Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year, everyone!

It’s roughly 6.75 hours away from the rolling over of one year into the next. I figured I’d take this moment to wish everyone a happy new year and hope and pray that it is a prosperous one for you. At times like this, people frequently like to make lists of things that made the previous year stand out or lists of things that they expect will happen in the upcoming year. I’m going to refrain from both of those things because I expect that you already know what happened in the last year better than I do, and my predictions of what will happen in the upcoming year will just embarrass me if I have to look at it by the end of the year.

I will say this: it seems that Vista didn’t take the world by storm the way I expected that it might last year. *laugh* I’ve had a free copy (thanks to school) sitting in a folder for about a year now. I can’t bring myself to actually install it as my primary OS. Heck, I can’t even bring myself to install it as a secondary OS. I brought myself to install it as a Virtual Machine, but soon tired of that and deleted it.

Something that I did do which some of you may be at least moderately interested in was set up a Shoutcast server. If you don’t know what Shoutcast is, that’s okay. Just head over to and see what they tell you about it. If you have iTunes or Winamp installed, you can tune in to my cast right now by clicking this link. Clicking here will tell you info about what’s currently playing, how many people are tuned in, and what was playing in the recent past. Finally, clicking here will tell you what my playlist consists of. If you find what’s currently playing, you can find out what’s coming up next. Okay, I think that’ll do it for now. Happy New Year, everyone.

Oh, if you’re wondering what my resolutions are…you should know that I don’t make them. Sorry to disappoint like that.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

I've decided...

to stop resetting the timer. I'm now just going to make new timers. Why? I don't know. Maybe my mind will change later. Maybe someday I'll actually have an interesting post to post. At the moment, this blog is just something of a therapeutic outlet for me, and I'm not particularly happy with it serving that sort of purpose exclusively.

Friday, December 28, 2007

The Anniversary

Today is an anniversary. Well, "today" being Friday. I can't remember off the top of my head which anniversary it is, though.

I mean, I know what it's the anniversary of; I just don't remember how many years it's been. Give me a moment...

Let’s see. Met in fall ’02, started “dating” in spring ’03, so that must mean that the first occurrence of the event which I “Celebrate” every 28th of December was in 2003. What was it that happened…only 4 years ago? Well, the evening (the 27th, actually) started with a movie, then I drove her to her house to drop her off. After hanging out for I have no idea how long, we migrated outside to visit before I left to go home. For the longest time, these words had bounced around my head (hers too, I knew), but they had never been said. Until early that morning when she practically blurted out “I love you, Brian.” I got real quiet, and then continued the conversation as though nothing had been said. I knew she meant the words. I knew that I wanted to return them, but something more than “I love you too” was warranted. It was probably a half-hour later before I finally told her, “I want you to know that I love you too.” It wasn’t a matter of being scared of saying it; it was a matter of how important to me it was that she know how deliberate the decision to say those words was.

We talked later about that night – on many occasions. There was nothing we didn’t discuss at times. We’d critique one another’s gaffes, blunders, and complement each other’s shining moments. We’d discuss what we were thinking at past times of strong emotions, and generally try to analyze everything past and present to help the future.

Anyway, that previous paragraph isn’t really germane. What is important is that you know how strong those words were. Both of us knew that in uttering those words, we’d be making a commitment to the other person. It was a commitment that we each knew would be as strong as marriage vows. Not as strong as marriage vows are legally, but as strong as they are if the wording is to be taken literally.

What commitment was implicit in this statement I made?

This one: I will be patient with you and kind to you. I will not envy (you or others), nor boast or be proud of my own accomplishments. I’ll not be rude or more concerned for my well-being than for that of others. I’ll not be easily angered and I’ll forget past wrongs committed against me. I will always protect, trust, hope, and persevere. This I promise unto you until one of us dies or you release me from it of your own volition.

Every one of those statements was in my conscious mind when I uttered those words 4 years ago. And I meant them with all my heart. In case you’re wondering, she has released me from that commitment (of her own volition), but it hasn’t helped me to feel any less obligated to keep those promises I made. I know that I’m not responsible for them in the same way that I once was, but I still find it difficult (to say the least) to “move on” with my life. I’ve not yet learned how to reconcile my past commitments to ‘her’ with potential future commitments I may want to make with another ‘her.’ I’ll have to release myself, I suppose. Mostly I just hope that I never have to confront that situation. I know there’s more than a few of you out there who hope/pray/expect that I’ll meet a girl in the near future and it’ll all be roses and we’ll get married and then my parents can have grandchildren…but I think I still hope that I’ve already met her and that it won’t be very long before she realizes it.

Goodnight, all. Farewell, December 28, 2007.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

It has stopped!

The continual influx of Christmas music at work has stopped. This makes me uncontrollably happy. You have no idea. You know how happy you would be if the most annoying and grating thing of your life suddenly disappeared? That's how happy I am.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

In other news....

This has to be my favorite XKCD yet.

To 'her'

Half of me hopes you read this. The other half hopes you don't. By 'this' I mean the blog in general, and not this post specifically. This post I hope you do read, though I won't send it to you. I won't have direct contact with you of my own volition, and I'll do all in my power to avoid contact that you initiate.

I am actually trying to get over you. I'm trying very hard. I have some regrets about choices that I made while we were together, and I know that I made mistakes. I wish things hadn't happened the way that they did.

But they happened. Just the way that they did. You and I both made choices. I don't regret the choice I made to move on with my life. It was and is the right decision. Circumstances may change in the future, but in the last year and a half I've yet to see even a hint of that change. I've repressed my urges to make contact with you because I knew that if there was change, I would find out about it. It's not as if there aren't people who would tell me.

You don't know how hard you made things for me on Friday. Black Friday indeed. It's not as if I didn't have enough on my mind already. I certainly didn't need you standing around for an hour following me and staring at me hoping to get some reaction out of me. If there's one thing I regret, it's that I was caught off-guard and responded when you said 'hi' to me. If that hurts you to hear...well, I'm not sorry that it hurts you. I'm sorry that you're still so indecisive that you can't even make up your mind what you want after I've given you a year and a half of the cold shoulder. I've done *EVERYTHING* I can to make this easy on you. You think that things would be easier if I decided to take you up on your offer and call? You think that if we reestablished some sort of relationship, it would be roses?

Chris asked you a question when you asked him if he thought I wanted to talk to you. If you can't answer that question without a moment's hesitation, then don't bother trying to talk to me again. If your answer isn't the answer that you know I want, then don't bother trying to talk to me again. I'm not trying to be mean or rude. I'm trying to cauterize a wound. It's harsh, blunt, and probably sounds cruel, but I've got these huge gaping sores that I'm trying to let heal. Every few months you do something to rip the scabs back off.

Trust me. If you know anything about me, you know that I know you. I still understand your reasons, your thought processes, and everything you did on Friday. I *get* it. I'm not angry at you. I am hurt, frustrated, and tired. You can't help me with any of those things or any others. Stop trying to. If you think that maybe I've changed my mind and it's been a few months/years and maybe I want to see you again, you're wrong. If you know anything about me, you know that I'm persistent. That's two things you have to know if you're going to know anything.

I don't alienate you to hurt you, I do it so that we can heal. You need to get over me already, and let me get over you.

If you're reading this, stop now. Get on with your life.


Friday, November 09, 2007

Still here

...just been busy and usually when I'm sitting at my computer and could be producing quality stuff for you to read, I've been doing other stuff of marginal worth instead. Sorry-ish. I haven't forgotten that I came back, I just haven't really done anything about it yet.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Thinkings, ponderings, etc.

For a long time, I've mysteriously (as far as you know) stopped posting to my blog here. That's because it came to my attention that some people were reading this blog that I wasn't sure I wanted reading my blog. Obviously it's not a private blog, but one's public musings aren't significantly less private when among a billion other public musings than they would be if I simply encrypted them, e-mailed them to the people by whom I wanted them read, and attached some sort of program that would destroy all traces of the musings before they could be sent on to unauthorized people.

All that to say - I've decided that I don't really care too much who reads this. There's one person out there that I hope will be wise enough to stay away, but that person can make the decision of the person's own accord. In a perfect world, my blog would be public with exceptions. I'd have certain people that I could lock out of it. But I can't, that doesn't exist, so I have what I have. I'll live with it.

There. Now that that's taken care of, maybe I'll get back to writing/musing/ranting/whatever once in a while. I apologize for the interruption in your regular service.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Nothing to see here...

Move along. Move along.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Once a year, eh?

On this day, people were born. Doesn't that just boggle the mind? Not me, I wasn't born today. But lots of people who aren't me were. For those who follow such things, that's a huge class of people (people who aren't me). Not all of them were born today, but all of those who were born today are people who aren't me.

