About those icons …

I’ve updated the sidebar widgets to be like they were, only better. I still need to fix the sidebar to add blogs, and I’d like to switch to using pictures instead of icons. Anyone have issues with me using their actual picture instead of icons? Should I just think of something that reminds me of you instead? Or something random? A totem creature, perhaps?

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New URL, New Layout

Ok, so it’s the default layout for now. Gravatars in comments supported, yay!

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Gravatars

I’ll be modifying the comments and sidebar friends list auto-thingy to utilize gravatars instead of dumb old icons, so if you have one, put the URL to your avatar in the comments. It’ll be fun!

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Clash of the Titans

I just finished watching Clash of the Titans on Netflix – the old one. The effects are actually pretty good I’d say. It’s one of those things where they didn’t have the tools at the time to make the film exactly as they intended, but they did alright. I’m curious to see the new one, I haven’t seen it yet, and I hadn’t seen this one since I was in Junior High.

It’s been a few months, and we’re almost at November – Pepper will be 6 months old!

So much has happened this year, the summer just zipped right by and Pepper got to be a healthy sized baby. It kind of sucks because there’s a ton of clothes that she never even wore, but oh well, I’d rather she get big and strong than be small.

A guy at Gamestop (yes, that Gamestop) asked me if we were feeding her steak. I laughed because she was once so small she couldn’t keep her body temperature, so bigger is better in my mind.

I’ve recently changed modes in Twitter, I’ve un-followed some celebrities and I’ve started to follow local Salt Lake people. So far I’ve drastically enjoyed it better and it helps keep me from feeling like I’m lost in a sea of people and faces. I still follow some big names, but I think tipping the Twitter scale to a more local approach (even when you don’t really know them) is novel.

I’ll tweet about this and some of the people who’ve been kind enough to follow-me-back (and I don’t think you necessarily *have-to* follow me back, it’s not like you actually know me, and even then, I’d have to respect you if you didn’t. I’ll try to be interesting, but at the end of the day, being interesting can be exhausting. Feel free to comment on that) will possibly read this post and be like, oh, so that’s why @Wudan07 follows me. Interesting. In my own way, I found only one or two of them independently, then as they RT or reply to each other I’ll go and read that other person’s tweets and possibly follow them.

I think what sets Twitter apart from other social network sites is that it doesn’t try to be ‘the last goddamned site you will ever go to’ and for that I would like to initiate a slow clap, that grows slowly in to grandiose applause.

Twitter still tries to be elusive, I think that may be by design, but I think the death of it is when your mom would start using it. Your mom won’t get the 160 character (140?) limit, or what a character is. She’ll go back to Facebook and post and re-post some crap about bags of monies or some tongue-in-cheek naughty where-do-you-like-to-put-your-purse-down tidbit.

The last thing I don’t like about Facebook is that it’s just not secure; it seems like it’s bad design and an attempt at technology lock-in that just seems like it’s not there; a better technology will come along and consume it.

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The Weekend(s) of August 2010

Sorry for not having Weekend posts this month. Things have been in turmoil.

First things first, if you didn’t watch Scott Pilgrim vs. the World in the last two weeks, you’re off my Christmas card list. It’s simply one of the best films ever made.

It also has been tanking at the box office. Nerds do run things, but the sad state of things is, they probably also stole this movie. Which is uncool, because if we want more movies like Scott Pilgrim we have to speak the language of commerce, which, as you know, is money. If an artist makes something of value, you buy it, not only because you should reward entertaining people for entertaining you, but also because you want the people who funded them to know that you appreciated their contribution, and you would like to see more in this vein. If you don’t pay for straight-up nerd films, you only get movies that come close, but stick with mainstream appeal because it pays. Money talks.

So, money. Great way to start out an entry.

The boy got his Tenderfoot rank in scouts and also his First Aid badge. That was like, the coolest thing I’ve ever been able to post on this blog. He really enjoys scouts, which is good because I really enjoyed it and if he didn’t I’d feel bad.

