Archive for May, 2005

Berkeley, E3, and Star Wars

Wednesday, May 25th, 2005

So much has happened since I last posted–I went to E3, saw Star Wars: Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, and took a road trip up to Berkeley to see Matt graduate. Stay tuned for more information on the latter in his blog (ha!)

Last Wednesday was the day our group decided to take a day to go to see E3 down in the City. I took the subway for the first time getting there and it was pretty cool. A relaxing way to commute if it happens to go where you wanna go, which in this case it did. At any rate the expo was quite impressive. I’ll try to post some pics soon, but since they’re all taken from my phone the quality isn’t that hot. There are plenty of pictures of E3 around the internet, so hit up the ol’ Google if you wanna see pictures. The best adjectives I can come up with to describe E3 are as follows: Loud, impressive, expensive, expansive, and huge. Microsoft’s and Sony’s expanses were each two stories high inside the convention hall. Square-Enix had a jumbo-tron that opened up like huge sliding double doors to admit visitors every half hour to its theater. NCSoft had a stage with many drumkits and two scantily clad people doing fire dancing. The new vehicle from the upcoming Batman pic was parked in the lobby. Six-foot-tall Katamari people could stick stuff to! Cos-playing booth babes! It was good day to be a gamer.

Thursday night Kim came up and she, Megs and I went over to Burbank to see the new Star Wars film. I must say I enjoyed it quite a bit. Without a doubt the best of the new three, and I thought it tied Episode III to Episode IV fairly well. The romantic interaction between Anakin and Padme was pretty lame, and some of the dramatic political action was boring, but on the whole a good movie. Go see it if you haven’t already.

Friday morning Megs went to work and shortly thereafter Kim and I set off northward to Matt’s place in Berkeley. We arrived without incident and that evening attended Matt’s graduataion ceremony. Again, remind me to post pictures. I’ve got one decent one and a handfull of cell phone pics.

Saturday I had brunch with Matt, Kim, mom, and grandma and grandpa Gallagher, after which Kim, grandma and grandpa headed back south to Long Beach. Mom, Matt, and I went to Emeryville to catch Star Wars (they hadn’t seen it yet) and do a little shopping. I got Katamari Damacy for the PS2, and mom got me a couple of new shirts at Old Navy (thanks mom!)

Sunday began with brunch with dad and Estelle at a nice buffet at the marina. After brunch dad and Estelle headed back north to Eugene and Matt and I went back to his place to start cleaning and packing. After helping rent a carpet shampooer, I took off to visit Ivana up in Pinole. I hadn’t seen her in a couple years, so it was cool that I got the opportunity to catch up with her. Late that afternoon I figured Matt could use some help with his apartment, so I headed back down to Berkeley and we loaded up my car with stuff and cleaned up a bit. After shampooing the carpet, Matt, his roommate Mike, and I went to a party at a friend of their’s place. It was fun meeting Matt’s crew and we had a good time eating ice cream, chatting, and braiding Matt’s hair. I didn’t partake in the braiding but I did encorage the behavior and made sure pictures were taken and hair spray was used. Good times. We got back fairly late and there was still much cleaning to do. Luckily Matt’s friend agreed to take his matress and put it in storage for him, so that was out of the way. I was tired and I had to drive 400 miles the next day, so I went to sleep on the couch while Matt and Mike cleaned up the apartment.

Monday morning, I got up and woke the other two. We finished packing, loading, and cleaning and hit the road about 10:00-10:30. Managed to get to Jacques’ place at Harvey Mudd Collge around 16:30, where we unloaded Matt’s stuff from my poor little car. Despite leaving HMC at 17:20 and driving up the I-210/HWY-134 at that time of day to North Hollywood I encountered very little traffic; I made it home around 18:00, which is good time by LA standards at that time of day. It was good to finally see Megs again when she got home. Turns out she’d been busy all weekend putting up posters in nice frames around the apartment. The place looks much more homey and cosey now. =)

Yesterday I returned to work for about three hours when my boss told me to go home. I’d been fighting an oncoming cold all weekend, so it finally caught up with me yesterday. It didn’t help that I’d been talking over road noise for 6 hours on Monday in the car, so my voice was even further shot to hell. Add a cough and nose thing to that, and bleh. So yeah, yesterday was a relaxing afternoon of Conan O’Brien and Whose Line is it Anyway on the TiVo.

Well, that’s quite long enough I think. This weekend is going to be a massive three-day-weekend LAN party at Mudd, so expect more on that in a future post. With that, I’m done. Thanks for reading this far!

Last Night’s Event

Tuesday, May 17th, 2005

The concert last night was totally incredible. There was a symphony orchestra, 7 big screens showing clips from the series and camerawork of the musicians, a choir, Japanese idol singers, opera soloists, and The Black Mages rock band! What a night! I snapped a quick picture with my cell phone of everyone doing the final number as a combined group of the orchestra, the choir, and The Black Mages. A truly awesome event. Megs did a more detailed write up, so go check her blog for more info.

