was overshadowed, but Tenchu had ninjas who could breath fire, which MGS was sorely lacking on.  And Syphon Filter was a great 3rd person shooter that also was overshadowed by MGS, but lives on via the PSP.  Star Wars:  Demolition was like Twisted Metal set in the Star Wars universe, and was a blast for how absurd it was.  Case in point:  Everyone else uses vehicles like land speeders and AT-ST walkers, but Boba Fett flies around with just a jetpack.  Example here.



Oh Boba you soooooo crazy.

And one of the the games I discovered via the demo discs was Colony Wars:  Red Sun, which remains one of my favorite games ever.  The story was sweet, and the missions were very cool...protecting convoys from maruading space pirates, defending interstellar bases.  Plus you could buy new ships, and upgrade the weapons on them.  This stuff was groundbreakingly cool for 1997.



Sadly, all good things must come to an end, and the days of PS2 and Xbox doomed the Playstation.  But for a few years I loved that system, and it was a good dose of nostalgia to look through all those old games.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Family Values

My mom has 7 siblings, and my dad has 6 siblings, so family get-togethers are always an experience.  Including cousins, and now the children of the cousins, that's 45 people on my mom's side and 56 on my dad's.  Typically we have to hold our annual Christmas parties in January, in order to accomodate everyone's busy holiday schedule.  And no one on my mom's side has a house big enough to hold anyone, so we have it at the local church hall.


My aunt Nancy on my dad's side told me an interesting story this past weekend when we had my dad's family Christmas.  Back when she was around 13 (this was around 1960, I believe) my Grandma's side of the family would get together for Christmas at each one of her sibling's houses every day after Christmas for a week, until they had visited everyone's house.  They all lived within 20 miles of each other and since all of the kids were on vacation for the week between Christmas and New Years they figured it was the best time to see everyone.  After the dad of the family got home from work they'd pile into their cars and drive over to Sibling A's house on the 26th, Sibling B's house on the 27th, etc.  Kind of crazy, but also a pretty neat way to celebrate the holidays.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Thursday Randomings

Onward to glory.

*shuffle*

REEEDD LIIIGHT CHALLENGE!  For those of us who have watched Cash Cab this gives you a nice behind the scenes look at how it goes down, from the perspective of the contestants.

*shuffle*

So with a vacation coming up at the beginning of February (MEXICO!) I figured it was a good time to go to a tanning salon.  I have a tendency to get burnt while on winter vacation to warmer climates (even last year, when I went to a tanning salon like 8 times before the vacation), and I told myself I wouldn't let that happen this time.  So I found a local place that was running a deal of 4 tans for $3 dollars, and the lady recommended I use tanning lotion as well.  There were signs all over the place stating "30 seconds - how long it takes for the UV rays to begin working when you use lotion.  6-7 minutes - how long it takes without lotion."  So I bought lotion, and it seems to be working so far, but I definitely end up smelling like a stripper when I get done.

Not that I know what they smell like.

*shuffle*

I've talked about this before, but this post from Gizmodo does a great job of demonstrating the Social Acceptance of various Geek Subgenres.  I find myself right in the middle.  *whew*

*shuffle*

For Ric's bday we went to COA, a Mexican restaurant in the Bayshore mall.  Food was good, though (as the review mentions) the restaurant has an identity crisis between what it thinks it is and what it actually is.  They serve "street food," as they like to call it, but it's presented very well and the prices match the quality.  Advertising it as "street food" gives it the connotation that it's cheap and quick.  So if you're looking for that I'd recommend the Taco Bell up the street.

*shuffle*

Recently The New York Times published an interactive map of Netflix Queues in some of the bigger cities in the US.  The data presented is historical, and with enough digging people have been pulling out some very interesting queues from specific Zip Codes.  The readers on Slate picked out some choice ones, the best one being 90073 which is home to the Veteren's Administration whose number 1 in the queue is Swimming with Sharks.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Confession Time

A conversation with Blaze this morning was kind of eye opening.  We were discussing this article on Cracked about insane fan theories that actually made movies better, and he started talking about The Neverending Story, a movie of which I have never seen.


