Archive for January, 2005

Welcome to the World of Warcraft

Monday, January 31st, 2005

As Megs has already mentioned, we have joined the ranks of the Alliance in Blizzard’s World of Warcraft. This is quite possibly the world’s more popular MMORPG at the moment, and I must say it’s really fun, engrossing and quite pretty. I’m a level 9 Human Paladin named Sesal on the Hyjal server, in case anyone’s looking for me. I’m still staying fairly near Stormwind Keep at this stage.

Tracking down copies of this game, however, was only one of the fun things I did last weekend. As I mentioned earlier, last weekend was Matt’s birthday, and he was down here in the LA area to celebrate. Friday evening Megs and I had Matt, Jacques, and Kim stay over at our apartment. We played several rounds of Starcraft together as well as some other entertaining games such as DDR and WoW, which Jacques already had on his laptop. Good times.

Saturday morning, dad drove up from Long Beach and took us to Six Flags: Magic Mountain, which was sparsly populated due to the chill weather and threat of rain earlier in the week. Despite the cold breezes, it was nicely sunny and we all had fun going on various rides throughout the day. In the evening we went back down to Long Beach for sandwiches and birthday cake/presents for Matthew.

Matt came back with Megs and me to stay the night at our apartment again, but only after we managed to drop Jacques off back at Harvey Mudd College. Finding our way there from Long Beach was a little bit of an adventure, but after going the correct way on the correct freeway, we were all set. Matt and Jacques spent nearly the entire trip talking about an optimal theoretical electric car. Fascinating stuff, I’m sure.

Lastly, it’s been brought to my attention that my birthday is coming up in less than two weeks, so I should get some kind of list together in case people want to get me presents. Not sure what I’m doing for the day, but since it’s on a Saturday this year, I’ve got more options than usual.

Tax Time Again

Thursday, January 27th, 2005

Once again I received my W-2 forms in the mail, which signifies it must be time for taxes. I did them right away this year because I’m expecting a decent refund. I’ve already e-Filed my federal taxes through H&R Block’s online self-help web site (free) and mailed off my paper forms for Oregon and California (also free). Apparently you can’t use H&R Block’s online self-help system for situations dealing with multiple states, so I’ll check again next year. Anyways, the old fashioned way didn’t kill me and I’m getting refunds back from the feds and both states, which should help put a sizeable dent in my Master Card debt. Yay!

I was going to write about something else, too, but I forgot what it was… Oh yeah, I remember. I got a haircut. Not all I think to write about is of epic proportions, folks.

Her Name is Isis

Wednesday, January 26th, 2005

First off, I’d like to let everyone know that we named the cat. Her name is “Isis” after the Egyptian Goddess of Magic, and because it sounded cute. I believe Isis was also the name of Catwoman’s cat. I hope to post more pictures of her up here soon, but it’s taking a while because it’s dark out when I get home in the evening. I want to get her in natural light, because camera flashes make her eyes appear red and our apartment lighting isn’t sufficient.

As I mentioned before, this weekend is Matthew’s birthday. He’ll be down visiting family in southern California, which includes a stop at my place. I believe Matt, Kim, and Jacques will all be staying over Friday night. Saturday morning we’re going up to Magic Mountain, followed by supper and birthday stuff in the evening at Grandma and Grandpa Brunner’s. If I remember, I’ll take pictures.

Lastly, I just came across this cool link over at Slashdot. It seems Oregon’s actually doing something cool about the open source concept. Go Oregon!

We’ve Got Cat!

Sunday, January 23rd, 2005

Today, Megs and I got a cat. We have yet to name her, but she’s really cute. She’s about 4 months old and a Siameese mix. We got her from a cat rescue program at PetCo. There will be more pictures as our relationship progresses. Right now she’s totally cosy and friendly as long as you’re holding her, but as soon as you put her down she quickly moves for cover. We also need to train her on where the litter box is. Still, she’s totally adorable, and we’re glad to have her in our home.

In other news, this coming weekend is Matthew’s birthday, so he and dad are coming down to So Cal to celebrate with Kim, Megs, the Grandparents, and myself. I’ve heard Uncle John may also attend. Should be fun. Before anyone asks, no, I do not know what to get him. I never do, yet people always ask. One of life’s great mysteries, I guess.

