July 23, 2007
Thursday afternoon, two friends and I went on what is becoming an annual trip up to Blue Ridge Reservoir for a few days of summer R&R.
The basic shape of the lake is that of a horseshoe.
Two years ago, we hiked down to a campsite above the last fork on the southern end of the horseshoe. Last year, when we returned to the same site, the water level had dropped so far (about 15') that we had no direct access to float the canoe. We had to slog across 10 yards of mud to get to the water line.
This year we decided to float our equipment from the boat ramp (a few turns west of the dam) back to the campsite. If we didn't have water access to our preferred site, we could find something near deeper water.
The water level was down an additional 10'. Not only was our primary site dry, but so was our backup. The dam used to be managed by Phelps Dodge, and they tended to keep the water level high for recreational purposes. Two years ago, control of the dam was turned over to Salt River Project, and they've proceeded to sell off much of the water in the reservoir.
July 16, 2007
Courtesy of Ouran High School Host Club.
July 12, 2007
Two in one day? Oh the humanity!
I got this link in an email earlier today. I've needed to get a .22 pistol for quite some time. I'd been considering a 22LR conversion for my Kimber, but in the long run it wouldn't be practical to tear my gun apart every time I wanted to go plink. Converting the Mak makes a bit more sense. Everyone stock 45 ammo, but 9X18 Mak is much less common. I wouldn't bother taking the conversion out unless I really wanted to boost the hitting power of the Mak.
The reason I hesitate is that the kit cost as much as I paid for the Mak in the first place.
Well, I dont want it to sound like I'm giving up on this just yet, but I am beginning to run up against those wonderful "features" WMM is so well known for.
In its prototype form, the video was very simple and straight forward. Now that I'm trying to make a bit more out of it, I'm starting to run into random lockups and a serious lack of options.
There are a lot of transitions available, but most of them look too damned cheesy to be of any use for my purposes.
Only being able to adjust timing down to 0.07 second increments is a bit annoying. I'm sure there are settings to play with this, but if I'm a little long in one clip, I'll make it up in the next. Chasing center is always fun and there's nothing like trying to trim out with the yoke... grr...
July 09, 2007
I can't begin to guess what ADV is thinking by licensing Xenosaga: The Animation. There was a recent bit of discussion about how ADV can still make B titles profitable, but I didn't think they were going this deep in the barrel.
ADV must have got a smoking deal on this license.
The animation is a sub-par adaptation of a niche sci-fi RPG. Anyone who's even remotely interested in the anime will have likely already grabbed the fansubs from 2005. I don't see ADV being able to add anything to the title that will draw back fans who have moved on after the game series was prematurely terminated. I don't find the character designs particularly enjoyable, and there are plot holes you could swing a galaxy through. That's because the plot of the anime doesn't include any material from the third episode of the game series. If they're hoping for impulse buys, I don't think this is going to be it.more...
June 27, 2007
Back in the day, I mentioned a little project I wanted to work up one of these days.
The rough draft is done. I was surprised at how quick it went together once I found most of the pieces I needed. Having done no prior video editing, Windows Movie Maker didn't come across as the clunky piece of junk most people say it is. I'm sure if I were to work with a more fully-featured piece of software, I'd have similar thoughts.
But I really don't want to put it up for God and everyone to download until I have a couple key people give it a look over, gather some opinions, and make some revisions. I also don't want to decimate the monthly bandwidth allowance. The 3:57 file is about 40MB. (but it's probably the height of arrogance to assume I'd get enough interest to burn all my allotment.) My hope is to put up a private password-protected page so those key people could review the video and comment. After that, I'll probably just throw it up on Youtube or something.
Supposedly, there are improvements in the works to make just such limited access possible.
*wink wink nudge nudge*
June 26, 2007
Memo to US Senate:
That is all.
June 21, 2007
I play on a municipal D-league softball team Thursday nights. Each week during the 6-week regular season, we play a double-header of one hour games at 6:30 & 7:30, or 8:30 & 9:30. We're now into week 7, the first week of the double-elimination tournament.
