Friday, February 29, 2008

Happy Birthday

Four years ago, I took an advanced graphics course from R. William Clark, a professor here at EWU.

Today is Dr. Clark's 15th birthday.

Happy Birthday, Bill. ^_^

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Of course!

So, my laptop started breathing its last not too long ago, around the end of December. It had had a good three-year run, and I was going to miss it, but I was ready to move on to bigger and better things. Faster things. More Mac than then old girl.

My next laptop was going to be a Mac. Specifically, a Macbook Pro, a desktop replacement computer. Just my speed.

But, it was too close to the Macworld Expo, so I couldn't buy one. If I bought one, and then they announced a new, better, faster one (for the same price) a month later? I'd lost it.

So I decided to wait for Macworld. Which I did.

It came, and went, and no new Macbook Pro was announced. W.......what?

Maybe they would follow up a week later? Maybe some bugs needed to be worked out, and it was just near the door but not quite ready for prime-time, but almost, and on its way?

I waited.

No new Macbooks.

I waited.

My laptop finally gave up the ghost, and now I was without a home computer. I began spending even more time at work (with my working work computer). And I waited.

Well, eventually.... I just couldn't wait anymore. I bought a Lenovo T61p. It's not a Mac, but it has pretty good bang for the buck.

It arrived yesterday.

The new Macbooks came out today.

Of course.

Friday, February 15, 2008

HD DVD is dead, long live HD DVD

The HD wars are nearly over, and it appears that Blu-Ray is going to be the winner. That's too bad, as the HD-DVD format was, in my mind, the superior one. But what happens to it now? I ran across this interesting suggestion:

Don't throw it away... Recycle it...
by FellowConspirator (882908)

If it's a commercial failure, then why bury it. Just make the spec, tools, etc. free without license. There's a huge market for a low-cost high-capacity storage and video medium. Toshiba could make HD-DVD free to everyone. Blu-Ray can't beat that. Sure, the MPAA members will only ship Blu-Ray, but if it costs nothings to add to your drive, why wouldn't a vendor throw it on top just because. Home video and amateur cinematographers will have a reasonable format for producing, sharing, and storing footage, there'll be an HD replacement for VHS, and the cost for the blank media will plummet.

Then let's see who wins in the long run. Toshiba can still ship HD-DVD recorders, media, etc. Being fully open, the platform will reach every corner that Blu-Ray doesn't, by design. Blu-Ray is a very consumer-hostile format as-is; it's designed to limit the medium. Toshiba should give up not by burying it, but by becoming the antithesis of its competitor.

As a FOSS nerd (and all that implies), I find this idea incredibly intriguing.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

As long as I'm here...

Since I'm re-uploading those pictures anyway, I thought I'd toss up my favorite commercial of all time.


(This is a free player I found on the innertubes, so if it's wonky, let me know)

Gone, baby, gone BACK, baby, back.


I used to use a host for pictures, back before Blogger hosted them. Port5 was bought out by Intrascape. Intrascape deleted all my pictures with no notice. UPDATE: Intrascape didn't delete anything; I was able to ftp in and retrieve them. Once I track down where each came from, I will restore them.

Since the originals were on a hard drive that crashed, I have no duplicates.

This makes me a sad panda.


I only recently realized that, because I'm back in America now, NO GIRLS ARE GOING TO BE GIVING ME CHOCOLATES ON VALENTINE'S DAY!

Sometimes I miss Japan more than others.

Phoenix and the Pizza Mystery

While I was recovering from my surgery, I didn't feel like going out much. So, last week, instead of getting up and going to the store, I ordered a pizza. I paid with a credit card, so I could save my precious precious cash for vending machines (Skittles!), and besides, credit cards are magic money!

Anyway, the delivery guy called me and told me to come down to the entrance. He'd be there in five minutes.

Now, there are TWO main entrances to my building. There is an entrance on the 1st floor, but it isn't often used for deliveries, because the delivery person has to come up a flight of stairs to get there, and very few people live on the 1st floor anyway.

The most commonly used entrance for deliveries is the 2nd floor entrance, from the back (it's a split-level building, so the 2nd floor entrance is also a ground floor). For this entrance, the delivery person can drive right up to the door (not that they often do, because then they'd have to drive BACKWARDS to get out, and most of the delivery people I've seen drive like Tommy Chong fleeing from imaginary racoons). But a delivery person might not know that it was
  1. Technically the 2nd floor
  2. NOT the main entrance to the building
And because my room is on the "second" floor, he might have meant to come down to the ground floor.

So I didn't make any assumptions. I took my phone with me, so that if he got lost or went to the wrong entrance, he could call me. But there is no reception on the 1st floor, so I stayed up on the main floor in the lounge, looking out the window at the 1st floor entrance.

15 or so minutes after he called, I saw him. I must have been turned away from the window when he came up, because I only saw him leaving. NO!

I panicked, and ran down to the 1st floor as fast as I could, shouting and waving my arms to get his attention. "Don't leave! I'm here, I'm here!"

He didn't stop.

The smell of pizza lingered in the air. I had been so close!

I figured that, not seeing anyone at the door, he left to finish his other deliveries before (hopefully) trying again.

(I should also probably mention at this point that I was getting anxious for the pizza to arrive, because I wanted to eat so I could take a Vicodin before I had to use the restroom. Hurry, pizza-man, hurry!)