Lastly, I’d just like to mention for the record that getting an Audiovox SMT 5600 SmartPhone to talk to Microsoft ActiveSync via an MSI USB BlueTooth adapter is a royal pain in the ass. I eventually just gave up and hooked the phone up via the USB cable, which worked fine. It shouldn’t have to be like this.

5KWN938

Thursday, January 20th, 2005

e to be getting up–my apologies to Megan who does this every day. The reason for this was to get to the DMV early enough that I could get new plates for my car and still be on time to work. After much filling out of forms and writing a $122 check, my car is now legal to be here in California. I even made it to work by 9:30.

When I came home for lunch I found that I had just missed the DHL guy. Turns out if you ship two 40lb. boxes from San Jose to North Hollywood, then get there the next day. Our new metal RedOctane dance pads are in the area! And we were just hoping to get them before next week! I still gotta go out to their warehouse in northeast Burbank, but that’s not too much trouble.

Lastly, not only did I get plates for my car and dance pads for my feet, but my latest batch of NetFlix arrived via mail today! That’s the rest of season one of Babylon 5 for us to watch over the next few days. =)

Today was payday, but as you can see I’ve been spending money lately. It’s all gone now. So sad, however that means tomorrow is Friday, which is always a good thing.

Oh, and everyone wish Kim good luck in her employment endevors. I shant say much more than that, for not much is certain at this point.”

That Damn Car

Wednesday, January 19th, 2005

I figured it’s been too long since I last bitched and moaned about my car, so I’m due. This time it’s under $500, but only just. I got an oil change for $61 the other night, which costs more than your average change because they also flushed out the system and replaced the oil with synthetic. As for the rest, my car now exceeds California emissions standards. When I last got my car smog checked I was above average on two of the numbers and above the limit on one. Now I’m below average on one and barely above 0 on the other two. Quite an improvement, I’d say! They replaced my O2 sensor and my catalytic converter, both of which were shot. That was $395. Oh well. At least they didn’t charge me for the smog check and certification, just the repairs. I don’t think I was charged for the oil flush either, just the change.

Anyawys, what this means is now I can finally get some California plates on my car. I’ve got the piece of paper showing I passed the smog check, so now it’s just a lot of waiting at the DMV. I’ve been told the one in Van Nuys is faster than the one in Glendale, so I might try that one out. We’ll see. I might just go tomorrow and take my chances before work.

Napa’s Got Internet

Monday, January 17th, 2005

I am currently waiting for my car to get an oil change at the NAPA place, and I’m surprised to find that they have an Internet station here in the waiting area. California is oh-so posh!

I’m told that there’s been freezing rain up in Oregon. I hate to say it, but it’s been over 80 degrees and sunny here most of the day. Not a bad way to spend a Monday off in January. My condolences to those of you who did not have the day off, you have my sincerest best wishes in your endevors.

Kim’s been over at the apartment since last night. She taught Megs and I how to make a dish she and Kelly came up with called Czech Fried Rice with chicken and string beans. It was quite tasty, so our thanks to her for that. We ate dinner while watching The Food Network, which was fun. They have this new-ish show called Iron Chef America, so we checked that out. Oh the excitement.

I hope my car checks out all right. I’m always nervous having my car into any kind of mechanic, cuz they always seem to find something wrong that needs fixing. Lately it’s been over $600 per trip to fix stuff. Here’s hoping that this trip just costs the $55 for the full service synthetic oil change with no surprises.

Ah, The Weekend

Friday, January 14th, 2005

I do love Fridays. Something about being the beginning of the weekend, the most time until the work routine resumes. Not that I dislike work, but a weekend’s a weekend, ya know? Sundays are always dampened by the fact that Monday’s coming soon, however this weekend is different because Monday is a Company holiday for MLK Day. Megan does not have the day off, but I’ve got plans of my own…

The weather today was just wonderful. Sunny, warm, smells nice… I love it! It’s 18:00 and dark out right now, but it’s still 62 degrees. Feel free to visit any time! =)

I’ve been drinking a Diet Coke for the past hour or so, and I must say I really don’t care for the stuff. I’ve been trying to be healthier this year, with eating right and exercise, but I think I draw the line at Diet Coke. Mostly I just grabbed it because we only have Diet Coke in the fridge back here in our part of the office. The main fridge with the real Coke is just far enough away that I thought I’d give this a try. Consider this my last attempt for a while.

