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9th-Aug-2009 10:13 pm - Back In Town
Halloween 2008- Captain Hammer
Trying to cram as much relaxation as I can into the end of my vacation.

Had a really good trip. Hiked up and down a mountain, got some good time with family (including my two nieces), had trouble free air travel, all of my recent technology purchases worked out well, saw some bears and was fairly unplugged for over a week.

The annual hike up Mount LeConte went very well. My elder niece (4 years old) managed to hike up and down the mountain under her own power (5.5 miles, 2,560 foot elevation gain) and my younger niece (1 year old) had a good attitude while being carried up the mountain (despite not sleeping as much as her sister did three years ago). We had very nice clear weather on the way up. Sunrise the next day and the hike down were a bit soggy.

On a hike out to Laurel Falls the next day before picking up monstersocks at the airport we got to see a mother bear and two cubs scampering through the forest.

My new digital camera worked well for the trip as a replacement for both my small camera (although the new one is a little bit bigger) and my larger camera (higher resolution and similar zoom capabilities). About all I lose is the intervalometer feature and a slightly larger maximum aperture while saving quite a bit of space. The high def movie mode is also quite handy.

I had some trouble in initial testing, but during the trip my new GPS Data Logger worked well. I was able to track my hike up the mountain and the hike we took to Laurel Falls very easily. (I didn't track the hike down the mountain due to the weather and my expectation that I wouldn't take many pictures in the rain.) The waypoint feature is a little interesting, but a little limited since you don't specifically know which waypoint was which later on.

My old portable GPS has always been a little flaky so I picked up a new portable gps a while back. This trip was my first actual use of it. It worked well and has an impressive number of text-to-speech voices in various languages.

I almost brought my netbook (the first computer I've ever purchased with Windows on it) but figured it would be overkill to bring that and my laptop. It turns out I should have brought the netbook so that monstersocks could have had a computer to use while we were in Tennessee.

Now to sort through the gigabytes of pictures I took on vacation...
27th-Jul-2009 11:42 pm - Movits?
Halloween 2008- Captain Hammer
I'm not entirely sure what this is, but I'm pretty sure someone reading this would be interested in Movits.

27th-Jul-2009 12:52 pm - Minor Changes
Halloween 2008- Captain Hammer
After setting up a new website for my father this weekend I decided to make some changes to my website. I replaced Movable Type with Word Press (easier to install and update with my host, and I've got several Word Press sites set up for other people with my host so it'll help me get more familiar with configuratio, etc.). The content hasn't changed, it just looks a little newer and it's easier to make changes. Everything seems to be working properly so far. I also finally got around to killing my Visi page. Eventually I'll get rid of the Visi dial-up account that goes with it.

After CONvergence I decided to get myself a new camera with a better movie mode. I was originally planning on something a bit simpler (as usual) but was impressed with the zoom lens given this camera's size. The lens is wider than I'm used to on my other cameras so it's taken a little getting used to, but I think I'll like it in the long run.

I've been playing a bit with Google Voice lately. It seems like it would be handy if you have several numbers of your own that you want to unify, but it doesn't work as well if you share a phone number with someone else. If someone calls my Google Voice number and my cellphone and home phone ring, monstersocks could answer our home phone, preventing me from answering on my cellphone. Transcribed voicemails and the options for listening while someone leaves voicemail (like one of those old timey answering machines) seem useful though.
23rd-Jul-2009 10:55 am - Saving you money
Halloween 2008- Captain Hammer
House of the Dead: Overkill is $20 at amazon today:

Zero Punctuation review of Overkill

Overkill was the most fun I've had with a lightgun zombie game in a long time. Dead Alive + Planet Terror + House of the Dead.
18th-Jul-2009 12:49 am - Very Good Night
Halloween 2008- Captain Hammer
After a stressful week I had exactly the evening I needed. Dinner from Brasa with monstersocks and typhoid followed by the Director's Cut of Watchmen at the Carmike 15 in Apple Valley (this weekend only).