The green-screen jockeys are calling for potential record highs near 112º today. That should put the temperature at about 102º at 8pm.
Tonight we play in the 6:30 7:30 slots. Remind me again why I live in the desert?
UPDATE: Well that didn't quite go as planned. The first game was a close loss to a team that could charitably be called "unsportsman-like." The second was a solid win against a team that we've played many times before and that knows how to win or loose gracefully. That puts us in a rather awkward position. We could still theoretically win this thing, but that means a marathon four games in a row next week, starting at 6:30. It's too bad I'm being forced to go on a business trip that very day.
June 15, 2007
I'm going to try to avoid politics around here if I can, but a potentially severe problem has crossed my mind recently that I have yet to hear brought up by any talking heads on either side of the issue. It may be that no one is thinking this far ahead, or it's something no one wants to bring up for fear of giving anyone ideas.more...
June 11, 2007
I've been a fan of the Xenosaga series from the moment it was announced. Early rumors reported it as a spiritual sequel to Xenogears (one of my favorite games of all time). In some ways it turned out to be that sequel, but in the many ways necessary to make a financially successful game, it failed miserably.
In a severe over-reaction to complaints that the Episode 1 characters looked too "cartoony" by people (re: morons) in the US, the developers revamped the character designs to make them more realistic. One casualty of this change was the bonus figure included with the special edition release of Episode 2. Somebody didn't have their head screwed on straight when they approved the mold. The Japanese took to calling it " jashin MOK-KOS" for its almost demonic and ugly appearance.
The first I'd ever heard of MOK-KOS was seeing this Flash file linked from the now-defunct zenosaga.com forums. Every once in a while, MOK-KOS will make a cameo appearance in some little thing coming out of Japan. That Lucky Star crossover yesterday reminded me I still had this file. I always get a chuckle when I see it.
June 08, 2007
There is just so much random stuff thrown in this video that I can't quite wrap my mind around it. (beware a bit of naughtiness in the ASCII art)
There's one particular inside joke in there (between 0:36 and 0:38, or 1:19 and 1:17 if you're looking at the countdown) that is insanely obscure and about three years old. The tragic part is that not only did I get it, but I couldn't stop laughing about it for a couple minutes.
June 04, 2007
When it comes to hard sci-fi, I am not a well-read individual. I'm much more familiar with fantasy literature (but that's still not saying much).
I've had an idea kicking around for a bit to write a story.
What I want to know is, has there ever been a sci-fi story set in the extreme distant future? I'm not talking about 1,000 years, or even 100,000 years. I'm talking about a story set so far in the future that the Second Law has had its way with the Universe. The last few red-dwarf stars are guttering out and any exergy source is priceless. Universal expansion has spread everything so thin that, even traveling faster than light, trips would consume decades, centuries, and millenia. There are no points of reference left. The universe is littered (thinly) with dark objects to smack into. All in all it's a pretty dreadful scenario. There are a few fictional works listed in this Wikipedia entry, none of which I've read I'm afraid.
My basic setting is based on projecting *ahem* knowable knowns, knowable unknowns, unknowable knowns, and unknowable unknowns way out into the future:
What if humanity becomes capable of mastering our corporeal form (aging, death and hunger all but unheard of through genetic engineering and mechanical augmentation), but never masters FTL travel? At this point, c still looks like a hard speed limit. I've run into a lot of people who say, "Well, we broke the sound barrier, we'll get past light too." The part they don't seem to gather is that we'd empirically observed objects (bullets, namely) traveling faster than sound. We just didn't know what it would take to push a vehicle to those speeds. We don't have much to go on when it comes to going faster than light. If the math is too be believed, the energy requirements are "non-trivial."
Science fiction is full of fictional races that somehow "evolve" into energetic forms.
What if that evolutionary "next step" never comes? What if we can't even force it? What if there's nowhere to go but sideways?
What if that evolution is possible, but doesn't mean escaping this Universe? Would that state of existence really be less confining?