Though maybe I should, look at that freaking thing.

And I started thinking about other things like this, in which pretty much everyone else (it seems) has seen or experienced or had knowledge of something but for whatever reason I have not.  Here's what I could come up with:
  • I didn't know that a "churchkey" was a bottle opener.  There's even a bar in Madison called The Church Key, but I never put 2 and 2 together.  I only found this out about 3 weeks ago.
  • I've never been a big fan of The Simpsons, and have probably only watched 10 episodes in my entire life.
  • I only like two, maybe three U2 songs.  The only one I can think of right now is "Desire."
  • I've never been a big fan of college basketball.  I'll fill out the brackets when March Madness rolls around, but other than that I don't have much attachment for the game.
I'm sure there's gotta be more.  So it's time to fess up, all the rest of you.  Have you never seen The Goonies until you were 20 years old?  Are you from Wisconsin but not a Packer fan?

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Tzatziki

I will make a bold proclamation right now.  2010 will be the year of Tzatziki!  You may be thinking, "what the frak is tzatziki??"  The answer, my dear friends, is cucumber sauce, the same stuff you slather on gyros! 




The delicious mix of strained yoghurt (usually sheep's-milk or goat's-milk in Greece and Turkey) mixed with cucumbers, garlic, salt, and olive oil isn't just for gyros anymore.  We had Oakland Gyros delivered to us on Monday, and we used the cucumber sauce for dipping chips and carrots into as well.  It was great, and something other than ranch to dip food in.

But that is only the start, dear friends.  I will be beginning a rigorous taste test to find out the best things to put Tzatziki on.  Hot dogs?  Nachos?  Cereal?!?!  Everything shall be tried, and devoured.  Wish me luck.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

2010 Goals

Rather than label these as resolutions I believe I shall call them "Goals."
  1. Sky Dive. Failed in doing this last year, so it's a pretty high priority for this year.
  2. Learn First Aid. See #1.
  3. Volunteer for Habitat for Humanity. See #1.
  4. Finances. Last year I did a decent job getting my finances in order, but this year I'm going to take it one step farther. Every Monday morning I'm going to enter the balances of all of my accounts into an Excel spreadsheet. Currently I use Mint.com for keeping track of all of my info, but there doesn't seem to be a way to find out exactly how much money is in each account at a specific point in the past, so this will alleviate that issue. Plus typing in each dollar amount will make the money seem more "real," and I won't plunge back into spending willy-nilly.
  5. Blog 2x a week. The frequency of my blog posts has been rather sporadic the past 6 months or so (as you can see over to the right), but blogging helps clear my head, and is good for the soul. I'll be posting every Tuesday and Thursday (as it seems that many other blogs post Monday-Wednesday-Friday so this will fill in the gaps). I plan on working ahead a bit to get a few different posts "in the hopper" ready to deploy in case work gets in the way.
  6. Get rid of some of my stuff. Moving reinforces the fact that I plain old have too much worthless crap. Boxes full of stuff that I kept just in case. It's foolish, and considering we just moved into a new place and there STILL isn't enough room, I think it's time to make a change. We've already gathered 3 or 4 boxes of stuff we realized right away that we didn't need, but as time goes on I'm going to take a good hard look at all of our stuff, and figure out what stays and what goes. Most of it will be donated, but some could be sold on Craigslist for some extra money, and there ain't nothing wrong with that.
  7. Spend more time with Family. I have two nieces, ages 5 and 2. I see them 8 times a year, if I'm lucky. I have two brothers, one sister-in-law, and one girlfriend of a brother. I see them about 5 times a year. I have two parents. And I see them 15 times a year. This isn't enough for me. We've moved a bit closer to all of them recently, and now that the girls are older and everyone is settling down it'll be easier for them to come down to visit also. Hopefully we'll be able to plan camping trips and other vacations around seeing them, 2 birds 1 stone.
Best of luck to all of you in 2010.  If you need help keeping track of your goals for the year I recommend this little webapp.  You "check-in" every time you do one of your goals that has a frequency.  I'll be doing it for my blogging.