I liked Watchmen when I saw the original theatrical cut (normal and Imax) but this was definitely better. A lot of the changes were very minor but they just made the whole thing flow better. typhoid hadn't seen it before and also really enjoyed it.
11th-Jul-2009 09:43 pm - Annual Socialism
Halloween 2008- Captain Hammer
Pictures from CONvergence 2009 are online (and on Facebook but there are fewer there). CONvergence was good this year, but it felt like it was spread a little thin. Four days worked for the big anniversary year but I think three days works better in general. Random events of CON included Connie's Space Lounge for the black light fashion show & cabaret, tasty treats at the Deadly Delights party room, the cast of Cinematic Titanic (former MST3K crew, minus the guys who are now doing RiffTrax), watching Spooky Spooky Scary Scary, THAC0 and Fright Night at Cinema Rex (minus the chatty anime kids who hate Leprechaun and Teen Wolf), getting a chance to hang out with various folks including eriker and typhoid, etc.

monstersocks and kalmn threw a baby shower for lexiphanic at the house today. I was exiled to Inver Grove Heights where I watched Transformers. Once again, not enough robots and way too much LeBouf. It was good that they used Soundwave, but Sideswipe is a Lamborghini dammit, not a random Chevy something.
17th-Jun-2009 05:23 pm - Cutting Edge
Halloween 2008- Captain Hammer
I installed the 3.0 update on my iPhone today. No problems so far and I really like the fact that the Calendar app is suddenly useful to me with the update (you can now sync with CalDav calendars like the Google calendar that monstersocks and I use for scheduling everything). The 67 page updated license agreement was a bit ridiculous (required before downloading app updates, although I guess I didn't really have to read it).

Fortunately (for my wallet) I can't get a reasonably priced new iPhone until the end of the year (2 year contract, etc.) so I'll probably just stick with my current one until the next revision.

The latest Delicious Library update was just what I've been wanting from them forever. I can finally have a list of all my media easily accessible on my phone so I'm less likely to buy something I already have (stupid thriftiness).

The late betas of Firefox 3.5 are much nicer on my laptop. Once you get used to multi-touch control it's hard to go back to something that doesn't fully support it.
13th-Jun-2009 11:33 pm - Getting better all the time
Halloween 2008- Captain Hammer
I was able to get things taken care of at the dentist on Monday afternoon without much trouble. Not a pleasant experience, but the crown fits better now than it did before.

This weekend typhoid came over to hang out and play some games. House of the Dead: Overkill is highly recommended (typhoid quite enjoyed it). Not highbrow, and not a game to play obsessively for weeks like inFAMOUS, but great for an afternoon of fun. The plot and style borrow plenty from Planet Terror (or maybe just similar sources) and Dead Alive. We also played some EDF 2017 which is a pretty fun giant ants attacking the Earth game.
7th-Jun-2009 01:10 am - Weak End
Roast Beef- Goth 2
Had a nice night at home on Friday, then drove down to Faribault to visit some friends on Saturday, then returned home for dinner and sithlet's birthday party, then came home and one of my crowns popped off while flossing.
5th-Jun-2009 08:04 pm - Do You Speak American?
Halloween 2008- Captain Hammer
Watching Do You Speak American? with monstersocks. She has announced her intentions to leave me and head to New York where she will fight theater critic John Simon and then attempt to seduce the New York editor of the OED, Jesse Sheidlower in hopes of getting a job working on the OED.

Oh well. We had a good run.

PS- She just called Labov a "f*cker", but she quickly recanted.
27th-May-2009 10:57 pm - The Main Man
Aaron- Violent
I finished the Wolverine game. Assuming the plot of the game somewhat matches the plot of the movie, I think I understand why its reviews were so bad. The game was a lot of fun, but the plot was rather bland, especially once I got to the end. I'm not really sure how a person decides to take the character of Deadpool from the comics and do that with him. I got my hopes up with the bit at the end that made me think the stupid ending I'd just gone through was a fake ending but then it turned out to be nothing more than a cutscene. Bah.