This is why one shouldn't blog at quarter-to-three in the alpha mike.

Monday, June 18, 2007

It's not fair.

361.5 days since last I've seen her face (and the counter since last I've had any communication whatsoever is up at the top-right of this page), and still I find myself wishing I could manage a day without thinking of her.

Will this never stop?

Monday, June 04, 2007

Back to Normal?

The computer lives, I'm back on the internet, and now I just need to take a few minutes (hours?) to finish getting Windows back to the way I like it (any of you who know me know how persnickety I can be about things like my OS) and maybe move it out of the spare space in Jerm's computer room to somewhere more convenient (like my bedroom, perhaps?). Anyway, the promised pictures, videos, etc. is all something I'm still working on. Expect something this week, 'k?

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The Churning Mists...

What are the churning mists? They're the things that exist between my ears. Anyway, they've been churning for a while, so another essay-like-post-thing is probably maybe forthcoming. The purpose of this post is just to let you know that I still live.

The current status of my computer is that the wrong motherboard was purchased and the most reasonable solution to the problem is to purchase a CPU that fits the motherboard. Anyway, I'm about to go out of town for a week, but hopefully I'll have a CPU when I get home. That will let me build a PC. And that will let me be online more regularly, blog, get on IM, etc.

We'll see what happens.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Context Free Pics

Here's a quick dump of the pics into a zip file. More interesting descriptions, annotations, etc. forthcoming. It's about 18 megs. Anyway, I just now started uploading it, so don't start downloading until about 1:45 Pacific Time.

Oh yeah, and go here to read the front-page article in the local paper.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Busiest. Day. Evar.

So today at my parents' restaurant, we did the whole 30th anniversary insane-avaganza! We rolled back the prices to what they were 30 years ago (and rolled back the menu selection too - there were a lot of items created in the last 30 years that we decided not to offer), and it was all kinds of fun!

It also has me all kinds of tired. Both kinds, actually. Maybe the third too? I don't even know what day of the blue it isn't. I'm guessing it's not the eleventy-eighth.

Anyway, pics forthcoming after I get them off Dad's camera.

Friday, May 18, 2007

For those wondering...

My computer is not yet built. The ETA is currently "two days ago." Maybe tomorrow the new motherboard will come in the mail and we'll see if that actually works. Saturday is going to be day of extreme pain as we celebrate the 30th Anniversary of my parents' ownership of their restaurant. They're rolling back the prices to 1977 ones (a $3.25 cheeseburger becomes $0.95, for example), and when we did this for the 20th anniversary 10 years ago (funny how that math works out), it ended up being the busiest day ever.

By a factor of about 4.

In terms of gross income, we've only once ever managed to hit the same value once ever - and we did so with present-day prices.

People came to stand in line for an hour just to place their order and wait for another 2 hours just to get their food. That's how busy we were.

Well, on the bright side, having done it once before, we have some sort of idea of what we're getting into and we're taking some precautions that we'd have never thought of without the experience of having done this. We'll see how it goes. No matter what happens though, I'm quite certain that I'm going to miss Kara on Saturday since I'll be down there from (at the very least) 10:30am to 9:00pm.

Saturday, May 05, 2007


I'm home. The trip was long (about 12 hours from leaving campus to collapsing in bed at home), but it was quite worth it. I'm exhausted (but not nearly as exhausted as I was when I did said collapsing into bed), but I'm mostly just glad to be home.

Today is windy. Very very windy. And now it's like 8 hours later than it was when I started writing this. Good game of cards, good dinner, and now I'm going over to Jerm's to watch movies.


Thursday, May 03, 2007

Tearing Down...

Okay, the computer is being torn down now. Most of it is going in an attic to stay here for the summer, but little bits and pieces are coming home with me. Here's hoping all the little bits and pieces play nicely with the new bits and pieces they'll be integrated with when I get home!

I'll be back online...well...I'll have access to the internet again on Friday night (10 or 11 Pacific). I'll actually *be* back online.......sometime later. (-: I think I still need to buy myself a compy case.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Who wouldn't?

I can't think of a single reason why I've not yet typed the alphabet in order!


Heheh, I have a really funny idea, though.


There, quicksort that. And do it with the first character as your pivot! HAHAHA! O(n²) sorting sucks, doesn't it?

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Your Love...

By Darrell Evans:
Your love is extravagant
Your friendship, intimate
I find I'm moving to the rhythms of Your grace
Your fragrance is intoxicating in our secret place
Your love is extravagant

Spread wide in the arms of Christ
Is the love that covers sin
No greater love have I ever known
For You considered me a friend
Captured my heart again

Your love has given me a freedom
Like I've never known
And Your love is bringing me home

Your love is extravagant
Your love is extravagant

I love what You're doing in me, Lord
And I'm thankful, Lord
What You're doing in my heart
You're changing me, changing me...

Deeper than the deepest ocean
Higher than the highest mountain
Reaches higher than the heavens
And still it finds its way to me...

And You're patient, Lord
And You're kind to me
Though I'm failing You sometimes
Your love never has failed me
Sometimes at points in life I don't know what to say or do. So when I have sufficient presence of mind, I put on a song. Sometimes I just give it back to God, sometimes I write the words down to help me see what's actually there. (I've got a notebook here with plenty of these scribblings - though I doubt anybody but I could easily read it.) This week has been one of those times where I see in life how much I've put my dependence for so many things on people where that should be placed in God.

The first time I sat down and read Judges, I was incredulous. It's the story of Israel under the direction of a series of judges over the course of a few hundred years. There were several judges at a time in power in Israel - each one had authority over some region. Under God, these judges were the highest authority in the land. It was their job to finish the task that Joshua had begun, clearing the land of the people that God told them to drive out.

The part about the story that left me incredulous was the continual fluctuations between prosperity and depravity. Consistently the Israelites would fall into sin, and then a righteous judge would lead them out of it. While in sin, they would experience the consequences of that sin. When led out of it, they experienced the prosperity, success, and they flourished as God had promised that they would. The part that I couldn't understand was how they could go through so many of these cycles so fast. Reading the book, it's clear that within a single generation the people would fall into and be raised out of sin multiple times. I asked how a people could be so stupid as to forget how God rewards righteousness and how sin results in misery.

I could ask the same question of myself now. How does it happen? Gradually. With small compromises. With apathy.

That last one...apathy. That is probably the most underrated sin in the world. It's not hate that's the opposite of love. Apathy is. It's written (in Scripture, no less) that God would prefer someone be actively opposed to Him than that the person simply not care. When You're the omnipotent, omniscient Creator of the universe Who has empowered a piece of that creation with the choice to love or hate, it's obvious that He would prefer we love (one another and Him). If that Creator would have preferred His creation to hate Him, then it seems reasonable that He hates them - and why create something that He hates and let it continue its meager existence making Him miserable?

God gave us this choice to decide whether to love him or to despise him. Being a God of love, He has created a home for both groups of people. In one (termed Heaven), humanity will know intimacy with God unlike anything we've ever imagined. We'll no more be His equals than a 2-year-old is the equal of his parents, but the relationship will be similar. For those who have chosen disdain over love, God provides a home as well. It's the only place in the universe where He shields His presence, allowing the people there isolation from His presence. This is what Hell is. It's not some burning pit with a demonic overlord who takes joy in the plight of all the captives. Hell was created as a home for those demons who felt that they could aspire to the position of Almighty. No piece of humanity was ever intended for Hell, but to bring a person into Heaven who isn't in love with God would be more of a punishment to them than Hell would be.

This all relates back to that apathy thing, I swear.

Because humanity was never intended to go to Hell, but because we made choices that alienated us from our Creator, and because He loved us so much, He enacted a plan to provide escape. He took on the guise of an ordinary human, but lived a life fully honoring to the Father. From birth until crucifixion, Jesus lived His life under the exact same power that every human on this planet has access to. He did it by living a life in harmony with the will of the Spirit, continually in communion (not the bread & wine ceremony, but "state of communing") with the Father. He was fully God in every way, but He suppressed his divinity to provide a perfect example of how we should live our lives. This resulted in a death of significant pain, indignity, and misery inflicted upon Him by all humanity. He did that because He loved us so much that He was willing to endure absolutely anything if only one person would use that to spend eternity with Him.

How can one look at that with apathy? You can look at it as a myth if you want (though nobody can reasonably deny that a man named Jesus lived and died in this manner - there's far too much evidence to deny that). You can claim that the tales of the supernatural in the Bible are just stories that don't have relevance today. If you do that, then you would have to look down your nose in derision at this man Jesus who went to a very painful death for no reason at all except maybe some mental deficiency which convinced him that he was the son of a nonexistent god. At the very least you would have to scoff him. After all, who would hold someone in high esteem who stepped in front of a runaway train to stop it with his bare hands before it careened off the side of a cliff? Is that a mark of honor or abject stupidity?