I waited another 10 minutes before deciding that I should call and find out roughly how many other deliveries he had to make before he came back, because I was still standing by the window (bleeding from my penar) when I could be laying in bed. So I call them up again, and the conversation when something like this:
THEM: Pickup or delivery?
ME: Delivery, I hope. How many delivery guys do you have out tonight?
THEM: Uh, just me.
ME: Oh, OK, good. I --
THEM: So, an order for delivery?
ME: I already placed my order, I'm just wondering --
THEM: Who is this?
ME: I'm Phoenix. I ordered --
THEM: You gave me a bogus number.
ME: ...what?
THEM: I tried calling your phone, like, 20 times.
ME: (looking at my phone, and it's distinct lack of missed calls) Uh...
THEM: You can't give us fake numbers, dude. When we need to get a hold of you --
ME: What number did you call?
THEM: Your number dude. I even read it back to you when you placed your order.
ME: Um, no you didn't.
THEM: Yes I did, dude!
ME: No, you didn't take my order, Megan did. (Yay for remembering names!)
THEM: ...
ME: Listen, it doesn't matter. I was just wondering if I could find out how much longer it was going to be.
THEM: For what?
ME: My pizza. Like, how many more other deliveries --
THEM: I already delivered your pizza.
ME: ...!
THEM: Like, 15 minutes ago dude.
Dude. No way.

Apparently, he had come up to the door, saw a guy standing there, asked "Is this pizza for you?" and gave it to him. I had already paid by credit card, so the mystery guy didn't have to fork over any cash or anything.

Damn. It.
ME: So...
THEM: So...what?
ME: So, when can I get my pizza?!
THEM: ...I'll have to ask my manager. Let me call you back in a few minutes with what she says we can do.
Ask his manager? At the very least, I expected the pizza I ordered and paid for. He needs his managers permission for that? Throw another pie in the oven, pronto! I'm STARVING over here!

So I wait. And I wait. And I wait...

THEM: I've got your pizza, I'll be there in five minutes.
Finally! In addition to my pizza, they gave me a $20 credit on my account, and a description of the guy that stole my pizza.

Apparently he had had to sign my credit card slip to get my pizza. They were going to report it to the police the following day as credit card fraud. WHAT WHAT!! That's some serious shnikey right there. We have our suspicions as to who it was (he possibly signed his own name), but I haven't heard anything more about it since. I also tipped the delivery guy $5, because the mystery man didn't tip jack, and he did have to make TWO deliveries. And I was just happy to get my pizza.

...and now that I've finished typing this all up, it's after 1am, and they've stopped delivering for the evening. And now I'm hungry for pizza!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Phoenix and the Surgery

Apparently, I haven't told everyone about this yet. So if you haven't heard it before, here it is. And if you don't read this, then you probably don't care anyway, so I'm glad I didn't tell you.

I had an operation the other day. Two weeks go, in fact.

On my penis.*

It was my first time under general anesthetic. Pretty scary, considering all the horror stories I had grown up hearing. Apparently it's much safer now, though. One minute I was taking four deep breaths, and the next thing I knew, I was in the recovery room. I couldn't keep my eyes open for more than a second at a time though, and that went on for a long time. After I could wake up a bit more, they took me back to my room and tried to get me to use the restroom, at which point I noticed that there sure was a lot of bleeding going on.

From my penis.**

Also, at this point, I feel I should say a couple words about pain. It hurt.

Eventually I could pee enough that they didn't think I would die, and they sent me home. I spent the rest of the day at Doug's house, although there was a scary incident later in the day. Because I was lying down on my back, I bled into my bladder (as opposed to out onto the gauze), and when I used the bathroom later, all those hours of blood came out at once. NOT a calming sight.

I had a follow-up appointment for one week after the surgery. I was under the impression that the bleeding would stop by then, and we would mostly talk about my recovery. You can tell by the fact that I MENTION this that the bleeding did not stop by then. Seriously, ONE FULL WEEK LATER, and I was still bleeding.

From... well, you know.

I told my doctor that I was still bleeding and he kind of just laughed and said something like "Well, yeah, that's going to go on and on." Great. We made another follow-up appointment for six weeks in the future. Hopefully that implies that the bleeding with SURELY stop by then, right? Or am I just believing what I want desperately to be true?

In the meantime, I'm taking Vicodin so I can urinate without screaming too much, so all those who think I remind you of Gregory House, well, fuck you, it's just a coincidence. And the limp will go away after I heal. The cane is just temporary. TEMPORARY!

(*Yes, of course it was a reduction.***)

(**BTW, "Bleeding from my penis" is just about the best [and worst] all-around general-purpose excuse there is.
  • "Take the garbage out!" "Can't, mom, I'm bleeding from my penis!"
  • "Sorry I'm late for work boss, I was bleeding from my penis!"
  • "I'm sorry I can't give you a better rate on your mortgage because of all the blood coming out of my penis!"
I'm telling you, it works for everything.)

(***Sort of. I had a urethral stricture. That was cut out of me, so that it didn't close up entirely, because if it DID, I would die slowly...painfully...from a burst bladder. Isn't science fun?!)

From the "Things I wish were not true about my psyche" department

Today, I was late to class because I overslept.

I overslept because, in my dream, the alarm clock was trying to TRICK me into waking up. I can't now remember what it was that I had to do before I woke up, I just remember that it was vitally important that I did so.

But, of course, the clock wasn't trying to trick me at all. It just wanted some attention.