Jury Duty...yay...

Guess what I got to do for 8 hours today?  Yup that’s right…sat on  my ass waiting to be called up for jury duty!  Yay! Jury duty!!!  Bleh.  While I did not actually want to serve on a jury and I did not get called up to be even considered…I can’t shake the feeling that this was a complete waste of my time.  I wasn’t really keeping track of who was called up and who was not…however it seemed like no more than half of the people who showed up today were actually called up to be considered to serve on a jury…so in a room of 200 or so people…only 100 were considered.  There has to be a better way to do this…although I can’t think of one at the moment.

What I did find amusing was the guy who explained the entire process to us, called our names, answered our questions…etc.  He gave us all the information that we needed and made us all laugh in the process.  One thing that I found really useful about what he did was he would not just read the legal jargon of the rules to us but explain what they meant in layman’s terms.  I suppose this was to help his sanity more than it was to help us understand…cause I can only imagine if he didn’t do that he would get a rush of 200 people asking questions about what he just said.  But anyway…still a waste of time and I’m glad that I won’t have to serve for another 12 months.

Quote of the day!

“A jury consists of twelve persons chosen to decide who has the better lawyer.”

–Robert Frost

Final Fantasy XIII first impressions...

Final Fantasy is one of the main reasons why I wanted to get the PS3 (well that and Kingdom Hearts).  I have been looking forward to playing Final Fantasy since I played FFX back in the PS2 days.  I had been holding out for a Wii version but realized that because the Wii is under powered and only puts out 480p…it was highly probable that Square Enix would not waste their time making a version for the Wii.  When I came to this conclusion I started to save for a PS3 and with the help of my family and friends I was able to scrape up enough money to get a PS3 after Christmas.

Anyhoo…enough of the background crap…on to FFXIII!  The first thing that I noticed is that it is probably one of the most liner games I have every played.  No left, no right, no up, no down…just put on the blinders and go straight on through.  Second is that you cannot upgrade your character until you have played the game for about an hour or so.  Another thing that bugs me is that the fights seem a bit easy…I have yet to find a boss that has taken me more than two or three tries to figure out and kill.  These things annoyed me greatly but the other aspects of the game make up for it.  The one thing I really like about the game is that it plays like a movie.  You do a few things and you get to watch a cut scene about what you just did and what you will have to do in the next leg of the game.  The story is another thing I like…so far it is a compelling story line…I care for the characters and what will happen to them.  The thing I really like is that they changed the way you fight in the game.  No more turned based crap…it’s all done in real time.  Characters are no longer locked in to one specific roles but they can do 1 of 3 roles and can swap to any of those 3 roles during the fight via paradigm shifts.  For example…Lightning (the lady pictured there to the right) can be a command, ravager or a medic and each role has it’s strengths and weaknesses.  The other roles that can be played are synergist, saboteur and sentinel.  Even though they tossed turn based fighting out the window…the new system still feels familiar.  So yeah…those are my first impressions of FFXIII…will there be a second review?  Who knows?

Quote of the day! (actually a joke)

A bacteria walks in to a bar.  The bartender says “We don’t serve bacteria in here.”  The bacteria says “It’s okay…we’re staph!”

–Brian Malow The Science Comedian

mmmm....Thin Mints...::Homer drool::

So…it’s that time of year…or rather towards the end of the time of year where The Girl Scouts sell those wonderful cookies of theirs.  It is a little difficult for me to get my hands on them because of the area I live in…The Girl Scouts do not sell their cookies at any supermarket near me…=(  Last year I found them via their website which told me exactly where to find them…but this year they took out that feature.  Why? No clue in the world.  I resolved to not get any cookies this year and not add any more weight to my ever growing stomach.  However…on my way to the gym today I saw a ray of light…they were selling cookies no less than 2 miles away form the gym!!!  Unfortunately I was already 10 minutes late so I deiced to roll down my window and ask them if they will still be there in about an hour and a half and they would be!  I was happy.  Then I thought about what I just did…a car pulls up to a bunch of girls…guy rolls down the window and asks how much longer they will be there.  Yeah…I felt like some sorta sick bastard predator like thing…=/  Anyway I went back after the work out and got 4 boxes of thin mints and they are currently sitting in my freezer because well…frozen thin mints are the best.

Quote of the day!

“Are they made from real Girl Scouts?”

–Wednesday Adams

Intoducing Frick and Frack!