Had some good BBQ over the last couple of weeks, but if we don’t start cooking something healthy soon I’m going to have to stop BBQ altogether. I’m talking about Salmon.

Played lots of Hand and Foot, the one game I can win on a semi-consistent basis. I actually sometimes rock at it. I even one a team game! Wait, there’s no ‘I’ in ‘team’ …

Played the best game of Zombies!!! ever, played Bang! (with new expansion) … Died … a couple of times …

Oh, and then there’s the Playstation Move.

It had such promise to be better than the Wii. Video game historians will remember that Sony and Nintendo at one time collaborated on a system, but then Nintendo went their own way and the Nintendo 64 console was the result. Sony developed the Playstation back when you could call it ‘Playstation’ and not ‘PSone’ and it tanked for a few years before titles like Resident Evil 2 and Final Fantasy VII put it on the map – meaning you had to have one to play these exclusive games. Playstation carved itself out as a hardcore system and years later here we are:

Nintendo’s Wii was a shock to the world of console gaming, and it got people to play games who couldn’t before. Just wave this stick and cool stuff happens. Yes, the tech actually turns out to be primitive, but the results are phenomenal: your grandma can play games with you.

Well, I see the Playstation Move as an attack on the Wii: it’s meant to surpass the technology used in the Wii, and it does, being able to track the origin and angle of the controller is a distinct technological advantage over the Wii, but I am afraid that is where the advantage stops. Somehow it is near-fun but not fun. Calibrating your controller to maximize your experience gets very tedious and very old. Yes, it’s a few seconds. But you don’t have to do it with the Wii.

The games that Sony sent over aren’t blockbusters either, of them only Sports Champions, Shoot, and Tumbler are worth the screen-time (the last one, Tumbler, really showcases how much better the tech is and doesn’t seem to fall apart as easily as Sports Champions, Shoot is a good enough shooting game but doesn’t fully leverage the technology – doesn’t really need to though, does it?)

All in all, I didn’t get the sense that many people were overwhelmingly impressed with it, and many times throughout the day the Move wasn’t used, and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (the game) was played instead.

I’d say I’m a core gamer, but I’ve played and loved a number of Wii titles that used motion controls. I just got the sense that the Playstation tries to put you and your Move in to a little box inside your living room and wasn’t as friendly to groups as the Wii is.

I know, maybe it’s all coming across that I’m a Nintendo fan boy – but Nintendo has let me down in a few areas as well: no real Hi-def, not enough game demos available. A *very* large chunk of the money I’ve spent on video games in the last 6 months (since I’ve had a PS3) has been on PS3 games.

In the end, I really wanted to fall in love with the Move, but I was vastly underwhelmed by it. I don’t find myself waking up in the middle of the night with a need to play it. It does not live up to the hype.

Finally, Pepper news. She’s getting so big, she definitely is getting stronger every day. She’s very expressive, with smiling and wanting to interact with people. Sukie says she’s reaching for things now, but I don’t believe it. Saturday when we had so many people over she was definitely not wanting to nap much, but was chill enough to sit in laps and hang out. I really dig that about my baby.

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The Weekend VII

– Had an awesome ‘non-traditional’ baby shower. Was up very late making rice. Well, Sukie made the rice. I was just around.
– Powered by RockStar Cola, unloaded a truck of Striker’s belongings, he now lives in Draper in a nice apartment by IKEA.
– His lovesac is huge.
– crashed for the rest of the day, played games.
– Oh, recently finished Assassin’s Creed (the first in the series.) What a trippy ending to an otherwise completely boring game. The few times the story moves forward are ok (if not as repetitive as the first 95% of the game), but I was ok with that. It sucks there were no trophies, but I was really just playing the first one so I could get to the second game in the series, which I’ve played a bit of.
– Playing Uncharted after finishing Assassin’s Creed makes Uncharted a much better game. Story wise Uncharted is at a much faster pace but the gameplay isn’t as awesome as … say … Resident Evil 5. Post-Assassin-Uncharted is great: you have guns and don’t have to worry about being silent. The pace at which I learned to assault bad guys in Assassin’s Creed really helped out though (the game’s battles go slow if you aren’t always jamming a button: you can win if you are patient, but you can win faster if you are impatient.)
– Played a game of Ticket to Ride: Europe, but lost horribly.
– Played Hand and Foot, did okay. Played on a team with Sukie, and did pretty good.
– Pepper’s eye swelled up pretty bad yesterday, though it wasn’t the weekend it was probably weekend related. Here’s a pic of her at the babyshower with her aunt Shy.