If that man is the Son of the One True God and is capable of successfully stopping the runaway train with his bare hands, and He does do so - who would react with apathy? Who would look at that and just not care?

How is it that people have been convinced that it's perfectly natural to be apathetic towards God? There isn't anything more unnatural I can think of. Either God is the One most worthy of our adoration and love or his existence is a myth that only serves to stagnate our culture.

Monday, April 16, 2007

ARGH! The Questions!

Can you ride a bicycle?
Yup. I learned when I was 4ish, if I recall correctly. I'll answer a later question on the list by also responding that I do in fact own a bicycle. It probably hasn't moved in about 2 years. It's a 21-speed mountain bike (nobody has a bicycle out where I live that isn't a mountain bike).

Have you ever broken a bone? (What? That isn't a comment on the idea of you engaging in physical activities!)
Indeed I have. Funny story that. Yup, quite the story.

What is your favorite view (Out of a particular window, from a tourist attraction, on top of a hill...)?
I like Bryce Canyon. From any perspective, it's the only natural landmark that I've seen (and I've seen a significant number of the ones in the US) that I actually find attractive beyond "Oh, neat. Can we go now?"


I keep checking my blog and looking for updates. They don't come nearly as often as I expect them to somehow. You'd think that whoever runs this thing could just ramble once a week or maybe twice or 14 times?

I think he's crazy. Just a side note.

Also, Jade, you need to turn your Line Volume down just a smidge. Not much, just the smallest amount.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Some philosophical questions of law

A judge recently made a ruling which said that a specific form of DVR (TiVo-like system) violates copyright law (reference). Now, the boxes that you buy to put in your living room are not contained within this particular subset of DVR technologies, so don't get too concerned. The form that was labeled as a violation is the form of DVR which is essentially a subscription service. You subscribe to a content host who will record shows you request (via the remote control) and plays them back on demand. The primary difference between this system and the more traditional TiVo system is that the recording equipment, storage media, and playback equipment are all "somewhere else" instead of in your living room.

This raises a legal question that is related to the technological society that we live in. Who is it that is actually doing the recording when I push a button on my remote? Am I doing the recording, or is the company that records and stores the show doing the recording? If I sign up for a service and then find a way to make use of that service illegally, is the provider of that service liable in some way for not making their system immune to that sort of abuse?

Now that automation has become so widespread, these questions will arise more and more. Because it's common for a person to sign up for some sort of service and make use of it without another person ever being privy to what's exactly going on, there would never be a person in the loop to pull the plug on some illegal activity that I'm doing.

For instance, if I purchase computing resources and network access from a company, and then use those resources to initiate an illegal attack on some website/corporate intranet/whatever, obviously I'm responsible for this, but what about the people who provided those resources to me? Are they going to be held accountable on some level? If a person stores pirated software on my server (whose services I'm leasing to him) and distributes it to his friends, am I party to this crime? Does it make a difference if it's just some buddy that I'm letting use the space for free because he's my friend?

No, Tom, I'm not using your server to store and distribute pirated software. *goes and deletes the Red vs. Blue episodes* Also, I'm no longer using it to store and distribute pirated machinima. (-:

Anyway, these are all questions that somebody who's looking to start their own business - especially one that provides automated services - will want answers to. Random food for thought.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Best idea ever?

You tell me. My thoughts are that if it's the best idea ever, I must be in a whole different class of thought than the people who developed this thing because I'm just not seeing it.

Ditto for this.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Today I decided...

...that I would post in my blog.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

More ramblies! Yay!

Some fun things I found on the internet today:

Double Fine Productions' News page (there are some really hilarious entries in here - especially if you've played the excellent Psychonauts)
Double Fine Productions' Job Openings page (it gets pretty funny towards the end)
GrumpyGamer (Ron Gilbert's blog)

Ok, so after those two random but yet semi-related links, I present the following: Introspection. Today I realized that I haven't much talked about any of the peculiarities about myself that I have observed set me apart from how it seems other people act/think, but that may not be apparent from merely observing me. First, I would like to point out that I have obsessive-compulsive tendencies. It's not debilitating, I'm not Monk (in terms of level of condition or genius), and I've never suffered from it - but it does affect me. For example, I have a very strong (but not absolute) aversion to stepping on cracks in the sidewalk. Unless something is actively drawing my attention away from my footsteps, I will make significant effort to pace my stride in such a way as to look natural and avoid the cracks. If for some reason I become conscious that I'm doing this, I usually continue to do it while chuckling at my own silliness, but I have been known (even today) to consciously step on a crack. I've heard of my mother's back suffering no ill effects.

I count steps. Usually in multiples of four or twelve. If the bell tower is chiming, I count the number of steps I take between tolls - I try to time my steps so that I have exactly ten. There's nothing special about ten except that it's the number of steps I naturally take in that period, I simply attempt to adjust the cadence of my footsteps so that the tenth step falls exactly at the time of the bell. When counting my steps in multiples of four or twelve, I'm simply counting to myself "one, two, three, four, one, two, three, four" over and over. Rarely do I keep track of how many times I count to four or twelve. Also, I count the number of steps in a flight of stairs. I am annoyed to no end when confronted with sequential flights of stairs which do not have the same number of steps - ESPECIALLY when the difference is an even number (usually 2). Why didn't the designer simply move one step from the flight with more stairs to the flight with fewer? Then they'd have the same number of steps. Then I could count to the same number both times. *sigh* Some things I may never know.

I cannot wear long sleeves without wearing long pants. It makes me feel top-heavy. Of course, this rarely is a problem because I am rarely without long pants (and when I am, there's probably no good reason to have long sleeves on), but still it's something that I have noticed. A friend of mine (some of you know him as Uthalinus, others perhaps as Jerm) used to regularly wear shorts with a sweatshirt. I would boggle at that because I could not under any circumstance imagine voluntarily choosing that outfit for myself. Clothing has a hierarchy - shirts are dependent upon shorts or pants (it is improper to don one's shirt before one's shorts or pants), long sleeves are dependent upon long pants, and also: long sleeves should not ever be worn unless there is a short-sleeved shirt underneath. You will rarely find me breaking any of these conventions.

And, in case you're curious for any reason - I won't be found existing in the state of shorts or pants without a shirt. That is simply a temporary state that I go through when getting dressed or undressed (the shirt comes on first, goes off last). Some may prescribe these things to "habit" - but I consider it to be stronger than habit. "Habit" is which sock I put on first. I actually don't know which one I put on first. I probably put one on first more often than the other (probably by a significant amount), but I don't know which one it is. If I were conscious of the order I normally do it in and reversed it, it wouldn't seem odd to me at all. That is not at all how these other things feel - there is something in my mind that compels me to obey these very arbitrary principles. I can break it if I choose to do so, but I rarely do because I rarely have any non-arbitrary reason to do so and I am overly conscious of being in violation of my own arbitrary rules - and that distracts me from whatever it is that I'm trying to do with my life at any given moment.

So...there you have it. Paragraphs of my personal quirks. Enjoy.

It's Wednesday! Questions!

Discuss a short moment in childhood where you learned something important about life?
Honestly? I can't think of any particular "something important" that I learned at some point in my childhood. Perhaps it was when I started working a regular job at 13 (learning the importance of keeping a regular schedule, keeping the boss happy, etc.) - but since my boss was my mother, I don't know that starting the job really taught me anything new in those realms. I'm sure I learned new cool important stuff, but nothing specific comes to mind.

What was the most special present you ever received at Christmas before age 7 or 8?
Well...honestly...I can't think of a single present that I got at Christmas before age 7 or 8. I got a Nintendo somewhere in there, but I can hardly classify it as "most special." It was more of a "big, cool, memorable" present. Around age 10ish I was given Day of the Tentacle for Christmas. I still play that game today. That's my first SCUMM game and it started my obsession with collecting LucasArts adventures. Searching for these Wikipedia links led me to this WoW guild run by Ron Gilbert - co-creator of Day of the Tentacle and the first two Monkey Island games. I was highly amused. Ok, I'll stop linking now. Unless the page actually needs a link.

So yeah - the present that's had the biggest impact on my life from that timeframe would probably have to be Day of the Tentacle.

When your phone rings, aside from the obvious, what do you do? (Eager for incoming calls, not so eager...?)
Nothing too specific - I answer it. I suppose that's the obvious. If I'm asleep (which is often the case), I wake up and do my best to sound like I've been awake all along. I'm actually pretty good at it. Try it some time - any time of the day or night give me a call. Odds are that if I was asleep, you won't know it. Of course, thanks to my highly odd sleep may have trouble finding a time when I'm actually asleep to call.
And - referencing my earlier post - I virtually always assume that it's 'her' on the other end of the line.

