This is so cool. I hope DSL keeps up these speeds. Just downloaded Mozilla 0.9.2 in 1:08! That's not one hour and eight minutes, which by the way was a real possibility before DSL. From first click to using the new browser (to write this post), less than three minutes. Coooool!
Saturday, June 30, 2001
Jean walks into the dining area, sees a bunch of glow-in-the-dark plastic spiders arrayed across the table, on top of toy furniture, interspersed with rocks and pebbles...
Jean: What are all these spiders doing here?
Kelly [without missing a beat]: They're having a conference.
Friday, June 29, 2001
Not surprisingly, Kelly wasn't ready to go to bed on schedule last night. I was working on the new banner photo when she came cruising matter-of-factly into the den, selected a manga compilation (Dragonball, Vol. 1 tankouban) off my bookshelf, and settled in on the captain's bed to flip through it's pages.
Knowing that she'd had that nap earlier, I let her stay and continued working. After finishing up my computer work, I sat beside her and fired up the Gameboy Advance, with Chu Chu Rocket running. Man what a crazy game. I can believe the reviews that call it addicting, but I'll have to say for a clumsy uncoordinated guy like myself, it's also gonna be frustrating!
There is a rectangular grid around which run the little mice, frequently pursued by larger 'cats'. At various locations are 'rockets' which you need to direct your mice to, in order to escape the cats. You do this by placing arrows in their paths to make them turn. Sounds simple, but the speed picks up, more cats show up, and on and on. Kelly loved it just watching. I'm going to let her try it herself once I figure out how to tune the difficulty levels.
And oh yeah, Kelly finally retired at 11pm.
Thursday, June 28, 2001
It's six days until the flight to Anime Expo 2001, the four-day Japanese animation convention, which has grown in size and scope such that I truly don't have to worry about finding things to do. It's been three years since I last went. I usually go every other year, but my trip has always coincided with and conflicted with Jean's family's biannual family reunion, so I broke ranks and adjusted my schedule to go on years the Moyers were not getting together. So I fly down with the gang on the 4th of July, and back on the 9th.
Since I knew Alan had bought a Gameboy Advance, I sprang for one myself, buying two games to play on the flight (and a gamelink cable so I can play against Alan): Chu Chu Rocket, a cute puzzle game that I think Kelly will enjoy playing too, and for chuckles, Fire Pro Wrestling, which is a Japanese version of WWF wrestling shows.
It's nice to know that Kelly has got some good habits engrained already. Jean's mom sent her a package of some of her childhood toys. One was a box containing a toy village. Jean let Kelly look at it, going into the den to write a letter (maybe even a thank you for sending the package?).
After a short interval, Kelly came into the den to show Jean a small box. It was a box of matches from a Midland restaurant, that had somehow gotten into the box containing the toy village. Kelly handed the matches to Jean, and said "somebody could set something on fire!"
I didn't witness it myself, but apparently Kelly took a spill at swim class. She was in line to take the ladder into the pool, and instead she hit a slippery patch (not running or misbehaving) and landed quite hard on her butt.
When I got home, she was taking a nap. She was trying to flee the trauma, I guess. She got up once kinda dazed and still asleep, and wandered about until we directed her to the bathroom. After a bit more rest, she got up and seemed quite chipper. After I put her to bed tonight, she seemed totally normal.
A woman I know (mother to one of Kelly's friends) appears to want every last hair in place, perfect makeup, 365-day tan, on and on. Unfortunately, it all seems rather plastic, and the tan is on the raw side. Woolgathering, I realized what she reminded me of:
Somebody left a Barbie doll on the dashboard in the sun too long.
Yes, I've already gone to confession (i.e. Jean)
Tuesday, June 26, 2001
Radio Possibility is what I was asking for in a weblog service from Userland Software when they were flogging their Weblogging software. They provide free sites at several domains, and I got my start at Terebi I. But since it was free, the service was whatever bandwidth they could spare, and it got frustratingly slow. I begged Dave Winer to charge me money so the service could be upgraded, but no go. He didn't want to be an ISP, and I can respect that.
So now Marek is taking the step that I wanted months ago. Such a shame that I migrated all my writing to this site already. If this site (based at Agora) ever goes down, perhaps I'll look into Radio Possibility again.
Saturday, June 23, 2001
Jean exercises with hand weights every day, and keeps her muscle tone very well. Last night, joking, she was striking body-builder poses for me, and saying "aren't I beautiful?"
She is, of course, but Kelly had to get into the act. "Oh, Mother, I love your beautiful legs! I love your strong stomach muscles! I love your beautiful arms! I love your beautiful flabby breasts!"
Overall the party was a success. I don't know if we are getting some kind of California effect, but we got two RSVPs this morning, for a party taking place at 11am! The result was five six-year olds (six and a half, as one corrected me) and a younger sister, running about, occasionally throwing a wobbly, but overall behaving quite fine.
I'll post a few pictures, but right now I'm feeling a twee bit lazy. Believe me, Jean did ten times as much as me, but exposure to six girls and three mothers totally drained my little introvert psyche.
