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March 28, 2005

Star Wars 3: The l33t Trailer

A hysterical captioning of the most recent Episode 3 trailer. If you're unfamiliar with online "l33t" (elite) speak, think of this as a primer. If you are even slightly familiar with l33tspeak, prepare for uncontrollable laughter.

March 25, 2005

Get to Know Your Monkeysphere

The Monkeysphere is not a vulgar concept, although this gamer's stab at sociology has some decidedly rude language. But it's an amusing take on our lack of inability to pay attention to what's going on outside our sphere of personal contact:

Yes, the Monkeysphere. That's the group of people who each of us, using our monkeyish brains, are able to conceptualize as people. If the monkey scientists are monkey right, it's physically impossible for this to be a number larger than 150. Most of us do not have room in our Monkeysphere for our friendly neighborhood Sanitation Worker. So, we don't think of him as a person. We think of him The Thing That Makes The Trash Go Away.

March 22, 2005

Never Ask That Question

Once upon a time, in response to the tougher, more hardcore Space Ghost, I asked in despair, "But what's next? Charlie Brown packing heat?"

Such questions are usually answered by the cosmos: the butt-kicking Looney Tunes!

Compared to Warner Brothers, George Lucas is a paragon of artistic integrity.

(Yeah, the news is a month old....)

Just STOP It!

My favorite restaurants at Southpoint keep disappearing!

Southpoint General Manager Rick Polley said the Q-Shack spot will be combined with the space vacated by Big Bowl Asian restaurant to accommodate the new restaurant. The two are adjacent to each other in the outdoor portion of the mall, near a large fountain and the movie theater. [...] That the mall asked Q-Shack to give up its space suggests a big deal and probably a big-name tenant, because the early closure of Q-Shack probably required a lease buyout.

Now I know Big Bowl's departure wasn't Southpoint's fault, but this is driving me crazygonuts! (To be fair, it's probably not making Southpoint management happy either. Those restaurant spaces are in a terrific location next to the fountain and cinema, and are the only spots where Southpoint's had trouble hanging onto restaurants -- in addition to Big Bowl and The Q-Shack, Bear Rock Cafe also came and went.)

March 20, 2005

Get the CPU! Part II

Remember A Charlie Brown Christmas? Remember the Christmas tree? "Augh! Everything I touch is ruined!" Well, that's been my week with computers.

  1. On an otherwise calm Saturday afternoon, my wife vacuums up the headset attached to my computer, which had fallen to the floor. Rips that sucker in two. I see no damage to the computer itself, and go buy a new headset.
  2. Later that day, the display goes nuts on my computer, which then fails to boot on a restart. I follow Mark's advice and apply the smell test. Video card smells hot. Something must have burned out. I pull Shannon's video card and put it in my machine. It works.
  3. Buy replacement video card with money I needed to use on a flooring project. It works! Throw away old card.
  4. Three days later: my computer dies again. I have my first aneurysm. I pull the new card out of my machine and put it in Shannon's machine. It works.
  5. It must have been the motherboard all along! I think. That means the video card might still be.... The trash hasn't been taken out yet. Shannon and I dig through and find the card, which has come in contact with what I shall call vegetable matter.
  6. An hour of cleaning with rubbing alcohol and Q-Tips commences. I test-fire the vegetable card in Shannon's computer. It works -- at first. But not in the 3D game Shannon and I have been playing a lot of lately. A couple of days of tweaking fail to resolve whether the card doesn't like Shannon's computer or the card doesn't work.
    • (Or, if it doesn't work, whether that's because it really did burn out or because I threw it in the kitchen trash....)
  7. Meanwhile, my computer is still DOA. After racking my brains trying to figure out the cheapest way to figure out just what isn't working, I wind up taking it to the Geek Squad at Best Buy. They are useless: "We don't test motherboards." They suggest I reseat all the components and try it again.
  8. I do.
  9. It works.
  10. I have another aneurysm.
  11. I try the vegetable card in my computer. It works flawlessly.
  12. See step 10.
  13. OK, so the vegetable card works, and I've wasted money on a new video card I didn't need. But it doesn't like Shannon's computer. My parents' computer has a different chipset. I know! I'll swap their card with the vegetable card, putting their card in Shannon's computer, so everyone will net a performance increase!
  14. I spend a much later Saturday evening than planned at my parents' house performing the swap (and installing a new floppy drive). The vegetable card does not work.
  15. See step 10.
  16. I come home to a new status quo. My computer: new video card. Shannon's computer: ancient video card. Child: 102 degree fever.
  17. The next day, my computer fails to boot. I reseat the components. It boots.
  18. Alcohol.
  19. Repeat step 18.