Productive Weekend

Monday, May 16th, 2005

I try to make all my headlines unique, but sometimes I forget which ones I’ve already used. For instance, I’ve used “In the rain”, “Tired Chris”, “Still here”, and “Where did he go?” all twice, and “Home again” a whopping four times! All this out of 556 total headlines including today’s. I apologize for any confusion this may have caused.

So yeah, last weekend was fairly productive. Friday evening Megs and I took a trip out to IKEA and bought a new entertainment stand for the TV in the living room. We then went to Fry’s and a picked up a new corner desk for Megan in the back office. The desk opens up the back room even further, and the TV stand holds all of our stuff nicely; it looks good, too. I would have got more interesting things at Fry’s, but they were out of the CPU I wanted, which made all the other stuff I wanted to get moot.

Saturday, Megs and I went to CompUSA where I found an AMD Athlon 64 3000+ CPU, the chip I was looking for at Fry’s the night before. We then went back to Fry’s where I got a Gigabyte GA-K8NXP-9 motherboard, 1 GB of 400Mhz PC3200 DDR Kingston RAM, and an ATi Radeon X800 XL. After getting all this home, I realized that my current power supply was too old to power this combination, so I had to go back to Fry’s to get a new case and power supply. While I was at it, I picked up a Maxtor 200GB SATA hard drive, because with this last piece I would end up creating a completely new computer and not have to upgrade my old one at all.

However, after getting all this home and put together it didn’t work. The thing would only turn on for half a second and then turn off again. Jacques came by later that evening, and after we both stared at it for a while we thought it was the motherboard because the power supply would turn on my old computer just fine and we had unhooked everything else. It was too late to take it back, so I punted and hooked up my old computer again. We played World of Warcraft until the early hours of the morning, so it was all good.

The next day, I took the motherboard back to Fry’s and they gave me a new one. Unbeknownst to them, it turns out the motherboard wasn’t the problem, cuz the problem was still there after the replacement. Ooops! On a whim, I borrowed Megan’s power supply and tried to start up the computer with that; lo and behold it worked! One last trip to Fry’s later with a new power supply I was up and running! Yay! It took a while to get the drive formatted, the OS installed, and everything, but in the end I finally got it working, and it’s awesome! The case is black with blue lights, a window, LED’s, and a temperature display on the front hooked up to a sensor I stuck on the CPU. I’ll put up a picture when I remember.

Final Specs:
AMD Athlon 64 3000+ CPU
1 GB 400 MHz PC3200 DDR Kinstong RAM
200 GB Maxtor SATA HDD
ATi PCI-e Radeon X800 XL 256 MB
Kick-ass case and motherboard to hold it all together!

OK, enough about my computer for now. Tonight is a big night because tonight is the night of the Final Fantasy: More Friends concert at the Universal Ampetheater down the street. I’ve been looking forward to this since I got the tickets a month ago. Read the article I linked there for more information on why I’m so excited. I’ll report on it more later.

Fun Stuff

Wednesday, May 11th, 2005

Last weekend as previously mentioned, Megs and I went with Chris “Ozzy” out to a club in West Hollywood called the Viper Room. It was pretty cool. We went in the downstairs door where they asked us our names and which band we were with and then crossed us off a list before letting us in. We felt special. Anyways, downstairs there’s a very cozy club room with a bar, some couches and a DJ spinning techno. We each had a drink (myself a Bombay Saphire Martini) and hung out for a while before heading upstairs to the large room with a stage to hear the band, Allrise. They played an excellent set, and after the show Megs and I went with Ozzy’s friends to IHOP before heading home for the night.

The rest of the weekend was fairly standard fare with Megs and I hanging around playing Warcraft and running errands. Woo hoo.

So today Jacques sent me this link to an entertaining little movie you all need to see, since I know you’re all nerds and appreciate math humor and a’capella as much as I do. Also, check this craziness out, someone figured out a novel way to keep his computer cool without the need for noisy fans or complicated water-cooling systems: submerge the entire system sans drives in an aquarium of oil. The original site got Slashdotted, so I’m posting the mirrordot link instead. Here’s the original link.

Goin’ Clubbin’

Friday, May 6th, 2005

Tonight Chris aka “Ozzy” has invited Megs and me down to Sunset Blvd. to go check out a band a friend of his in in. It’s at this club called The Viper Room, which until recently was owned by Johnny Depp. Supposedly a trendy place to be, we had to get added to “the list” so we could go. It’s a good thing these list-keepers don’t know how un-trendy I am. Anyways, the show starts at 10, so we’re getting dinner first and carpooling over there. Parking on the strip is always a major pain in the ass, especially on weekends. Not sure what to expect with this venue, so I’ll be sure to write about it after I get back.