If a human, through science and technology were suddenly able to live for millions/billions of years, would the human mind be able to contain all the accumulated memories? What would be the psychological impact of living that long?
Which universal fate do these people have to contend with? Big Freeze, Big Crunch, or the Big Stall (aka Flat Universe). I could flip a coin I guess. Heads you Freeze. Tails you Crunch. Edge-on you Stall. Freeze and Stall are functionally the same thing, and something about the Big Rip just doesn't click with me.
What kind of theology would you expect to develop in such an environment.
Would people even bother having kids? Would suicide hold the same stigma?
I've been trying to world-build by taking all these what-ifs and cogitating on how they would interact to come up with an intriguing setting. What I'm afraid of is stepping on somebody else's toes.
Feel free to throw up any thoughts you may have. If anything, I find it fun to speculate on this sort of stuff.
May 30, 2007
Ok, so I ran across a link to lolcode.com just now. It has to be one of the dumbest and most hilarious things I've seen in a while.
What the hell is it? It's a new programing language written in 133t (or a very close approximation). I sure wish I was more familiar with the ins and outs of code. I bet this would be even more hilarious (or worrisome) for someone like Shamus. Pixy may even find it amusing.
May 25, 2007
A little over a month ago, I was on a road trip to Dallas. But rather than hop on I-10 for a mind-numbing drive through southern Texas, we took the US-60 into New Mexico, where we caught US-380. Along the way, I got to see the VLA, drove past (well, about 20 miles north of) the Trinity site, hit downtown Roswell for a little weirdness, and then we hit The Great Flat Squat. From Roswell to Dallas, there is little that would pass muster as a piddling hill. With no chance for perspective, it becomes very hard to see the more interesting things going on around you.
For example... what in the hell is going on here in the plains east of Roswell? Is a farmer with a lot of land, time, and a sense of humor screwing with the UFO nutjobs?
Also, to the far right of that map along 380, you'll see a place marked "Tokio." Even zoomed in close, it's hard to tell that this town is almost completely abandoned. It was a depressing sight even at 70 mph. Oh, and Texas is so damn huge they have two (2) Tokio's. The other Tokio changed its name during World War 2 for obvious reasons, but it was never a very big place to begin with.
May 22, 2007
Pretty Sammy TV was released in two volumes of 13 episodes. There was no English dub, leaving plenty of room for including extras on the DVD's. Each volume had a couple of omake included. My favorite omake was called Pixy Cinderella (right-click "save as"), and if you're familiar at all with the premise of the show, you'll know where it is headed.
What I really like about this particular omake, among all the rest, is the music. A while back, I went hunting for the original soundtrack, but between the age and obscurity of the show, finding it proved impossible. There is a CD of lyrical music that shows up in searches quite frequently, but nothing purely instrumental.
I'm only going to leave this file up for a short time. It's 65MB and I don't have the right to tax Pixy's hardware with this sort of thing. If you're interested, get it while you can. Oh, and I've removed the two previous omake I had posted.
So I switched cellular providers from Alltel to Verizon almost a month ago. I've been expecting to see my first bill (with all the noxious activation fees) show up in the mail (I know, I know, there are more modern ways of handling payments, but consider me old-fashioned).
I sure as hell don't want to get dinged for being late. It's bad enough that I had to write Alltel a check for $4.
May 19, 2007
Where/when: AZ, various locales within the Phoenix metro all my life
I'm a 29 year-old half-redneck with a bachelor's in aerospace engineering, but a distinct distaste for the office non-sense involved with the engineering profession. I picked up drafting to cover living expenses while going to school, which lead to my current job in the drafting department of a construction company (which isn't much better).
I'm a jack-of-all-trades. I owe a lot of my knowledge to my dad. I've got a basic working knowledge of framing, welding, plumbing, electrical, "low-tech" automotive (ECU's and other modern electro-auto widgets are out of my league, but there's not much else on a car I wouldn't be willing to try and fix), and a hundred other little trade-skills I can't think to mention at the moment.