Project "Get rid of the old couch" hit a minor snag when we were forced to realize that the two of us couldn't actually manhandle the couch out to the curb where it could wear a "free" sign, or out to the garage where it would sit until we had someone come and take it away. It lives in the dining room for now.
Halloween 2008- Captain Hammer
Good holiday weekend, a nice chance to recharge the batteries after a busy few weeks.

Friday we watched Death At A Funeral to see some whimsical Tudyk.

Saturday monstersocks was out and about while I puttered around the house dealing with some unread mail (I have a disappointing tendency to let the mail accumulate for a while instead of just dealing with it when it arrives) before getting into X-Men Origins: Wolverine for the 360. Conceptually the gameplay is a complete rip-off of God of War, but it's still a lot of fun. Definitely one of the better superhero games I've played (although I've heard good things about inFamous and will see how that compares). Later on we made yakitori and popovers with a blueberry feta salad. (Which reminds me we should really go back to Obento-Ya sometime soon.)

Sunday monstersocks made a cheesecake to bring over to her parents' house and let the magic smoke out of our microwave. (She was just melting some chocolate when all of a sudden she heard a weird noise and smelled something electrical burning. The microwave will be going to live on a farm later this week.) I made some chocolate chip cookies later that evening to bring to the BBQ on Monday. I considered doing some sort of silly bacon dessert something but decided to go with something a little simpler (that didn't require a warning label and that monstersocks would eat).

Today we went out to briangee and watterflower's annual BBQ and had a good time eating the food and hanging out with the assembled folks (typhoid, springbok1, 433 and others) and some old college folks (my sophomore year RA Anna, Cabbageball and Geoff).

Tomorrow brings the start of an abbreviated work week and a quest to find a new home for the couch we will be replacing on Thursday.
20th-May-2009 01:24 pm - Cancer Boy
Halloween 2008- Captain Hammer
The recent story of a child with cancer whose parents don't want to treat it is frustrating. On the one hand I don't like the idea of parents harming a child by withholding needed medical treatments. On the other hand, it's probably best for society if people like this are allowed to remove themselves from the gene pool.
13th-May-2009 03:34 pm - Dr. Cupid
Halloween 2008- Captain Hammer
I saw the new Star Trek movie recently. I thought it was very good, although there definitely wasn't enough Scotty. The new McCoy was very good, although I felt a little bad that I didn't recognize him from his previous work (Eomer, Cupid, etc.). I found most of the other actors fit into their roles well (I was worried it would be hard to separate Spock from pointy eared Sylar), although Harold or Kumar kept looking like Harold or Kumar. I'll avoid any significant discussion of the film to avoid spoilers.

I tried out the demo for the new Wolverine game for the 360 yesterday. It's a good length for a demo, enough to give you a good idea of the game but not enough to really satisfy. It's pretty much God of War with Wolverine instead of Kratos, but that isn't really a bad thing.

We went out to the Northstar Rollergirls championship bout this weekend and got to see Δ Δ Di (and our favorite player Wanda Gogh?) win the championship. It had a slightly rougher feel than the MNRG bout we saw, partially because the space had a less permanent feel to it (convention center v. auditorium), but it was easier to keep track of the action. I'm not sure if that was because we were sitting closer (but still not trackside) or if it was because we'd seen roller derby more recently. Both bouts were also closer than when we went to see the MNRG.
4th-May-2009 11:36 pm - Back To The Future
Halloween 2008- Captain Hammer
Our internet connection went out Saturday night and was down all of Sunday (and our cable was a little twitchy too). I called Comcast assuming I'd be told they were aware of problems in the area, etc, but instead I got walked through rebooting the cable box and then they scheduled a service appointment for today. At the end of the call the helpful rep tried to sell me on their digital phone service. Who wouldn't want an additional service from a company that's failing to provide what you're already paying for? It's weird to have no internet access other than my phone.

I took the day off for the appointment (I'll usually work from home if we're getting some sort of work done, but that doesn't work when there isn't an active internet connection). The tech showed up inside the promised window and got things figured out pretty quickly. Apparently one of our neighbors had spliced into the cable line on the telephone pole, reducing the quality of our signal enough that our cable modem wouldn't work.