Meet Frick And Frack The Dwarf Hamsters!  Frick is the black one and Frack is the gray one.  Here’s a link to the pet section of my flickr site if you wish to see more pictures of them…btw they are both girls  =)

So Frack is the smaller of the two…yet she always picks on Frick (who is like 30% bigger)  I guess it’s Frack trying to show her dominance.  There is nothing to worry about though as there is no blood or missing ears/legs/eyes whatever…so it’s all harmless atm…but I’m keeping a watchful eye on the two of them just to make sure.   Another thing is that Frack still tries to bite me when I try to pick her up but Frick is all cool and welcomes my hand…go fig.  I hope Frick will get over her hand biting thing soon…

Quote of the day!!!

Oh, Harvey, Harvey
Harvey the Wonder Hamster
He doesn’t bite and he doesn’t squeal
He just runs around on his hamster wheel
Harvey, Harvey
Harvey the Wonder Hamster
Hey, Harvey!

–Weird Al Yankovic

Another weekend at the desert/scary moment

Roughly twice a year a bunch of us head out to Palm Desert and hang out at Lon’s parents place for three days or so.  What do we do for those three days? Hang out, play games, get drunk, eat the breakfast of death…basically relax and enjoy each others company.  What is this breakfast of death you ask??  Well we start off with about two pounds of bacon and fry that up.  Then we take the hash browns and fry that up in the bacon grease (with a slab of butter on top for taste).  Next we mix chorizo sausage, mexican cheese and about 30 eggs and scramble that up.  Last we whip up some chocolate chip pancakes and call it it all the breakfast of death.  After we feed on all of this none of us can move for the next few hours…some sleep…some watch TV…but most just sorta lay there half dead =)

As for games…this time two new game were introduced….Three Man and The Great Dalmuti.  Three Man is a dice based drinking game that will get you drunk so fast you’ll be on the floor staring at the ceiling before you know it.  It’s lots of fun =)  The Great Dalmuti is a card based game (that can be a drinking game but it wasn’t played that way) made back in the 90’s that won a few awards for how good the game was.  Some other games we played were Bull Shit, Poker and Apples to Apples.

Soo…about this scary moment…at around 5pm I get a phone call from Victoria saying my mom is in the hospital.  My first reaction is crap…first off I’m 2 hours away and second…I’m kinda drunk.  Apparently my mom was feeling weak and had a fever of 104…Vic asks me if I can come out and I tell her that I’m in Palm Desert (I didn’t tell her I was a bit drunk)…she tells me that I should just stay out there and wait for the test results to come in.  I agree with her and she tells me she’ll call me back as soon as the test results come in.  An hour or two later I sober up and decided to hell with it and head out anyway.  When I was about 40 minutes form the hospital I call my dad and he tells me that everything is okay and that she only had strep throat.  They are both at home and she is resting comfortably….::sigh of relief::

Quote of the day!

“Don’t worry about the world coming to an end today.  It is already tomorrow in Australia.”

–Charles Shultz

R.I.P. Frazz The Hamster…

This morning I had wondered why I haven’t seen Frazz in a couple of days…so I walk over to her cage and pick up her house…she sorta fell out of her house.  When I looked down at her the first thing I noticed was an odd smell andafter I had a good look at her though…it was obvious that she had passed on.  I like to think I gave her a good life.  She had a hamster wheel, lots food and water, lots of treats, soft bedding and a house to live in.  She was a very kind and docile hamster too…I could pick her up and pet her to my heart’s content and she’d just sit there starting at me wondering where her treat was…=)  I am a bit puzzled as to why she died so young as I got her in April of this year.  Anyway…here’s to Frazz The Hamster!! You will be missed.

Quote of the day!!!

“No…she’s not named after a comic book character…she’s was named after the tufts of fur sticking out of her butt.””

–Ryan Cheung

Devry

11 years ago I said to myself…I don’t want to be a computer tech…I realize now that I should play to my strengths rather than learn something new.  Why learn to walk at something when I can already run at something else?  So here I am…attending Devry which in all respects is a technical trade school and not a 4 year university.  I realize this and will take from Devry what I need and not expect anything that it cannot give me.  I know that there are better solutions to getting a 4 year degree than Devry however the way they do their classes works out a lot better for me.  At a regular school they are on the semester system which means there are 16 weeks and 32 classes per term.  When I find myself in a tradtional semester system I tend to slack off and skip classes because I think…well if I miss one or two classes it won’t matter.  That snowballs in to 4-5 then 10-15 and low and behold I fail the class.  At Devry each session is 8 weeks long and we only meet once per week (for most classes) so if  I miss 2 classes I’ve already missed a quarter of my classes…this fact keeps me honest and going to class.