I've dabbled in more hobbies than I can remember:
The Manly - /flex
Hunting (guns, quads, camping, hiking (when I can manage to keep in shape))
Fishing (never learned to ski, but it's on "the list", knee-boarding's in there too)
The Rusty - hobbies I'd be hard-pressed to be "good" at again right off the bat
Horseback-Riding (a small bit of professional training in Western and English)
Radio-Control (planes, cars, boats, but helicopters were too expensive)
The Nerdy - that which only other geeks would understand
Computers (built 3 PC's now, and looking at converting an old machine to Linux)
WoW (picked this up late last summer, it's a welcome diversion from chores)
Anime (been on a general downward trend since late 2008)
Videogames (also cut way back since graduation)
Ham Radio (just started last summer, haven't had the budget to properly gear up yet)
Fantasy / SciFi literature (Tolkien, Jordan, Feist, Erikson, Scalzi; didn't really start in on this until mid-college, so I'm way behind my nerd contemporaries)
The List - stuff that just hasn't happened yet
Snow Skiing (loved it the one time I went, but hard to make stick in AZ)
Water Skiing (dad wasn't into when I was young, and it'll be a while until I can make it happen on my own)
Sky-diving (I have no illusions that this will become a long-term hobby, once or twice will do)
Philosophically, I'm a lapsed Christian with classical liberal values. I should explain.
My dad was not a religious man. Sundays were just the day to finish off the project you started Saturday (and couldn't get to during the week). My mom would have preferred we at least nod in the direction of the Sabbath, but if that's what she wanted, it was up to her to make it all happen. As it turned out, we did hit the occasional Easter or Christmas service, but regular church attendance was not in the cards.
*clicks save and bails for a bit*
May 16, 2007
A little over a year sgo, I was promoted to head my department. At about the same time, a new girl was hired on to serve in a different department, but because of space issues, was placed at the station next to mine. Part of the reason for that was that I put in significant time in both departments, so I was tasked with part of her training.
For a time I entertained the delusion that there was something developing between us, and I can't say I would have minded had it worked out.
Then she decided she didn't like what she was doing and wanted to move into my department. We've been severely overtaxed for the last couple years, so an influx of any experienced help was welcome, but now I had to become the boss. She hasn't seemed to quite catch on to that fact. We fight like a married couple over the most trivial little things, because she just won't recognize were not equals in this.
A couple of weeks ago she tells me over lunch that she's taken on a weekend job doing similar work for a company across town. She mentions that they pay more and that she really enjoys what they do. Company policy is that you can take outside work as long as it doesn't interfere with your duties to the company.
I already know this is going to be a problem, but I keep my mouth shut. Until that is, a couple days ago a huge project misses a deadline, and I'm given the once over by my boss. He tells me that if I need to get people in on the weekends for overtime, do it. It's at this point I do the thing I know to be right and inform him that she's taken a job that may interfere with weekend overtime. I lay out the situation as best as I understand it. He understands and tells me to not let her threaten (even passively) me with a second job. I agree and tell him I'm going to talk with her about it.
So this afternoon I sit down and tell her that in the weeks ahead I may need her to come in a couple times on a the weekends to get us out from under our workload. In her words she tells me she can't make any promises. I let her know that isn't acceptable and that our work come first, and I've appraised my boss of the situation. At this point she gets indignant that I said anything. My reponse is that I'm ultimately responsible for her work and productivity, and that I have to do something if there's a problem. I have to be the boss.
Now I'm in a bind. I can't afford to loose an experienced worker or the time it would take to train someone new. On the other hand, I've got a job to do and a subordinate that I like really as a friend who could potentially interfere with getting that job done.
I don't know what's going to happen now. She is prone to being impulsive, and I'm stuborn about doing the right thing by my head rather than my heart.
May 09, 2007
Many many moons ago, I stumbled across this site (pretty tough to navigate, and I've never managed to get the fonts working properly, but it's worth the effort if you're into that sort of thing). It maps out all the places in Okayama Prefecture that Tenchi Muyo! characters are named after, and it has pictures of the many locations that served as inspiration for the show's backdrop.
May 07, 2007
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