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Software development, running, music & beer

Monthly Archives: March 2006

game on

I’ve been a bad blogger lately. The main reason is that I’ve been seriously cutting back on the time I spend on my computer at home (therefore wasting a bunch of money that I pay for my DSL service & phone line). I used to find myself coming home many nights and spending a couple of hours at the computer after having spent 8+ hours at the computer at work. I’m no expert, but that seems like rather unhealthy behavior. So I’ve made a conscious effort to cut back and have been pretty successful so far, albeit at the expense of blogging and other online activities I participate in. Not sure when I might “relapse” and change back from “real world” productive to “online” productive. So there, that’s my excuse.

So what have I been up to with all the time I have freed up? Playing video games of course. I was lucky enough to snag an Xbox 360 earlier this month and have found myself consumed by playing games once again. I was deprived as a child and did not get my first gaming system (besides the ol’ Atari & some underpowered PCs) until I got a Nintendo 64 in college. So in terms of video gaming, I have some catching up to do. I graduated from the N64 to the first Xbox (I was one of the nerds who got it the day it came out), and now onto the 360. A bunch of my coworkers (including my managers) had one, so I caved in and bought one a bit sooner than I had planned. And I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.

I only own 2 games so far (‘Call of Duty 2’ & ‘Project Gotham Racing 3’), but I’ve also signed up with Gamefly (think Netflix for video games) which I’ve found to be perfect for a gamer like me who tires of most games rather quickly and likes to try many different ones. With games going for $60 each these days, I can’t afford to try one out just because it sounds like it might be cool. Now if I get something and I don’t like it, I can just drop it back in the mail and get something else. No more getting ripped off on trading games in.


Hail Xenu!

I was a big ‘South Park’ fan back in the day, but only catch it rarely anymore though it is still usually pretty funny when I do see it. It has been interesting to see the big press over a story that surfaced in the past week about how Tom Cruise apparently pressured Paramount Pictures to not rerun the South Park episode that made fun of Scientology. Paramount is a division of Viacom, which also owns Comedy Central, and it seems that Tom got his way as the show was replaced at the last minute by a different episode.

I ran across this story today that features a hilarious response from ‘South Park’ creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone:

“So, Scientology, you have won THIS battle, but the million-year war for Earth has just begun. Temporarily anozinizing our episode will NOT stop us from keeping Thetans forever trapped in your pitiful man-bodies. Curses and drat! You have obstructed us for now, but your feeble bid to save humanity will fail! Hail Xenu!!!”

Now that’s funny. Especially when you read it on CNN.

get rich or die trying

I think everyone knows someone who has taken part in lab experiments or some weird medical thing to make a few bucks. I remember seeing advertisements in college for these all the time, from trying out new medications to taking part in sleep studies. Well, a few people over in England decided to take part in a new drug trial, and the results were not so good.

All 6 people who took the anti-inflammatory drug became seriously ill within a few hours and all ended up in critical condition in the hospital (where 2 remain, while 4 others are now just in “serious” condition). One observer said “They began tearing their shirts off complaining of fever, then some screamed out that their heads felt like they were going to explode.” One of the patient’s family members said his face became so swollen that he looked like the elephant man. Two other people in the study were given placebos. I’m sure they’re feeling pretty lucky right about now.

So just remember this little story next time you’re considering making a few quick bucks by doing some weird medical test. You might get more than you bargained for.

busy weekend

This was one of those weekends that so much was going on that it went by way too fast. On Friday night, Kristy & I ventured up to the Royal Vine wine bar in North Royalton to meet a couple of friends. It’s a place we had gone by hundreds of times but never stopped (despite talking about it). We were not disappointed. It had a very nice atmosphere, and was decorated like a Tuscan village with lots of comfortable couches and chairs groups around coffee tables. I’m no wine expert, but I can usually find something I like, which I did. I will definitely end up there again.

On Saturday night, we headed up to try a new restaurant, Hunan Solon. It was good and had a nice selection of Chinese & Thai dishes. The food was good, the service was good and quick. Overall, I liked it and would probably go back. Afterwards, we slipped in the ‘Saw 2‘ DVD. The first one is a classic in my book, and this one was actually pretty good, though nowhere near up to par with the original. There were some very nice plot turns which kept it interesting, particularly at the end. Worth checking out if you want something scary.