I still had to make a quick run into the office later in the day to get some Mother's Day gifts so I could drop them off at the post office.

This weekend we watched Cars. I wasn't so sure about Ratatouille but I ended up liking that one. I never really warmed up to Cars. It still seems like a lame contractual obligation movie that they put together as the last film in their original deal with Disney.
22nd-Apr-2009 11:38 pm - Happy Earth Day
Halloween 2008- Captain Hammer
I took another walk tonight, down around historic Fort Snelling. Walking by 55 wasn't especially pretty, although I did see a couple deer.

This year we did our taxes in March so there wasn't much pressure come tax day. Instead I took care of other chores around that time (oil change, hair cut, license renewal, etc.). Tax refunds have already been budgeted for stuff around the house (ah, the joys of home ownership).

Something not particularly different: Christmas 2008 pictures (including Lundsten dogs dressed up in christmas outfits).

I've been playing the new GTA game a little, but I mostly play games on mobile systems while traveling and I haven't done much of that lately. monstersocks and I are definitely due for a non-family related vacation sometime soon though.

Thanks to ThinkGeek you can now party like it's 9/9/99 for $99.99. (My DC is still hooked up for occasional Typing of the Dead sessions.)
20th-Apr-2009 10:06 am - Safari Hints
Roast Beef- Dobler Style
One of my favorite things about Firefox was always the flash blocking add-ons that were available.

Now there's finally a decent flash-blocker for Safari: ClickToFlash

It came out a while back but it wasn't really ready for prime time use (disabled flash objects weren't obvious, no white list, etc.) but they've improved it recently. Very handy on slower computers or pages like the strib homepage with 8 flash ads.
8th-Apr-2009 10:41 pm - Walking Through The Neighborhood
Halloween 2008- Captain Hammer
The weather was nice tonight so I skipped the gym and went for a walk instead. I headed over to Minnehaha Falls, then followed Minnehaha Creek over to Lake Hiawatha. I went around the lake, then around the golf course, down Cedar and back along Minnehaha Parkway. A total of about 8.3 miles in just over two hours. I've been using TrailGuru lately to track my walks and give me pretty maps of my routes, along with silly details like min and max elevation, etc.
18th-Mar-2009 11:11 pm - Going The Distance
Halloween 2008- Captain Hammer
Work has been rather stressful lately. I can't honestly say it will get better anytime soon, but it likely won't get any worse.

My gym attendance has been suffering as I don't tend to work out if I'm at the office until 7ish.

Tonight I got out of work at a decent hour. Given the recent thaw I decided to go for a walk instead of the gym. I ended up walking over to Lake Nokomis and back, about eight miles total. It was a little longer than I'd originally planned, but it was nice to stretch my legs. I tried out an iPhone app that tracks your route as you travel. According to it my average speed was 3.6mph, although it also claims my top speed was 43.9mph which doesn't really seem plausible. As I was getting close to home I saw a guy riding some sort of two wheeled skateboard in the street while playing guitar.

With the recent thaw, we discovered two tires on our property that had been hidden under the snow. Not sure where they came from. My most interesting hypothesis is that they got caught up when the alley was plowed and were hidden. They didn't seem as worn down as I might have expected for discarded tires. According to the city of Minneapolis website we can get rid of up to 8 tires twice a year, so we should be able to deal with them.

I saw Watchmen this week. I thought they did a really good job with the material. I'm pretty sure Silk Spectre's main power was keeping her hair out of her face.

I started watching Dead Like Me a while back on my TiVo (through Netflix). For some odd reason the final two episodes of the first season weren't available online, so I had to get the DVD (from Netflix) to finish the season off. Aside from bizarre problems like that, I really like the TiVo/Netflix integration for watching TV shows.

I've been puttering a bit at home with the PHP script I built for my picture index on my website. I've added options to filter by year and category to a new version, although I'm not entirely happy with the presentation of the year and category lists at this point.
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