Continuing this theme of random paragraphs, last night after some (non-toxic) Chinese food out, Megs and I went by Fry’s to see if they had any metal dance pads in. As expected, they did not have any–they’ve been backordered for some time now–however, they did have the new MP3 player I’ve been trying to get my hands on for a while. It’s the Creative Labs Zen Touch and they’ve been out of stock of those for a while now, too. This product was purchased with the money I received from Grandma and Grandpa Brunner, Grandma and Grandpa Gallagher, Uncle John, and Vivian, so thanks to all of you for the wonderful gift! It’s much smaller and definately much less broken than my previous one, so therefore it rocks.

In a related paragraph, coincientally enough Megs’ mp3 player broke last night at the same time I was loading mine up with my tunes. Or at least, it froze up and would not recover again on its own, even after pressing the little reset-button-in-a-tiny-hole with a paperclip. Unlike my previous one, these newer players have the battery hard-wired in and it cannot be removed without the careful use of a soldering iron. I doubt cutting the power would have helped anyways. This story does have a happy ending, however! After doing some careful research, I was able to get the thing into a recovery mode where I could reload the OS via a flash ROM update. Worked like a charm and it’s recharging now.

Just talked to Kim on a phone a minute ago, and I think we might hang out at some point this weekend. Not sure what yet, but that’s about all I have for plans so far. That is, except for my Sooper Sekrit Plan on Monday…

Bright Sunshiney Day

Thursday, January 13th, 2005

The weather here in Southern California has finally resumed it’s usual state of sunshine and clear skies. It’s still relatively cool outside, if you can call 58 degrees at 10 a.m. in January cool. Folks here wear coats and sweaters in this kinda weather. I’m diggin’ it, however.

Lately at work I’m coordinating getting some new equipment for the office, namely two high end colour laser printers and something called a “document camera”. The camera is used much like an overhead projector, ‘cept it’s installed in the ceiling and it sends an image to the big-screen TV instead of shining a light through a transparency onto a screen. Much more advanced and we’re gonna use it for showing art proofs to a room full of people. The printers however we’re still deciding on which we like best. I’m supposed to meet with a vendor this afternoon to chat for a few minutes.

I’ve also recently joined NetFlix, which seems like a good thing to do with how many movies Megs and I watch. In case you’re not familiar with their business model, the way it works is that you pay a monthly fee ($17.99) and set up a queue of movies you wannna watch on their web site. They then mail you the first three DVD’s from the top of the list. When you’re done watching them you mail ’em back and they send you more, always keeping three with you. A good way to watch a TV show like Babylon 5 when you don’t feel like renting a million DVDs from Hollywood Video. A cool thing about living in LA is they have a distribution warehouse here in the area so the turnaround time here is much quicker than a lot of other areas. I dropped a disc in the outgoing mailbox at my apartment yesterday morning and this morning the NetFlix site shows they got it back and they’ve already sent out my next disc. Bwaa haa haa!!

Water Worries

Monday, January 10th, 2005

As folks may know, it’s still stormy and rainy here in So Cal, but it’s supposed to let up by Wednesday. The road conditions continue to worsen with various freeways closed due to flooding and mudslides. This has yet to affect me directly, however Megs is concerned that the I-405 won’t be cleared up by the time she has to journey home tonight. Southbound was fine, however northbound was down from five lanes to two last I heard.

The rain isn’t our only watery concern, however. Currently we have no hot water in our apartment. The management is supposedly looking into it, but it made for a very, very cold shower this morning for Megs. I went ahead and skipped the shower today based on her heartfelt recommendation. My apologies to anyone I come into contact with, but this should be remedied soon.

As if today hasn’t sucked enough, I came home for lunch and found that the cable TV was out. I usually watch The West Wing at lunchtime, but not today. It looked like it had come back to life right as I was leaving to go back to work. Figures.