October 26, 2004

Random thoughts

"From the people who brought you If it's paper, a store for all your end-of-the-world needs. A place for do-it-yourself nuclear fallout shelters, gas masks, locust repellant(bulk quantities available), and catholic indulgences(end-of-world delivery available from DHL). Whatever you apocalyptic need, IF IT'S ARMAGEDDON has it.


"This is a true story..."

[zoom in past typical "Real World pad" set in the desert, to a bombed-out hotel]

"of 12 suicide bombers..."

[quick montage of members, one confused member waves to camera as if he didn't know what else to do.]

"each from a different islamic sect. Forced to live together..."

[shows one entering the room to find another already taking the top bunk, all the closet and drawer space. two women in black and blue burqas fighting over medicine cabinet space]

"in the same apartment until their orders are given."

[member opens his mailbox to find a Publishers Clearinghouse sweepstakes letter. Clenches it tightly in his fist, face streaked with anger.]

"What happens when people stop being nice..."

[member interrupts group meeting, vested and armed, trigger in hand. "I hope you're ready for Allah!, because if I don't have my _______ by the time I count to 10, all of us have an 8:30 appt. with him!]

"And start being real? THE REAL WORLD: MIDDLE EAST!"


Posted by Jeffrey at 8:41 AM | Comments (0)

October 21, 2004

Holy crap: Sox beats Yankees 10-3

...and at home too.

For those that don't follow baseball or watch Sportcenter, The Daily Show, or TV in general, the Red Sox broke the infamous "Curse of the Bambino" last night with a crushing 10-3 game against the Yankees in the house that Babe built.

If that's not enough, the Sox started off with 0-3 for the first 3 of 7 games only to come back from certain defeat and win the series 4-3. A feat, as I understand it, is the first of its kind in several sports.

I'm not a Sox or Yankees fan, but I love an underdog taking out Goliath. Way-to-go, Sox! and Congratulations!

Posted by Jeffrey at 7:43 AM | Comments (0)

October 20, 2004

I voted!: Early Voting

Early Voting: So easy, you'll slap your electoral representative.

Seriously, folks. I don't know why more people aren't doing it. You can go to any of the Designated Voting Locations in your county and vote (thanks Shannon), whereas on election day, you have to report to your designated location.

-Open before and after work
-Open on weekends
-Many convienent locations

Wonderful stuff, this early voting. If it gains popularity, it will be interesting to see how the media changes to suit it. Instead of one night of excitement, it would be a more gradual development.

Down side would be if someone decided not to vote because the early voters had already put a candidate to a considerable lead. But overall, early voting is a very cool thing.

So long as my vote gets counted and counted correctly...

Posted by Jeffrey at 4:42 PM | Comments (0)

October 18, 2004

Farscape: Peacekeeper Wars (part 1)

"Once upon a time, there was a boy named John.
One day, when John was doing astronaut things a big blue wormhole gobbled him up and spat him on the other side of the universe.

It's good to see people getting what they want for a change. Not another reality show, a mindless teen drama, or cookie-cutter sitcom. A show people asked for by name, devoted counted hours and hard-earned buckage(in a downturn economy, mind you), and created countless communities all focused on one singular goal.

A proper ending.

Last night at 9pm EST, scapers around the US gathered around their TV sets for what would be the fruit of two years, one month, and 11 days of work. That's a lot of expectation to live up to, especially when you consider that this wasn't a project with a budget size like Lucas, Disney, or Dreamworks could bankroll. this is Hallmark and Jim Henson. Sam Neil's Merlin and Fraggle Rock. I don't know the final bill for the whole miniseries, but it certainly couldn't be any more than a feature length film, or even half of one. My concern was, people had waited for this show almost as long as people have waited for(or dreaded) a Star Wars sequel. How can a production company of that size deliver something to rival that?

Well, they can't. But they can certainly blow the doors off of anything they've done, which is what happened last night.

There is spoiler material below(highlight to read), and if you missed it last night, Sci-Fi is re-airing part 1 tonight at 7PM before part 2 at 9.

The show opens up to a battle between the Peacekeeper and Scarren forces. The explosions and ship disintegrations are slammin, particularly when the scarren dreadnaught sinks into the ring field of a palnet and gets chewed up like a car wreck at 200mph. The next scene is a CG Rygel(and a nice one at that) swimming around the bottom of the ocean picking up little dark pieces of rock and swallowing them, along with the occasional clownfish(*wink*). He returns to the surface and is greated by D`argo who hoists him on a boat, where they are collecting the crystallized remains of... surprise surprise.... Crichton and Aeryn.