Wednesday, March 28

March 28th! The 28th has always been a special day to me - and by "always" I mean since December 28th, 2003. "Why?" you ask? I'm sure there's a perfectly logical explanation to the existence of your question, but said explanation isn't coming to me. Perhaps you're merely insane to have to have such matters of triviality explained to you. Are you not telepathic? Do you not understand the reason behind the firing of the synapses in my brain? Can you honestly tell me that you don't even have a guess as to the meaning of today's importance?

Well, then I'll tell you. It has to do with 'her.' Who is 'her?' Some of you know, others may not. It's probably safe to say that everybody I know who is reading this blog knows who 'her' is, so only those who are reading this blog without my knowledge don't. Well, that's fine. If I don't know who you are, you don't need to know who 'her' is.

Some days, I think that I decided to revitalize this blog in the hopes that 'her' would find it and get some glimpse into my life. I doubt that'll ever happen since I never told 'her' about its existence and I don't expect 'her' to just go randomly searching the internet for me. 'Her' isn't the sort to do that, you see. But if ever 'her' does and 'her' finds this blog, I hope that 'her' knows I still remember the 28th.

As distant in time and space as that moment is from me, I still remember the night sky; the hours spent sitting on the trunk of my car and talking; the words that were spoken which changed the course of my life forever.

'Her' is still out there...somewhere. 'Her' still haunts my dreams (though not in an unwelcome way) and lives on in my memories. I don't know if I wish that I knew how to let go or that I knew how to hold on forever. At the moment, I'm pretty sure that I'm capable of neither but desire one. I just don't know which one I desire. 'Her,' if you're out there......well, you know how to chalk your initials on the rocks. I'll see them.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

And in other news...

The sun is back out again. For some reason the clouds just decided to drop about 14" of rain in about 2 hours. Now it's all back to sunny humid normality. And there's nothing like the shock of going from 85 degrees outside (where it's reasonably comfortable) to 70 degrees air conditioned inside (where I shiver while wearing a sweatshirt).

Can I say more about this culture/clime?

The forecast today:

*sigh* You see that icon there on the left? Yeah - I despise it when that icon applies to a region that I'm currently living in. As you may imagine - I am currently living in a region which is covered by a forecast containing that icon. Today's weather has managed to successfully live up to the forecast and I'm currently soaked from a quick run from Heath-Hardwick Hall to Thomas Hall (my dorm). That's about a 30 second run.

*sigh* I despise water falling from sky. Under all circumstances. Water should exist in lakes, rivers, and oceans. It is not proper to have it fall from the sky. If it is necessary for some sort of ecological process or stability, then the rain should fall at a time when I won't be outside. That's only like...95% of my lifetime, how hard is that?

Yeah...I'm still not a fan of East Texas. Everything's bigger in this state - including the weather's mood swings.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Mmmmm, tech support.

Ok, someone sent me this. I was highly amused. It's got subtitles, but you really should watch it. Sometimes this is what the tech support guy actually feels like.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Flipping through my CD case the other day...

I found this.

Here's the description that I included when I posted it on YouTube:

This is an animation I once made to help me learn a dance. The blue cylinders are the guys, the pink/purple ones are the girls. When they stand in place and bounce, that's known as "setting." The rest of the movements are done (as you can imagine) with stylized feet movements. All of that stuff was easy for me to handle, the hard part was knowing where to go and when - so I modeled it with Bryce so that I could study it at my leisure to learn the movements. The music is actually for Pinewoods Reel, but they're both 8x32 reels, so it all works.

Anybody curious about my bandwidth?

Here's the latest statistics which count almost everything to date but this post here. That day with the gargantuan spike up to nearly 3 gigs? That's right after I told the school to raise my limit to 10 gigs. Bye-bye, $50.

Because today is like Wednesday...sorta...

Do you own a wall calendar?
Yes, I do. In fact, I own several. I have several Star Wars themed calendars, a Beatles calendar, and probably several others. I doubt I've taken any of them out of their shrink-wrap. I just like to have them for some reason. I also have several daily calendars (of the tear-off variety). I don't use any of those either. I'm rapidly approaching the point where I have a calendar for all 14 "types" of year. (One where January 1st is on Sunday, Monday, etc. - and then one each of those that's a leap year). It's doubtful that I'll ever actually use any of them.

Is there a cuisine that you have not tried, but want to?
I don't think so. I'm not one who actively seeks variety. If there's something I haven't tried (cuisine-wise especially), then odds are that I'm going to be quite happy letting it pass me by if the opportunity arises to sample it.

Weirdest thing you enjoy eating (what most people you know do not eat or enjoy)?
Well, this one's a bit weird. Eh, I guess that's no surprise to anybody reading this. It's also related to my previous answer. Every week after service, my church back home gets together at a house (usually my parents' house because we've got all kinds of room for stuff and kids and things) and has a potluck lunch. Something that my father and I just noticed recently is that my mother has about...15? 20? Some reasonably small number of dishes that she makes for our meals and very very rarely do any get added to that number. For this, my father and I are very thankful. (Eating at my aunt's house can be an adventure because she just...invents foods out of the ether and that's just weird.) Anyway, because of this, I'm used to a reasonably small number of "safe" foods. When potluck happens every week, I'm exposed to this table full of all sorts of things from people that (I'm assured) are quite good cooks. However, their food doesn't look particularly safe to me most of the time - so I tend to go for the safer foods. This leads to a trend where I eat things that are:
  1. white or yellow (for some reason, white foods are almost always safe. Mashed potatoes, corn chips, corn, cornbread, burritos, dumplings, rice, macaroni & cheese, etc.)
  2. simply composed of meat (like a slice of ham or a Salisbury steak patty - not a casserole or a stew)
Because most people tend to ignore the meat (or because I usually eat it first), I get tagged as always eating white/yellow foods. This is because people don't see me eating the (usually) safe foods that we have at family meals where a broader spectrum is utilized.

Anyway, one year somebody decided to really play up this joke for all it was my school hosted a lunch for my 17th birthday party. The theme was white & yellow. All foods, decorations, and most people's clothing was following that color scheme.

I've gotta say - it was one of the safest meals I've ever eaten.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

I can't believe...

I read the whole thing.

It finally finished

Yay, I finally finished the scan that I've tried and failed to let complete since way back in this post here. That's the good news. The bad news is that the file I wanted it to recover didn't seem to exist. *sigh*

Oh well, I guess it's a good thing that I didn't have anything truly important on my Linux partition. Just a few chat logs, some personal programming projects, and my hard-earned progress in getting Ubuntu Linux to recognize my 2 monitors. I suppose I'll survive.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Something I just remembered recently...

I like to listen to things while I drive. Music is good, but when I'm on a long car trip, what helps keep me stimulated is a conversation. Usually when I'm making a long car trip, though, I'm either alone or the other person/people in the car are sleeping. They tend to make poor conversationalists. So, I make do with talk radio, it's the next best thing. Back home I nearly always have access to a great talk-radio station: KFI AM 640 (More Stimulating Talk Radio). Recently (like..4 years ago) they started broadcasting their shows over the internet allowing me to listen any time I'm at a computer that's connected to a decent internet connection. (That doesn't include my connection from school).

Anyway, last week and this week I found myself alone in a car driving from or to Dallas respectively. That's about 2 hours of time - perfect to cram in a podcasted radio show. So I pulled up the most interesting one I knew of and dropped it on the iPod. It's seems wrong in so many ways...and the first reaction I get from most people that I tell about it is something along the lines of, "Are you serious?"

Anyway, the premise of the show is that it's hosted by Jesus. It's strange that a secular radio station known mostly for having idiot (though entertaining) hosts whose major vocations are standing outside the governor's office and yelling at him with a megaphone (I'm talking about you, John & Ken) would produce a show like this...and it's even stranger that it's actually taken seriously by many Christians. What it is not is religiously fluffy, obtuse, or impractical. What it is is down to earth, realistic, practical, and tasteful. It's the Jesus Christ show on KFI (6am to 9am on Sunday mornings Pacific time), and it's also available via podcast. I have modified the KFI Sunday podcast to only list the Jesus Christ shows. The link is on the right. I'll try to keep that file updated, though sometimes I may forget.

But back to the show itself, it's a 3 hour segment of time (which works out to just under 2 hours of actual show-time thanks to commercials) where callers can ask Jesus (okay, it's actually just an ordinary guy who is playing the role of Jesus) any question at all. Some of the callers are Christians wanting some insight into a theological issue. Some of the callers aren't Christian but would like to know what Jesus actually thinks about something.