Get the CPU! Part I

Thanks to Lex, I've discovered the wonders of shivaSite and pinball emulation. Reminiscent of the MAME arcade machine emulation project, what you have here are a number of very dedicated people creating extraordinarily faithful virtual copies of classic and recent arcade pinball games.

Playing something like Terminator 2: Judgment Day on a computer is a little weird. On the one hand, the emulation software gets the physics exactly right. The bumpers and flippers, the table, and the ball behave just as you'd expect on a well-maintained arcade machine. On the other hand, you don't have depth perception working for you. It's a small, 2D representation of a large physical object, so it's harder to track the ball. I also forget to nudge the "machine" -- the idea of pressing a keyboard key instead doesn't gel for me yet.

During a singularly maddening week, this discovery actually helped me hold things together. Thanks, Lex.

March 13, 2005

Always Know Where Your Trailer Is

This is possibly one of the five greatest movie trailers ever.

For a list of the others, you might have to consult the Guide.

March 5, 2005

Enthusiasm, check. Vocal range, notsomuch...

...which is what you'd read if you could see the text crawl at the end of this short QuickTime video which demonstrates that Will has heard way too much Great Big Sea and not enough "The Wheels on the Bus" for his age. (His previous performance, which prompted Shannon to grab the video camera, was letter-perfect if not note-perfect.)

Apologies to my regular readers (both of you) for the string of parenting-related posts. It's actually helped me get through my bloggers' block. More varied material to follow.

March 4, 2005

Keep an Eye Out for MirrorMask

Speaking of great animated movies, watch for MirrorMask. Written by Neil Gaiman and directed by Dave McKean, this Labyrinth-like animated fantasy looks like no other movie I've ever seen. It's as though McKean's collage-style art from the Sandman comic covers has come to life. You must see the trailer. (Probably too unsettling for young children.)

Incredibles Director Interviewed

From ToonZone: Animation writer Michael Barrier interviews Brad Bird, writer and director of one of the best movies of all time. Nope, no hyperbole here, nuh-uh, no way.

March 2, 2005

Call It Divine Justice, or Karma

When I started at UNC's The Daily Tar Heel about (mumble) years ago, one of the first friends I made was Clare. She was and is unremittingly gracious, thoughtful, funny, and wholly unwilling to recognize any of those facts. She is also one of the strongest people I know, having survived cancer at a very young age. I was honored to read verses at her wedding, and I crossed my fingers when I heard that she and Joe were going to try and have the child they always wanted, even though they didn't know whether her cancer treatments had left her able to conceive.

Today Shannon and I received some wonderful news.

Happy birthday, Cameron.

Clare would say that God was looking out for them, and I would agree. Good luck, Joe. You're gonna need it.

That's my boy!

Remember, he just turned three:

WILL: Mommy, I think cookies should be shaped like keys. Then they could be coo-keys!

His first pun. (sniff) I'm so proud.

March 1, 2005

You Know You're a Parent...

...when you suddenly start identifying with the father in Calvin and Hobbes rather than the son.

Wearily, I realize that raising Will and any hypothetical sibling won't just be about teaching. It'll be about winning battles.