For the sake of brevity, I'll speed up the synopsis. Crichton and Aeryn are reconsituted and are going to get married(Dargo and Chianna: "Congratulations!"). However before the weddingcan get started("Dearly Beloved, we are gathered here today under this huge.... command carrier?), Scorpius crashes the party with the news that a war is going on between the Scarrens and Peacekeepers and both parties know of his return(Scorpius learned of it through Harvey-the wonder clone). They devise a plan to take one of the Aidelons(ancient peacemaking race who inhabit planet and blasted them to crystals in the first place) to the planet of their ancestors so that they can regain the ability to bring peace and stop this war. It is around this time that it's discovered that Rygel did not regurgitate all the crystals and is now carrying Aeryn's baby. Words fail me on that one.
En route to the planet, Crichton and Aeryn try yet again to have a wedding, with Rygel as the king or justice of the peace. However, just as vows were being exchanged, a huge anchor crashes through the ceiling as Moya is being attacked by mercenaries. They manage to fight off the invaders and escape relatively unharmed.
Chrichton and company make it to the planet and convince the ancient Aidelons to teach the new Aidelon delegate the peacemaking ways, while an elder Aidelon goes with Crichton to end the war. However, just as they're getting ready to break orbit, the Scarrens appear and nuke the Aidelon temple from orbit, killing all the Aidelons except for the elder and the acolyte onboard Moya. Moya attempts to starburst, but is neutralized by the Scarren warhammer.
Dargo and Chianna escape using Lola's stealth mode while the rest of the crew go to the Scarren ship to attempt to broker peace.
The Scarren Emperor wasn't having any of the "peace-pipe" fun and games and demanded Chricton make a wormhole weapon for him. Chricton explains that he can't and even takes him to "Einstein" to prove it. During this time, the Aidelon is learning about the Scarrens and is attempting to eminate the aura necessary for him to negotiate peace with the Peacekeepers. However, when the moment of truth arrives and a peace agreement was being talked out, the "Assistant Emperor" comes in and blasts the negotiator, eliminating the aura and any hope of peace. The two of them leave Chricton and company are trapped in the room as it's filling with a sleep gas used for preserving specimens.

The last words between Aeryn and Chricton.
Aeryn: "You ruined my life."
Chricton(laughing): "I know..."

That's the short of it from what I remember. Overall, the CG is incredible, all the shots are exquisitely detailed. The writing is solid, and while there are some moments where you can sense a little awkwardness between character and actor, everyone seemed at ease in their old shoes again. I'd be concerned about anyone having this as their first exposure to Farscape because of the sheer number of characters introduced and the storylines developed. There are plenty of online primers, Savefarscape.com being the best.

The series was left much like if Stephen King released his last gunslinger novel with the last half left out of the book, abruptly ending mid paragraph. Finally getting an ending to the story is like Christmas in October. I'm psyched to get home tonight after class and catch the last installment on the DVR.

Once again, Sci-Fi is replaying the first part tonight at 7 and the final episode is at 9!

Posted by Jeffrey at 9:45 AM | Comments (0)

October 15, 2004

Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater

MGS.com trailer page

TGS 2004 Trailer

TGS 2003 Trailer(The music is damn funny)


Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater

"Hey omnivores, this is Snake. Tired of K-rations? K-rations hot, K-rations cold, K-rations in the pot, 9 days old? Bug-covered K-rations, K-ration kabobs, K-ration sandwiches, K-ration stew, K-ration souffle, K-ration grilled, K-ration straight up with lime, K-ration with mint jelly and the blood of your enemies(...and grenadine?)?

Then look no further than Konami's allegedly last installment of the Metal Gear Solid series, SNAKE EATER!

That's right, in this latest offering from Hideo Kojima, the ubiquitous spinning rations will not make an appearance(based upon available data). The new system for keeping Snake healthy and in good shape is good ol' fashioned huntin'. You find it, you kill it, you eat, you wear the rest as a hat!

Evidently, for a guy that crawls around in jungles, he is a discriminating eater. Some food sources won't do as well as others, especially if it's killed and not eaten right away. You can also eat shrooms and other non-meat, but I'm guessing meat is your best bet pound-for-pound. I'm really intersted in seeing how this aspect of the game system pans out.

For those who are familiar with the series, Metal Gear Solid is the game series about one man(Solid Snake) pitted against a maniacal dictator(Big Boss in the NES,PC,MSX versions) or terrorist derivative(Liquid Snake,former FOXHOUND members) who's hell-bent on unleashing a mobile nuclear weapons platform known as Metal Gear. There are always plot twists involving our hero and the villan in question, usually resulting in them being related somehow(nothing like "I'm your father", but similar). There's a big allusion to Godzilla in the series in terms of physical shape of the machine and the underlying themes dealing with nuclear proliferation.

This time around, we are shot back in time to 1964, at the height of the cold war. A man called Snake is dispatched into Russia to investigate a nuclear detonation and to clear the US of any involvement with it. It is soon apparent that this is not the same Snake as from the previous games, but possibly his predecessor. "Snake" soon learns that his "Boss" defected to the Soviet Union and took two nuclear warheads with her. It's best to just check out the 2004 trailers for more deets.

Younger versions of previous characters appear in the story. Revolver Ocelot, the 6-shooter wonder from the first two MGS titles, returns as the younger, more innocent Spetsnaz. We see what is possibly a precursor to Liquid in a russian uniform, though it is possible that he, too, is not all that he appears. And of course, we'll see the 1st gen. Metal Gear come to life in all of its Cold War glory.