There was one thing however that made me think really hard about going to school at Devry and that was the “written” placement test.  As all of you now all colleges require you to take a math and writing class before you can go to school there.  It is used to gauge your ability and put you in the right classes.  Devry is no different.  I finished the math part pretty easily and placed in the highest level algebra they could put me in which made me happy.  When I took the English part I was required to write a 350-600 word essay that was concise, to the point, no grammatical errors, no spelling errors and that I would be graded more on the content of the essay rather than my ability to argue my point.  I was given an hour from the time I started to read the topic to finish the essay.  An hour later I have a 352 word essay that was concise, to the point and free of grammatical and spelling errors (sorta).  I hit submit and 2 seconds later I received a score of  7 out of 12 which would place me in the lowest English class they offer.  Being placed in the lowest English class didn’t bother me too much…what did bother me was that it took only 2 seconds for my essay to be graded.  Now I don’t care who you are…you cannot effectively grade something in 2 seconds time.  I surmised that the content had nothing to do with my grade and that it was the length that really mattered.  So when I retook the “written” test I wrote a crappy essay that was not clear, concise, strayed off topic and used a lot of filler words…in the end I have 550 words and when I hit submit 2 seconds later I got a score of 11/12 which placed me in the highest rung of English they had to offer.  This fact really bothered me…until it dawned upon me that this is a technical trade school.  They’re not here to teach me english or math or history…they are here to teach me well…things more related to the technical field.  So in the end I brushed off the placement exam,  gave my self a pat on the back for realizing the stupidity of the written exam and decided to move forward with my career at Devry.  I hope I made the right choice because I’m running out of time.

Quote of the day!

“Do you think God gets stoned? I think so . . . look at the platypus.”

–Robin Williams

The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition

Monkey Island SE vs Original

One of my favorite games when I was a kid was the Monkey Island series.  I’m not gonna bother trying to explain what Monkey Island is but I will say that this game was made back in the days when games required thought and out of the box thinking to complete.  Lucas arts (the makers of Monkey Island) went back and remastered the original Monkey Island and created The Secret of Monkey Island Special Edition.  As you can see from the image above they made everything look prettier, they added voices for everybody and they enhanced the music/ambient sounds.  The really cool thing is that you can hit F10 and toggle between the old version and the new version…that’s how I got the nifty screen caps =)  As you can see just from the title screen caps above they really have made everything look better and even changed the color scheme a bit with the title.

scummsevsorg

Here you see part of the Scumm bar and the docks….notice that the moon and background have much more detail.  Also note that the inventory is no longer a part of the screen and you have to hit “i” to bring it up in the Special Edition version.  All in all I LOVE the new version and I hope that they make Monkey Island 2: LeChucks Revenge.

Quote of the day!

“Look a three headed monkey!!”

–Guybrush Threepwood

Wow…just…wow…

James May of Top Gear had the honor/opportunity of a life time to fly in a U2 spy plane at 70,000ft.  That’s twice what an airliner flies at.  The footage he took was breath taking and really reminds you just how big this planet is and how small we are.  Enjoy.

Oh yeah…the other thing I found amazing is that the U2 spy plane lands on two sets of wheels that are inline…the skill it must take to land like that is amazing as well =)

Quote of the day!

“It’s absolutely…just almost impossible to articulate what it feels like.  That is the real thing, Earth.  It’s humbling.”

–James May as he looked out on Earth from the U2 spyplane

Piratefest 2009!

Had a blast at this years Piratefest!  Got drunk, sung songs, played games (including Pirate Musical Chairs) slept on a really uncomfortable camping mat, got my ass beat down by an 8 year old in liar’s dice and other things that are kinda fuzzy atm…=)  The only bad thing was the heat made it rather difficult to stay in full Pirate Garb or even to wear any pirate garb really but I was able to wear it at night so it wasn’t all that bad…=)  I would like to thank Aaron Rhodes for organizing Piratefest every year and putting up with the crap that goes along with organizing an event like this…we all <3 you Aaron!  I would also like to thank Dave and Tommy for coming up this year and I hope to bring up more people next year! See you all Piratefest next year!!! ARRRRR!!!!!!

Quote of the day!

“ARRRRRRRRR!!!!!”

–Any Pirate Really