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IT Crowd, American

Yes, it’s horrible.

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The Weekend VI: Pioneer

– Bomberman 94 is awesome.
– Zombies were not present in 1847 … or were they?
– I won in a kick-war against Frik in Bomberman World Cup.
– That sweet save-n-kick against the Boy.
– Bomberman Ultra (PS3) is not as cool as the Bombermen of yore.
– Fireworks are cool, but I wouldn’t want to have them every weekend.
– Carebear’s Apple Pie is like buttery delicious, with a perfect crust and delicious fruit on the inside. It exceeded the hype.
– 6 sparklers at a time is like trying to tame white hot fire.
– Near completing Assassin’s Creed I. Pretty sure Al Mualim’s voice is Splinter, the rat from Ninja Turtles, so after each sentence he utters, insert a turtle’s name.
– Completed Resident Evil 5: Desperate Escape. So far neither of the extra missions have lived up to the original game, but I guess that’s just not doable?
– BBQ’d New York Strip steaks, quite delicious.
– Pepper is eating more, getting super cute!
– Settlers of Catan is best when everyone starts out in an almost equally bad position. (Sheep production was off the charts!)

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The Politics of Change

Basically what I learned yesterday is that I live in a good neighborhood with good citizens. It’s true they are older people, but they did, in effect, build this city. I even went to school with many of their kids. Sukie and I were the younger ones in the bunch and I really (naively) thought we’d go, find out that we were going to have to move, and then we’d hear about the project, and leave.

No, this meeting wasn’t called by UDOT, it was demanded by the residents of our neighborhood. I’d wager over half the neighborhood showed up! They had to add chairs!

Everyone was really raring to get a piece of this guy, but in the end it turns out nobody looses their property, the intersection actually moves fast moving traffic further away from my house, shortens the commute for some assholes elsewhere, and my neighborhood, even those not close to the freeway or busy street, just don’t want to see people leave.

So, West Valley, and people of my neighborhood, I am here for quite a few years longer.

I even heard a guy say to his friend ‘This is what happens when you give one party control of the state!’ – and I was like, ‘DUDE!’

I guess my neighborhood really rocks more than I thought it did.

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Our House, in the Middle of Our Street

Madness – Our House
Found at skreemr.org

When we came home last night we had an invite to a meeting at city hall about a change to the busy intersection near our house … on Monday. Well it will probably mean that the government will take our land (hopefully all of it, we have a large garage that would definitely go but it would drop the price of the property significantly if it were gone.)

It was a big shock to get late at night, and it’s not certain. But I guess the true measure of living a principled life is whether or not you’d make a choice in a given scenario if it you were the one affected. Ultimately, as long as the benefit is clear and lasting, I would not mind … well, I’d try hard not to. I’m not completely sold on the benefit versus cost. I like this place, it’s my home, and it’ll really upset my worldview to have it taken away. For a long time after we moved in I’d just look around at my property and be overwhelmed at how far I’ve come … how far my family had come in about 7 years.

Well I’ve been here for 4 years now and it’s sad if we have to leave but I guess there was a negative to having Bangerter Highway as your back-fence: UDOT may decide that fossil fuels are here to stay and drop a chunk of the state’s money (which the state does not have) on a big project that will take away enjoyable years so some asshole driving an SUV shaves 3-5 minutes off his commute.

So yeah, mixed bag of emotions.

On the other hand, assuming the government buys our property at fair market value, I’ll be able to buy a house in a buyer’s market (which I did not have the benefit of 4 years ago) without having to wait until my house is sold.

So, technically it is a win win, but I think, overall, I’d rather not move.

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