Story-wise, this is what I've been looking forward to this year. The Metal Gear series have always been rather engaging in that Clancy-esque sort-of-way. Game play has been consistantly above average and it has a good replay factor.

Anywho, I've raved enough. Check out the trailers and see for yourself.

p.s. Check out the Roger Moore Bond-esque music in the third link in the side-bar. LOL! Woo! Good stuff. Seriously, though. Harry Gregson-Williams kicks out an excellent soundtrack yet again.

Posted by Jeffrey at 9:50 AM | Comments (0)

October 14, 2004

Kernel building

I rescued a Dell GX300(dual P3 Dual 850 / 512 / 30GB x 2) from surplus a while ago for one of my co-workers to use for testing purposes. He ended up giving it to me to use as a kickaround box, so I sat down to install Slackware 10.

When I got to the screen where I chose the kernel to run, the options were not all that spiffy: none utilized multiprocessor systems. I expected as much since Slackware focuses on Stability and simplicity, but %&$#.

Well, I've compiled kernels before! Back...in...9_.....8? I'm sure I'd remember something from that...

Nope, got nothing... So I downloaded 2.6.8 from a kernel.org mirror and started checking out the package. Hmm.... make menuconfig? Nice! The menus are pretty straightforward and any terms you're not familiar with you can google for more info. With the items I wanted selected(SMP, iptables, 24" spinners), I sat down to compile and within 5 minutes, I had a fresh baked kernel, modules, and other goods ready to pop in. So I add it to my /etc/lilo.conf and reboot, fully expecting an error or a crash at some point. Well, it's been up for about 1.5 hours now with no errors, knock on laminate. Next stop is learning how to compile and setup samba to play nice with the ldap on campus, yay!

Posted by Jeffrey at 5:35 PM | Comments (0)

October 12, 2004

Dusting off the ol' blog.

Man, these blogs actually collect dust if you don't use them for a while. So let's recap events since early May.

Back to School
Well, the waiting finally paid off. After a year of eating ramen, late nights at the Grande (and UNCG...), and enough paper hunting, I'm now officially a student again. Student advising, registration, paying, buying books, and a not-as-painful-as-originally-thought process of being declared in-state.

According to the UNC system, someone who is declared an in-state resident can leave the state for a period of up to 12 months without having to re-apply for in-state status. My being in Atlanta for 2.5 years, well, put me out of that. So I had to re-apply.

This is not as easy as filling out a form and dropping it in the mailbox. Essentially what you're doing is building a case for the state to return your in-state status. Your case has to state that you have lived in the state for a minimum of 12 months for the purpose of living and working. This means you cannot be in school at all and you cannot be living in the state on the funds of someone living out of state(i.e. parents, sugar-mommas, Maureen Dowd). Which means letters of employment, paystubs, bank statements, tax forms from the past 2 years, property tax on your car and/or real estate, and a "mission statement" on why you are to be given in-state status.

It's a pain, and about 10% get it on their first try, but is it ever worth it. For three classes alone, the out-of-state surcharge was around $4400. Enough to cover three more semesters in-state. Luckily, I was one of the 10% and got it on my first shot, so the G owes me a little $$ now. It feels pretty good to be the one calling the cashiers office, asking "where's my money?" instead of the other way around.

Online text ordering came about after I left school, so this semester was my first shot with it. If the internet is good for only one thing, it's for save me some serious buckage on overpriced textbooks. I saved about $120 on 3 classes worth, and they all arrived before the classes started. Big thumbs up!

So far, classes have been A's and B's, I'm happy to say. I hope I can still say that in Dec.

Work at the G
Just received word today that my contract has been extended to next June. No more shovelling out popcorn to snot-nosed kids and the smell of old people crying*.

Grandfather Harris
Grandfather Harris had to have both his knees and his pacemaker replaced this summer, which kept my mom at his side most of the time. I have never seen him so upbeat and chipper as I did when he was riding the Percocet wave. I also have never seen him so skinny either. It's pretty safe to say that the man has been through hell and is on the comeback trail. It also has me taking a harder look at my eating habits as well.

Out of respect for others, I didn't announce this on the boards and only told those who saw us often in person and/or asked. Tami and I have known each other for a while and have had the same circle of friends for ages. We've been dating since the end of May and it's been nothing but wonderful. While it may have changed our social circles a tiny bit, we think it's ultimately for the best.

So that's what I've been up to these past months. But now, I'm back with new features!

  • last minute take: movie synopsis based upon the last 10 minutes of a movie

  • video game reviews: I've been bit by the VG bug again. Stay bookmarked for upcoming reviews of Gran Turismo 4, Metal Gear Solid 3, and Fatal Frame 2!

  • CD reviews: if I ever buy any I want to share

I'm sure there'll be more, we'll see.

*It's that damp smell when you walk into a room where people have done nothing but crying. Kind of a cross between mucous, kleenex, and old people.

Posted by Jeffrey at 2:07 PM | Comments (0)