In more domestic news, last night I cooked pork chops for the first time and I must say they came our really well. I used a simple recipe that went like this: Coat a pan in 2 T. melted butter. Mix up an egg with 2 T. milk and 1/4 t. black pepper. Coat chops in this stuff, then coat chops in breading; I used some stuff from a can I got at Ralphs. Bake for 10 minutes in coated pan at 425 degrees, then flip over and bake another 10-15 minutes. Done and done. I cooked up some mashed potates and veggies to go with it and it was very nice. Also had a glass of the nice Pinot Noir I got on sale the other day. I’ve developed a taste for wine with dinner on occassion, but at least it’s cheap wine. Anyone know what the real name for “Two Buck Chuck” wine is? I hear it’s cheap and not bad. It might be called “Three buck Chuck” up in Oregon due to excessive vice taxing. I get all my wine at Ralphs–I’m just that special kind of classy.

Cool Thing

Thursday, May 5th, 2005

This is quite possibly the coolest thing I’ve seen all week. Someone actually took the time to convert a Nintendo Entertainment System into a rack-mountable unit. This is nerdy on a couple of levels, so of course I approve.

In other news, caught Lost last night, which was nice becasue it’s been a few weeks since a new episode. Interesting about Sayid’s backstory. I’d wondered how he came to be in Australia. If you haven’t seen this show yet, please do; it’s awesome.

Oh, and I remembered what I was gonna post the other day that I forgot–Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy took first place at the box office last weekend, which was both unexpected and surpassed expectations of the take by about $3 million. I know most of my readers don’t frequent Daily Variety and The Hollywood Reporter as much as I do, so I thought I’d pass that along.

Northward, Ho!

Wednesday, May 4th, 2005

Once again I plan to trek northward up to Berkeley, this time for Matt’s graduation on the 20th of May. I’ll either being going up with Kim or flying solo. Megs is still in PTO debt from last Christmas vacation, so she can’t get away. She of course sends her regrets at being unable to attend and her congratulations to Matt for the achievement. I do not send my congratulations, as I will be bringing mine in person. Anyways, I’ll be leaving Friday morning on the 20th and heading back down on Monday the 23rd with Matt. Did I mention that he’s gonna be living down here over the summer? I think he and Jacques have some kind of mad science plans, so he’s gonna be over at Mudd doing Lord-knows-what until next fall. We should be able to get most of Matt’s worldly posessions into my car for the return trip, since it’s just his computer, Game Cube and clothes. He’s trying to find a place to stash his matress in case he returns. I’d rather not rope it to the top of my car, but that’s certainly possible. Knowing our luck, it’ll rain too.

So, why isn’t Matthew bringing you up to speed on this? Good question. I’d say he’s almost due for his semi-anual posting, so go bug him about that. It’s not like he doesn’t have stuff going on or anything. I’d say graduating college and moving 300+ miles counts as news that many people don’t know. But hey, that’s just me. =)

I finished mom’s Mother’s Day present early this morning and sent it off in the mail this afternoon First Class. Let’s hope it gets there by Saturday, since Sunday is the Day in question. I hope you all have done nice things for your mothers, or are at least planning on it!

Harry Potter Release Date

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2005

I’ve just read that there’s now a release date for the next Harry Potter film. It will be released November 18th on both traditional movie screens and in IMAX simultaneously. That’d be a trip to see.

In work news, I finally got out of here at 12:40 a.m., but we got some good stuff done on the avatars. We’ve got some folks reviewing them now and providing feedback. I’m sure I’ll hear about how it went later.

I was gonna write about something else, but I forgot what it was. Umm… I’m level 44 in World of Warcraft now. Moving right along there. I didn’t get to play last night because I was otherwise engaged, as it were. I think I was gonna link something, but I don’t recall what it was. If I remember, I’ll post again later.

Working Late

Monday, May 2nd, 2005

I think this is the first time I’ve worked this late since the RA gig. Please note the timestamp of this message. Yes, it’s almost 23:00 and I’m still in the office. Comes with the territory in the game industry, I know, so it’s all that bad. We’re working on getting all the avatars to look right, and it’s a painstaking process. It’s my job to get the Maya files converted into game files and then load them up so the artists can look at them, take notes, and make more fixes. Back and forth we go on this. Hopefully it’s all worth it in the end.

Last weekend Megs and I went and saw The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy with some friends of mine from work. I thought the film was an excellent adaptation of Douglas Adams’ novels/BBC miniseries/radio drama. Even though not all the jokes made it to the 1 hour 50 minute film, many did and I think the spirit of the story carried through. It was weird, random, and fun. I endorse this quality Disney film.

I think I’m going to go fix myself a cup of tea…