Is the host perfect? Of course not. If you talked to him outside the context of the show I'm certain that he'd agree with that statement. Within the show, though, he never breaks character, is always portraying the role of a loving God trying to help his children make sense of the world they're in. If you find yourself looking for a way to kill a couple of hours and you could stand to listen to some talk-radio, I'd heartily recommend listening to this. No matter what, everything he has to say is quite reasonable, logical, sensible, and practical.

For those unfamiliar with the concept of a Podcast, know that it's simply an RSS feed that contains at its essence a series of links to MP3 files that you can download. The name stems from the fact that it integrates easily with the iPod, but you certainly don't need one to listen to them. If you like to use iTunes, you can easily use that to retrieve podcasts by copying the URL for the Podcast to the clipboard, then in iTunes go to Advanced->Subscribe to Podcast. Just paste the URL there and it'll download the files, keep track of your place listening to them, and keep track of which ones you've already listened to for you.

Alternatively, you can use just about any other RSS reader. For example, if you use Firefox 2 (or later), it includes the concept of a "Live Bookmark" built in. Just clicking on the link will prompt you to create a Live Bookmark which you can then use in your Bookmarks section like any ordinary bookmark folder. The difference is that the Live Bookmark will automatically update itself as the file you used to subscribe to it is updated. In other words, new content will automatically be added. The biggest downside to this feature (in my mind, at least) is that it doesn't keep track of which ones you've already read/listened to.

Finally, I would like to report my progress on my Mountain Dew can structure thing. You can view said progress here.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

If I could only have one accomplishment this semester....

Then it may as well be the construction of this monument.


I have to say...I miss home. Just look at the differences here!

I think I've changed my mind....

Yeah - I think I'm going to give up again on having a dual-boot system with Linux. I'll just go with the cheap way out and run a Linux VM.

For those of you who use Norton Ghost

I backed up a drive with Ghost 2003. I told it to save the disk to an image. I had it overwrite an image that was already present (I save my disk backups to a removable hard drive). I did this so that I could wipe that partition clean and install Windows Vista to try it out for real instead of using it in this silly little VM. (FYI, Vista in a VM is pretty pathetic. Vista running natively isn't a whole lot better - I'm sticking with XP until at LEAST Service Pack 1.) Anyway, Ghost running in real-mode PC-DOS should have overwritten the ghost file on that drive and I'd have a backup of my Linux drive that I could then wipe to install Vista on.

Well, Ghost likes to break backups into 2 gig chunks when storing on NTFS partitions. It may break them into different-sized chunks on different types of partitions, but on this particular NTFS partition, it uses 2 gig chunks. The first one is "whatever.gho" and then the following files are "whatever001.ghs" "whatever002.ghs" etc. I had a file "40gig.gho" that I wanted it to overwrite. There were no 40gigxxx.ghs files in the directory, just the single .gho file.

Now there is 40gig001.ghs and there is no 40gig.gho. I think that when it overwrites an image file, it doesn't properly register the presence of the new file.

Anyway, I'm now running a low-level cluster-by-cluster scan of a 500 gigabyte hard drive to locate a 2 gigabyte file. This scan started 5 hours ago. It'll probably be finished sometime Tuesday.

Moral of the story: if you're going to have Ghost overwrite an image file, just delete the image file yourself first in Windows and tell Ghost to create a new one.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Notes for Spring Break...

This being my third Spring Break associated with LeTourneau University (though only the second that I'm staying on campus), you'd think that I'd learn a thing or two about the way things happen here. Firstly - the hours for many things (like the library where I can go to get free Microsoft software because I'm in the Computer Science department) are reduced. That's to be expected of course, but I forgot how drastic it is. For instance, the library is closed all weekend. I was expecting to drop in there today to pick up some software (Vista, baby!) and get it up and running over the weekend. Alas, I can't do that until 8am on Monday. It would have been nice to check this YESTERDAY so that I could have checked the software out then. Oh well.

The other thing that you'd think that I'd remember is that....there is nowhere to get food on-campus from today (Saturday) until Sunday or Monday (I forget which). I found this out today as I migrated to the dining hall at 11:45am for lunch and found it shut tight. *sigh*

Thank God for Taco Bell and for nice former roommates who fly home leaving you with their car.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Because I felt the need for a project...

Whenever I find myself wanting to procrastinate, I come up with a project. Something that feels important but really isn't. My current project is taking Warcraft 3, filming a run-through of the entire game (I picked up Fraps the other day), then encoding YouTube-quality videos that show all the important in-game scenes with the unimportant in-game game-stuff being sped through at 5x normal speed (with cheats enabled too, so it goes really fast).

Thoughts? Comments? Suggestions?

Currently I'm using AVISynth to do all of the editing/splicing/whatevering, and I'm using the ever-handy XVid to encode the videos. My final output resolution is currently 512x384, but that may change as I get a better feel for how much video this is actually going to encompass. As of right now, I have the first 4 missions done.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

By "popular" request...

I've had a few questions from my readers that they must know the answers to! In a blatant effort to artificially inflate my post count, I'll be responding to these over the course of several posts. Maybe I'll make this a regular Wednesday thing! I need to put that label to use, after all.

Have you ever tried to roller skate?
Why yes, I have. I haven't just tried, but I'm actually halfway decent at it, or at least I was the last time I tried. The roads at home don't particularly lend themselves to roller skating (they're paved with this nasty jagged rock substance that kills your knees - either as shock absorbers or if you fall), but I've had the opportunity to go to several roller-skating rinks over the years. The last time I was on skates, I even managed to teach myself to successfully skate backwards! I am proficient on skates and on Rollerblades® (I still own a pair), but I definitely prefer the flexibility of the in-line skates to the traditional style.

What is one thing you wish you could do with your hair?
Convince it to stop growing and to stay where I tell it. I like the hairstyle I have, I've had it since I was 16 (I adopted it in August of 1999) and it's suited me well.

What are 5 things that you think everyone should do before they die?
  1. I think everyone should come face-to-face with the truth of Christianity and make an informed, intelligent decision to accept it as the supreme absolute truth in the universe or reject it as absolutely false, a delusional fairy tale. They must realize that there is no middle-ground. My preference is, of course, that they decide to adopt it for themselves, but I have faith that everyone who is confronted with the truth (and not some bastardization of it) will make the correct choice.
  2. I think everyone should work a job in customer service, retail sales, foodservice, or a related low-wage job emphasizing customer interaction where the customer will often treat you as a cog in the great machine. Everyone needs to learn to accept this treatment but rise above it to prove their worth to the company, their usefulness to the customer, and that their common position does not make them into a common person.
  3. Find a cause whose goals you support (not one that convinces you to support it or a cause that found you) and wholeheartedly work to bring its goals to fruition. Never commit to the group unconditionally, but always be aware of the goals of the group and support them while their goals and yours are aligned.
  4. Attend a concert to realize how much better the real thing is than a recording.
  5. Learn the differences between "you're" and "your;" "their," "they're," and "there;" and "it's" and "its."

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

That was Friday and this is Tuesday...

Ok, so this weekend I finally played through the expansion to Warcraft 3. It's only...just under 4 years old. I only pre-ordered the Collectors' Edition of Warcraft 3 and played through it in 3 days (and loved it) and then waited for 3 years after the release of the expansion to buy it and several more months to play it. I don't make cents. I'm not a mint. If I were a mint, I'd make scents. What's that? Suddenly this all stopped making sense? Maybe sleep isn't as overrated as some say it is.

Anyway, I give props to Blizzard for making a most intriguing expansion to an excellent game. Warcraft 3 was a good, solid single-player RTS (though I never really got much into multiplayer), and the expansion added all sorts of interesting twists.

Friday, March 02, 2007

In keeping with tradition....

I figured I'd throw another random blabby post up because I can. I've been told that I do it well. And at least one reader has complained that it's what my blog consists of - quantity over quality. I'd hate to change just because one reader complains, though, so I'm just going to use his bandwidth to host...

My first-ever Warcraft 3 victory replay file!

Requires: War3 1.21 w/Expansion

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Is it worth it?

The cutting edge. So many computer-savvy people like to stay on the cutting (or bleeding) edge of the technology, and thanks to the worldwide communication infrastructure that is the internet, advancements are made continually. It seems like there's a new Linux kernel released every couple of weeks and I have this pathological need to install it in my system.

You know the old adage - if it ain't broke don't fix it. Well, there's nothing particularly broken about my Linux install. Linux lacks the spitshine polish that Microsoft's OS has (not to mention the commercial software support), but it's really nice for certain things. Like software development. I like to fiddle with an OpenGL 3D engine that I wrote for Linux because it's a lot easier to fiddle with it here than it is to fiddle with it in Windows. But I must question my need to continually download and install the latest "Vanilla" Linux kernel (so-called because it hasn't been modified, patched, hacked, or tweaked for use in any particular "distro").