Today, I headed down to Cuyahoga Falls for the Shamrock 15K, a 9.3 mi run through the Cuyahoga River Valley. It was fun, and the weather was great with 60 degree temps and a bit of mist. To read my detailed writeup on it, go here. With today’s run in the books, I’m now halfway through my training for the Flying Pig Marathon, on May 7th. I’m not too thrilled with how my training has gone so far. I have a few injuries that have been holding me back that I’m hoping do not ultimately lead me to having to drop out of the race. Hopefully I can toughen it out for these next 2 months.

Photo Blog – #9

Originally uploaded by thespacerace.

Last night I headed to downtown Cleveland to meet up with some friends for the Mid-American Conference men’s college basketball tournament at the Quicken Loans Arena. I went because my alma mater, Miami University, was playing against my co-worker’s alma mater, Ohio University.

I had let me friend buy the tickets through his alumni association, which was a big mistake. I was getting heckled by a couple drunk students before I even got to my seat. And things did not improve as OU jumped into the lead right away and never looked back. Miami had beaten them soundly in their previous two meetings in the regular season, but tonight’s game was not even close.

We still had a good time though. My one friend, who is from another country was attending his first basketball game, and it was fun to watch his reaction to everything. And it’s a nice change of pace to do something different once in a while like this.

a rare agreement

In a rare act of defiance, the House voted today to add a provision to a bill to block the proposed sale of US ports to a foreign company. Rare indeed as in the 5 1/2 years that Bush has been president, Congress has yet to send him a bill that he has said he will veto, as he has said he will do with this one.

In a rare move for myself, I actually side with the Prez on this one. There is no valid reasoning for blocking such a sale. The politicians are just doing it because the American public is against it since Americans blindly distrust all Middle Eastern people. The ports are already owned by a British company, so the “we don’t want foreigners running it” argument is worthless. They’re singling out this company simply because they’re from the Middle East, specifically the United Arab Emirates.

What better way to mend fences with the Middle East than by putting our national xenophobia on grand display like this for the whole world to see? I’m sure Bush merely supports the sale because it’s good for Big Business, and not for any ethical reasons, but I’ll take what little I can get from him. How can Americans be so paranoid? I’m totally sure it’s just a big scheme by the country to get nukes and other weapons into our country via our seaports. Nevermind that all the security is done by our government. So it’s not like that is going to get any worse. If anything, it would get better since it’s gotten all of this new attention.

Way to go Congress. You finally sack up and challenge the Prez, but for the dumbest thing you could think of. How about you focus your attention on lobbying reform. Oh wait, that means no more free trips and gifts. That’s not fun, now is it?

just sign here

While I was not surprised by today’s story about leaked plans by Google to offer massive online file storage for users, it left me wondering how relevant such a service is. I would think (or at least like to think) that most people would be like myself and be extremely hesitant to store any sensitive or personal information on Google’s servers. I am a programmer, and I can guarantee that some guys just randomly browse through some of these files. People in IT are always looking at stuff they’re not supposed to. Not to mention, I don’t trust any company, not even Google, to securely stash my information away from hackers. And we all know they’re sifting through all that data and mining it for information they can sell to advertisers to feed me “targeted ads”.

Yes, I do realize that by having a Gmail account with Google, they already are in possession of probably the most personal information I have stored on my computer. I try not to think about it that way, but it’s true. I guess I just have some weird value system that thinks storing files online is one step too far.

Everyone sees Google heading down the path of an online operating system, but people seem quick to forget that you need an operating system on your computer in order to boot up and connect to the internet. Unless Google writes it’s own Windows-lite, it’s not going to step out of the shadow of Microsoft anytime soon.

broken promises

Well, more blogging in 2006 has been a joke so far. I think I’ve actually blogged less frequently so far this year. I could throw out any number of excuses, but the bottom line is that I’ve tried (and succeeded) in spending less time in front of a computer (outside of work, that is). Plus my life is boring, and there is not much that you’d care to know.

One of my current distractions however might be running into a rough spot. My old knee injury have came back with a vengeance, so I might need to cut back on the running. That is particularly tough since I have really been looking forward to running this marathon. But if my body says no, I should listen.

So, if I can’t run, you might start seeing more posts pop up on here. I hope that’s not the case, but we’ll see. If you feel like reading something interesting and regular, go check out the newly redesigned Worst Weather Ever.

UPDATE: I’m excited that ‘Crash‘ won the Oscar for Best Picture. I thought it was an excellent movie and recommend anyone who has yet to see it to check it out. I can’t compare it to the others, because I unfortunately have not seen any of them (yet), but it seemed very worthy.