Now, as my kernel compilation finalizes, I ask myself, "Why do you have to keep installing a new kernel even though you don't really need any of the changes that it implements?"

To that I don't know that I have a good answer. Be right back, it's time to reboot.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

My First Turing Machine™

So yesterday I got to design my first Turing machine. It was a lot of fun. The machine would start with a string of 1s and 0s such as █111111101111█. It is some number of 1s followed by a single 0 followed by another series of 1s. Then it would exit in one of two final states depending on which of the two sets of 1s is larger. On the ends are markers indicating the edge of meaningful data.

In case you're curious how such a machine would work, I'll be happy to list the states and transitions for you. The first value is the value read from the tape. The second is the value that is written back to the same place on the tape. The third value is the state that the machine transitions to, and the fourth value tells whether the read/write head should move right or left. The machine begins and ends with the r/w head on the first non-█ character in the tape, and final state f1 means that the first set of 1s is greater than or equal to the second set. Conversely, final state f2 means that the second set is greater. Why am I putting this up? Because I'm procrastinating from sleep and this makes me look like I'm doing important work or something. I'm really not. (-:

Good night, all!
  • State a
    • 1, X, b, R
    • 0, 0, g, R
    • X, X, a, R
  • State b
    • 1, 1, b, R
    • 0, 0, c, R
  • State c
    • 1, X, d, R
    • X, X, c, R
  • State d
    • 1, 1, f, L
    • 0, 0, f, L
    • █, █, e, L
    • X, X, f, L
  • State e
    • 1, 1, e, L
    • 0, 0, e, L
    • X, 1, e, L
    • █, █, f1, R
  • State f
    • 1, 1, f, L
    • 0, 0, f, L
    • X, X, f, L
    • █, █, a, R
  • State g
    • 1, 1, g, R
    • 0, 0, g, R
    • X, X, g, R
    • █, █, h, L
  • State h
    • 1, 1, h, L
    • 0, 0, h, L
    • X, 1, h, L
    • █, █, f2, R

It's March!!!!

Ohhh, look what I got in the e-mail inbox yesterday! Well, about 20 minutes ago actually.

As of Wednesday, February 28, 2007 11:50 PM, you have transferred 3,078MB of data which is 100.20 % of your service level of 3,072MB.

Since you have used your monthly bandwidth allocation, computers you own will experience greatly reduced internet speeds for the remainder of the month.

I am amused and happy and stuff.

So a friend had a problem....

And all I have to say about this problem is this:

Remember that all-night take-home SQA midterm?

Ah, I just got it back today. I would have gotten it back yesterday, but that was the class that I slept through yesterday because I don't always remember to check for that stupid little illuminated dot telling me, "Hey, you idiot, you're setting your alarm to go off just after dinner!" Anyway, I passed it with brighter colors than I probably deserved considering how well I actually know the material, but I'm certainly not going to complain.

Anyway, happy Wednesday to you all. Maybe tonight I'll have something of at least moderate interest to post. Thoughts, ponderances, or just some JavaCC woes? Yeah, tonight I need to finish a CFG for a grammar of a simplistic variation of Java (but one that supports nested comments) and come up with an AST generator for the grammar.

In other news, I like Wikipedia.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

*Grumble grumble irritated sigh*

You'd think that I'd know by now how to set my alarm so that it goes off at 7:40am instead of 7:40pm, eh?

Monday, February 26, 2007

For those who don't know...

I am Troldann. Well, I'm not actually, but I once played the character of Troldann in the wildly popular MMORPG (massively multiplayer online roleplaying game) World of Warcraft (or WoW). That's him there on the left. You'll note that the text behind his head is "Retired." That's the polite way of saying that he's dead.


Yeah, well, he sort of has this habit of dying a lot. It's a bit of a joke. So we couldn't just say "deceased" or something like that because it wasn't as meaningful. He'd just get up again anyway. Regardless, my point is that I no longer play him and I thought that maybe I'd take a few moments to talk about it. If you're hoping that this is going to be one of those posts that comes down on the evils of MMOs or talks about how horrible video games are at sucking your life, then you're going to be disappointed. MMOs aren't any more evil than ink pens or scissors or baseball bats or guns. They are generally more addictive than any of those 4 things, but that doesn't make them evil - merely something that one needs to learn how to control.

Some people don't know how to control their addictions. I'm one of those people. That is why Troldann retired (permanently. He's been deleted from the server, irrecoverably lost). I have a highly addictive personality. When I find something I enjoy, I sink all of my energy into it and I don't look back. Unfortunately, I don't enjoy school and I did (do) enjoy World of Warcraft. That meant that all of my time was being poured into the virtual world of WoW (which does contain a lot of very nice, neat, interesting, fascinating, fun, and very very real people) and none was being poured into things of slightly more immediate consequence. Like grades.

It was so bad that there was only one event which could be guaranteed to pull me away from the game and that one event happened about 4 times in the last semester. I don't expect it to ever happen again. What was that one thing? A phone call from a certain person, but that's not important. What is important is that I had a moment of clarity where I realized that I was running from life and I was using a video game to do it. I needed to stop running, so I did the most sensible thing possible which was to turn the game off. 5 years from now, it won't matter that I got Troldann to level 60 with the full Virtuous set. It won't matter that I also got another priest to level 60 or that I cleared Molten Core as a healing priest twice a week with two different groups.

Yeah, I'm insane. I told you that when I find something I enjoy, I pour all of my energy into it.

Anyway, if those things won't matter in 5 years when World of Warcraft is old news (or maybe it'll take 7 or 8 or whatever before the game is replaced by its sequel or successor), then they probably don't really matter all that much right now. That is why I could delete the characters and not look back. They don't matter.

That isn't to say that I think the game is worthless or evil. Quite the contrary, it provides something to many people that they otherwise couldn't get. Many people have an ability which I strongly envy. That is the ability to indulge in pleasures with moderation. They can find something they like and partake of it when it's appropriate. I tend to invent new moments of appropriateness and supplement those with the old moments of appropriateness and soon there are no moments of inappropriateness. These people will indulge in an hour or three in an evening of playing a game with a group of people that they've cultivated a relationship online with.

Now, think about what they would have been doing with that time 5 years ago before World of Warcraft existed. Well, my parents don't play video games, so I'll use them as a comparison. They go out to eat (either at a friend's house or at a restaurant) or invite someone else over to eat maybe once a week. Two or three nights a week are dedicated to church functions. The other 3 or 4 days a week, they watch TV for one to three hours in the evening. Sometimes they watch TV on the days when they did other stuff also, since my parents will frequently stay up until about 10pm watching TV, but rarely will they be socially engaged past 8pm.

So, instead of spending a couple of hours watching TV as husband and wife, imagine if the two of them got online and spent a couple of hours working together to tackle some fictional obstacle with a couple in Kentucky that they'd never have met without the random matchmaking that exists within the realm of online gaming. What's that, you say? That's not a real relationship because they never meet face-to-face (or F2F)? Well, perhaps it's not the sort of relationship where these would be the first people that my mother would call if my dad was in a car wreck, but it's no less of a relationship built upon a common interest. Sometimes, given enough time (and sufficient maturity among all parties), the relationships can develop to a friendship stronger than a simple, "See you online next week." I'm far from advocating abandoning so-called "real-life" friendships for online substitutes, but when one can successfully supplement one's close-range relationships with some online ones, where's the harm?

All of these things presuppose a few basics, though. First, one should have a strong network of close-range ties which one does not abandon, neglect, or preempt for the online ones. Second, one needs the strength of will and/or character necessary to know when a good time to play is and to stop when that time has passed (that there was/is my weakness). Third, you need the maturity to recognize that these digital textured polygon meshes you see on-screen represent actual human beings which are no less complicated, interesting, and unique than you are. All too often immature players (maturity and age do not necessarily go together, by the way. I've seen a broad range of maturity across all ages) will treat people they meet online as though they were no different than the Combine forces. (For the record, those of the Combine are controlled by algorithms and calculations performed inside the computer, not by other people.)

Well, this has been yet another rambly long-winded preachy post by me, but I guess the point I'm trying to make is this: there is a lot of good possible within the realms so commonly labeled as "evil," "addictive," "pointless," and "childish." It's not for everybody, and many people will never understand how it's possible to develop a friendship with somebody you've never met and possibly never even heard the voice of, but it happens every day. To those capable of gaming responsibly, enjoy that world which is opened to you. Since I had to choose one or the other, I decided to go with the one that had better graphics, more tangible progression, and fewer clipping glitches. Were I able to sample both worlds, that would be fantastic, but it's not for me.

Enjoy your worlds. I'll just hang out here where the written word can serve as my new outlet.

Okay, maybe it wasn't actually *that* hard....

I now have a program which algorithmically translates a very basic regular expression into an NFA with ε transitions, then converts that NFA into an equivalent NFA without ε transitions. Our next step will be to convert that NFA into a DFA and then it'll be translated into a minimized DFA. All things considered, this is probably one of the cooler assignments I've ever been given in Computer Science....even if I did procrastinate on it like you wouldn't believe (unless you were my mother in which case you'd have no problem believing how much procrastination I've done).

Remember that Finite Automata conversion?

*sigh* I've just been given the deadline to remove the ε transitions...and the deadline is Wednesday. Well, I've got my program removing ε transitions for many cases, but for the NFA which contains a Kleene closure, it just likes to deal with it improperly. Looks like I'm going to get into nasty brute-force iterative "keep running passes on the machine until it stops changing" algorithms.

Ah well, such is life, eh?

Good morning, everyone!

Aaand....welcome to Monday!

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Implementation Avoidance Syndrome

I like programming. I really do. I enjoy coming up with solutions to problems, whipping up algorithms, and devising methods of overcoming obstacles in a way that a computer can understand.

The problem is that I hate doing actual implementation work. I don't like know...turning abstract theory into real code that works and does something useful. *sigh*

We can build a finite automaton F2 with no ε transitions from a finite automaton F1 containing ε transitions as follows:
  1. The states of F2 are all the states of F1 that have an entering transition labeled by some symbol other than ε, plus the start state of F1, which is also the start state of F2.
  2. For each state in F1, determine which other states are reachable via ε transitions only. If a state of F1 can reach a final state in F1 via ε transitions, then the corresponding state is a final state in F2.
  3. For each pair of states i and j in F2, there is a transition from state i to state j on input x if there exists a state k that is reachable from state i via ε transitions in F1, and there is a transition in F1 from state k to state j on input x.
Yeah...I totally don't want to implement that - especially since my already-implemented infrastructure won't let me easily do some of those operations. *sigh* Maybe I need to go back and rewrite it from scratch?

Also, in other news: this can't be good, can it?

Update: Turns out the delayed write problem was due to a partial dismount of a USB drive, so I'm safe. I just shut it off and turned it back on to remount it and everything's fat, dumb, and happy like always.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Untitled Composition #1

Yes, I know that You have paved a path for me
Yes, I know that You see what I do and don't need
But when it comes to the deepest things,
I have a hard time relinquishing control
Letting go

God, it hurts to give You what I must lay down
But when I let go, freedom is found.
God, it hurts to give You what I've held so dear
Because of Your love, it's clear
I can trust You with this
I can trust You with me
I can trust You

Lord, I know that You are worthy of my trust
You have shown me time and time again
You're faithful And yet,
I'm so scared of letting go of this
Afraid of what You might do with it
How could I forget Who You are like this?


Me forsaking
Heart is breaking
I let go of what I’ve held so tight
Freedom’s mine now
For the taking
I move in faith, not by sight
Let Your will be done


--Rebecca St. James

There was a time in my life when I experienced more growth as a person than any other period of my life. For about a year of my life, I gave in to what this song is talking about, turning my life over to God's will as much as I was able and knew how. So many things I just decided, "You know? I can live without this and instead dedicate the energy I was focusing into that to God instead." It was something that I had tossed around in the back of my mind for a long time before I actually did it, but I was always afraid that I'd be giving up something that I really didn't want to live without.

When I finally surrendered, I experienced the most alive year of my life that I've ever had.

I'm so scared of letting go of this
Afraid of what You might do with it
How could I forget Who You are like this?
Those lines express my feelings so well. After having done that, then falling back into the comfortable "live life as though there's nothing more than what you can see" lifestyle, I still look back at that as the best year of my life.

Why is it so hard to decide to do it again? Maybe I no longer actually do trust Him? I don't think that's it though. I think it's that I don't want to live there. Part of me - that depraved piece of corrupted humanity in us all - would rather just live life being no different than anyone else. It doesn't mind being quirky, and it never hinders me from being the center of attention, but it absolutely hates the idea of being the person that I was turning into.

Who was I turning into? I was turning into a man of God. Someone unashamed of Who he served, someone longing for a deepening of the most meaningful relationship a person can have. When did all this end? Soon after moving to school I found myself away from all of the influences who helped me back home and I found myself in the midst of a whole new set of influences.

For the most part, I despised everything about these new influences. Many of them were vulgar, crass, and rude. I knew that I didn't want to be influenced by them, so I did the easiest thing I knew how to do - I withdrew. I closed myself off from as many as I could and retreated into the quietness of my own mind.

Except that's not what a Christian is supposed to do. We've not been called to retreat from the world or to alienate ourselves from it. We've been called to live in it, to touch it, affect it, send ripples through it, and be an influence to it. I can't imagine a single person on this campus to whom I've been an influence in any way - I don't know that I've had conversations about anything more interesting or weighty than the weather with more than...2 people on this campus. Both of them are graduated, only one of them do I keep any kind of contact with any more. Now I find myself just enduring school, hoping to graduate and be done with it so that I can just go home and be away from this place.

Home won't be the way I remembered it, though. It's changed, I've changed...the relationship that inspired such strong changes in me no longer exists....

Where does this leave me? I don't know.
Yivarechicha Adonai V'yishmirecha;
Ya-Ayr Adonai panav Aylecha v'yichunecha;
Yee-saw Adonai panav Aylecha v'ya-saym l'cha shalom.

Just got an e-mail...

Just wanted to let you know that there is a severe thunderstorm watch in effect today until 4pm. We will likely be having bad thunderstorms even if we don't have tornadoes. If the Longview sirens go off, remember that everyone should go to the 1st floor. Thanks!
Yay. I hate this sort of thing. I'd take the possibility of earthquakes over tornadoes any day.

On the woes of one day's indiscretions...

My school, in an attempt to curb the problems that our network has had in the past (namely, slow access to the internet) has instituted a policy wherein users are allowed 3 gibibytes of transfer (combined up- and down-stream). After you reach your limit, you are placed in what has popularly been referred to as "The Dungeon." In the dungeon, you share a low-speed connection with everybody else in the dungeon, so the more people there are, the slower it goes. I spent the last week of January in the dungeon and was blessed with 0.5 kibibyte/sec transfers when I stayed up until an insane hour when nobody else in their right mind was awake. Most of the time my transfers would time out before completing, causing me to refresh webpages 10 times before they would actually come up. Downloading a page such as this one with Flash and images disabled would probably have taken something on the order of two minutes.

Well, thanks to some decisions I made a few days ago about downloading some software, I may find myself in the dungeon again. If that happens, I'll probably not post more than a single blog entry since it's so bleeding painful to do so. As it stands, I have 4 days in which I must stretch out 100 mebibytes. I think I can do it.

Friday, February 23, 2007


So someone just offered to mail me his old motherboard, processor, video cards, and RAM. That's like...a massive upgrade. 64bit AMD FX64, dual GeForce 7800s....mmmm, sweet computer. I decided that though I'd love to have the upgrade, it would be better if it were waiting for me at home.

a) I'd spend less time fiddling with trying to get everything working and benchmarked and whatnot while I'm doing school.
b) I don't actually have any real legitimate use for an upgrade at this point in time
c) Having it waiting for me at home would be a huge nice thing so that I can leave most of my computer here at school and just bring home my hard drive. I've been trying to figure out how I was going to deal with the logistics of getting this thing home at the end of the school year since this'll be the first summer that I fly home without anybody driving the route for me to send my computer with.

Thank you Mr. Person-who-gives-me-free-stuff!

Because necessity demanded

I absolutely had to put up a wall of text here because that video occupying the top of my blog was simply too annoying to ignore so here is my wall of text random rambling run-on sentence that will attempt to be something which resembles in some way stream-of-consciousness writing except that I'm not really thinking about anything except thinking about thinking about thinking itself but I don't like writing about thinking about thinking so instead I'm going to write about writing about thinking about thinking about thinking and that is where stream-of-consciousness writing always seems to break down for me because I end up just writing about the process of writing itself and that's about as useful as a cave full of mynocks which I don't really like anyway but I'll write because I can and because the urge has struck me and because that video is still there haunting me and taunting me and challenging me to just leave it there in all of its pixelated nasty glory but I won't I'll move it off the top of the page and shove it down lower where people have to scroll to see it but maybe they won't and then I can be happy because it's all - and then my stream of consciousness gets interrupted by my RA dragging me out of the room to go participate in some random weird social event where people drink carbonated beverages which contain frozen vanilla-flavored sugary dairy product but I didn't have any because I'm all anti-social weird like that and didn't want to take any of their confections when I wasn't going to participate in their bizarre rituals of conversations so instead I just hung out on the fringes until my RA wasn't noticing me anymore and then I escaped back into the safety of my room with the lights turned off and the music turned up and the monitors illuminating my face and keyboard as I type away into the night which has just begun though I hope I'll actually get to sleep at an hour that's reasonably earlier than 4am or so because I'm tired of getting up in time for dinner and then being all bored trying to find something to do while avoiding doing homework though I don't know why it really matters since I don't do anything with anyone else anyway but at least having other people awake makes the place feel less vacant and/or dead and then I decided to change my music to listen to the Complete Recordings of the Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring which I just watched recently and that made me like the music all over again not that I ever had stopped liking the music, but re-watching the movie made me able to associate the music with the images and events of the movie again and I really like doing that because that's why I actually like movie scores so much more than other music because the movie scores are to movies like books are to movies they both have a piece of the story without having all the elements with no room for your imagination and little room for your interpretation and other music which doesn't have an associated story like true classical music isn't as appealing to me because it doesn't have those associations that I like having so listening to it is just hearing sounds though some of it is really cool (I absolutely adore the 1812 Overture especially with cannons) most of it just bores me even though I can't really identify any elements that classical music has or is missing compared to movie score music if that makes any sense but I think I've managed to make a sufficiently long and indecipherable wall of text so as to obscure that horrific video and keep it from popping up on screen without being scrolled to by some poor user who just decides to look at this blog.

Worst music-video ever? You decide.

Holy cow!

So I managed to go to bed at about 8:30 last night and my alarm woke me up at 7:15 this morning....that was 10 hours and 45 minutes of desperately needed sleep.....

and it was at night when most people sleep! Oh my goodness, I'm going into the weekend on a normal sleep schedule! Let's see if I can keep it.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

A Moment of Thoughtfulness...

Whom have I but You?
Whom have I but You?
Though the mountains fall
They fall into the sea.

Whom have I but You?
Whom have I but You?
Though my colored dawn
May turn to shades of gray.

Whom have I but You?
Whom have I but You?
Though my questions asked
May never be resolved.

Whom have I but You?
--David Ruis

And 5:28

I guess that means it's time for dinner, eh?


Man, I gotta stop paying attention to the clock.

Mmmmm, sleep?

Occasionally I remember that sleep isn't this luxury that people indulge in when they've nothing better to do. It actually is necessary once in a while.

Crash time.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007


Take-home tests when the instructor gives you something like 35 days to work on them seem like such a great thing.

Why is it that I decided to start working on the test 12 hours before it was due, then spent 4 hours procrastinating before I actually did start on it?

Some things we may never know.

Microsoft Propaganda Convention 2007

So today I went to the Microsoft "Ready for a New Day" launch convention. It was interesting, I got to see some cool features of Vista & Office 2007. From a development standpoint, I think the new Windows Presentation Foundation stuff is pretty interesting and will turn out to be more than hype. From a user's perspective, I think Office 2007 will make it a lot easier to make nice-looking documents/presentations/what-have-yous, and the side-effects of that will be the extra effort that professional "make-it-pretty" types will have to show the "it's-3d-so-it's-pretty" types why they spent all that time in school learning how to make it pretty.

All in all, it's a good thing. But that's Office.

Windows....ah, Windows. I was amused to no end when I saw that the most hyped thing about Windows in the keynote address was the highly improved search functionality of Windows. Don't get me wrong, I think it'll be fantastic. But I was amused that the keynote speaker was talking about the newfound ability to click the Start button, then type "calc" and as you type it narrows down the search results until it shows you the application you want.

So...yeah. Launching applications in Windows just went back to a command-line paradigm. I found that absolutely hilarious. (Of course, I've had my Start Menu optimized since the early days of Windows 95. Here, let me give you a breakdown of my Start menu's contents.)

  • Start
    • Programs
      • Applications
        • ASUS Probe
        • C++ Builder
        • Dia
        • Eclipse
        • E-Sword
        • Force 2.0
        • Microsoft Virtual PC
        • Microsoft Visual Studio 2005
        • Scientific Notebook
        • TI Connect
        • TweakUI
        • Virtual TI
        • VMWare Player
      • Entertainment
        • American McGee's Alice
        • Descent II
        • Diablo II
        • DOSBox
        • Emperor - Battle for Dune
        • Freespace 2
        • Half-Life
        • Half-Life 2
        • Homeworld
        • KotOR 2
        • Outlaws
        • ScummVM
        • Steam
        • UnrealTournament
        • Warcraft III
      • Internet Stuff
        • Filezilla
        • Net Transport
        • PuTTY
        • Serv-U Administrator
        • Skype
        • Trillian
        • Ventrilo
        • Windows Live Messenger
        • Zone Alarm
      • Multimedia
        • VidEditing
          • {various ripping/encoding tools}
        • Audiograbber
        • CloneCD
        • Cool Edit Pro 2
        • ID3-TagIT
        • IrfanView
        • Media Player Classic
        • Picassa
        • PowerDVD
      • Startup
        • {This space intentionally left almost blank}
The point of all this is to show an example of an efficiently laid-out Start menu. How many folders are in the Programs section of your Start menu and contain only one item that you ever use. If you only use the one item, then why have it in a folder? Wouldn't you be better off just moving that one item up a level? That's basically what I did - I organized all of the items that I used into categories. Now if I want to launch (for example) Media Player Classic, I use the following keystrokes (in sequence, not all at once). [Winlogo] [P] [M] [M]

The first pulls up the start menu. The second selects "Programs" and opens the next level of menu. The third opens Multimeda, and the fourth launches Media Player Classic (since it's the only thing in Multimedia that begins with "M").

Personally I still like my system better than Vista's way of doing it, but I've always been one who likes to do march to the beat of a different piccolo.

Anyway, as I write all of this, I've got a virtual machine busy installing Vista. My poor computer's freaking at me because it doesn't have enough RAM to support the VM and do this massive file copy operation I told it to do AND let me post on my blog and work with IM and browse the web in tabs.....

At least I'm nice enough not to be making it play MP3s for me....though I was watching random video clips I found earlier. But I stopped doing that a long time ago.

Anyway, I'll take a few weeks and fiddle with Vista. If I get it working the way I like it, I might just Ghost the VM and install it natively.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007


Thanks to Jade, Google, and many others, I've got this website looking much cooler than it did this morning! That picture you see? That's all Jade. She is a master with Photoshop. I tried to use the image you see here, but you can tell hers is a heckuva lot better.

Anyway, if you want to visit this site in all its glory, you have to access it via - that way you get the really sweet favicon to go with it!

Thanks, Jade! Thanks all my loyal readers! Thanks mom for giving birth to me and allowing this day to come to pass!


I look at my clock, and it stares back at me.
Yeah, I actually have one of those blinky-LED binary clocks. I don't really use it much for actually telling time since I'm usually too tired to want to try to figure out which lights are lit and what values they represent and what their sum is. Mostly I just have it positioned right beneath my monitor so that I notice when it suddenly goes real dark because it went from
.O.OOO    ......
OOO.OO to ......
OOO.OO    ......
and that tends to shock the ol' eyes when the room is dark.

Anyway, I just looked up and saw that pattern and remembered the old days when people had clocks that had blinking dots between the hours and the minutes. You know, the stone age of clocks. They were dim and red and big and somehow always magically came on at the exact same time the DJ decided to announce that it's 7 o' clock. Or maybe I'm confusing real life with the movies again.

Anyway, in conclusion, I wish to state that I believe that all frequencies in the EM spectrum deserve equal status as consideration for the term "color" - we should not reserve that term only for those frequencies which we can see unaided with our eyes. That is all.

And now 3:28 has come and gone. It does that.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Because I can....

I'm going to put something else on the internet.

Hahahahahaha! Feel my power! *flex* The internet is now bigger, and it's because of MEEEEE!

Sunday, February 18, 2007

The weekend departs

Sleep schedule is almost straightened out. The work...well, I still have 6 hours before the weekend is technically over with. It'll get done.

In other news, I've almost finished reading Eldest - I've decided that though the cross between atheistic and pantheistic views that the author tries to push on the reader are pretty weak, the characters are interesting and the plot is thickening respectably. Plenty of conflict, not much deus ex machina, and dragons and sword fighting too! Too bad he had to come up with theism and a system of magic which I absolutely hate in a way that goes beyond literary opinion.

Friday, February 16, 2007

The weekend

The weekend arrives. Time to get caught up on all the work that I should have been doing over the last few weeks. I just finished filing my taxes - it's so nice to have the feeling that I'm getting money even though I'm just getting back the money that I never should have given them in the first place.

Oh well, such is life. Maybe by the time Monday rolls around, my sleep schedule will be all straightened out and I'll be awake all day and asleep all night. One can only hope, right?