Every few weeks I rotate the banner picture, replacing it with something which amuses me at the moment. I had a macro shot of a household spider in line, but it's been bumped by this week's feature shot, from the party. I'll try to post it tomorrow.
Friday, June 22, 2001
I'm the same as I was when I was 6 years old
And oh my God I feel so damn old
I don't really feel anything
On a plane, I can see the tiny lights below
And oh my God, they look so alone
Do they really feel anything?
Oh my God, I've gotta gotta gotta gotta move on
Where do you move when what you're moving from
The universe works on a math equation
that never even ever really ends in the end
Infinity spirals out creation
We're on the tip of its tongue, and it is saying
We aint sure where you stand
You aint machines and you aint land
And the plants and the animals, they are linked
And the plants and the animals eat each other
Oh my God and oh my cat
I told my Dad what I need
Well I don't want to have and want
But I don't know what I need
Well, he said he said he said he said
"Where we're going I'm dead."
This is my honest to god most favoritest song of the last six months. I've got the album, and while other songs are cool, this one (the first) is the most drill-into-your-head cool on it. I'm ordering/getting The Lonesome, Crowded West this weekend. It contains Cowboy Dan, a tune I got off of Napster. Take that, RIAA rats!
Thursday, June 21, 2001
I neglected to mention that Mike and I were actual honest-to-God friends, and Jean and I often visited him and his wife Laura to engage in geeky entertainment like watching Gigantor and playing Call of Cthulu. How things have changed. Now I watch anime and play Final Fantasy VII (when I'm not doing Dad duty). Gotta wonder what Mike and Laura do when they're bored?
My current task is tracking down an efficiency/space problem in a tool at work. It quickly outpaces physical RAM, leading to lots of swapping, hence long runtimes! So I'm posting these short notes. Aren't you lucky?
It's official. The Voice From The Past belongs to Mike Walters. I worked with him at a Waldenbooks in Akron, Ohio, while taking classes at the University of Akron in Computer Science, a gig that eventually led me here to the Left Coast. Wonder of wonders, Mike is now also a Left Coaster, having fled the flatlands of Barberton, Ohio for sunny Southern California.
As if that isn't enough twisty news, it seems he's in the special effects industry working for the Hollywood wizards. I await his full story in the near future. Now all I gotta do is train him to get most of the Wakefield family news from this weblog, so I don't have to strain myself trying to write letters again .
Kelly turned six yesterday. What a long strange trip it's been. She opened all her presents in the morning. I gave her my personal gift, the Britney Spears album she likes, though she seemed underwhelmed after all the Polly Pockets and Lincoln Logs and such.
When I got home last night, she broke out the cake. Jesus, she can eat a lot when sugar's involved. Now all that is left is the birthday party on Saturday. It may end up being a small affair, as one of her friends may not make it after all. Guess I'll have to be the entertainment .
Tuesday, June 19, 2001
At least, that's what Kelly told me last night, regarding the imminent arrival of her sixth birthday. She turns six on Wednesday, but the big celebration is on Saturday, when we have a gaggle of her friends over for a party. I'll try to take some pics then.
Before retiring last night, I checked email, and there was a mysterious message. "Hi, guess who I am!" was the gist. After dropping a hint that they'd joined my old weblog, I was able to backtrack and find the likely suspect. I'm not gonna say who, in case I blew it entirely in my guess; and I don't need any more embarassment than I get already!
But I place that voice in Ohio (these ten years past), and look forward to hearing more. If you are who I think you are, Jean guessed right away with no prompting, and says "Hi yerself!"
When a computer can handle more than one program at a time (traditionally by switching the CPU between tasks too rapidly for a human to notice), it is called multitasking. I'm guilty of multigoofing. Last night I took the laptop downstairs, and while playing Roger Corman's Frankenstein Unbound on the Replay (a movie I surprisingly managed to miss when it was in theaters), I was also downloading digital anime and stupid Flash movies, watching both at the same time.
Of course the danger of that sort of behavior is that you'll go blind . Actually, I got a short night's sleep, not getting to bed before 12:30am. My own fault...
I read a review of Tomb Raider which fairly savaged it. At NOVA this weekend, I shared my findings with James. To give you an idea of his game-headed geekiness, my other friend Alan showed him the new Gameboy Advance, and he promptly disappeared into a Mario Advance-induced coma. We drove to a restaurant, he played with the GBA. We ate, he played with the GBA, pausing only to order, then scarf some food. He eventually stopped playing, but I think it was only because the batteries were running low .
Back to Tomb Raider. James of course saw it on opening day. Here is his review:
Friday, June 15, 2001
This shows how not plugged in to local events I am. I drove to work this morning and up in the sky were dozens of balloons. Hot-air balloons, that is. I recall this happening in the past around this time of year, so I looked it up on the Web, and found this page. It is stale, but seems accurate as to content.
Maybe next year I'll actually plan to attend with Kelly. According to the article, the Tigard Festival of Balloons is host to balloonists from all over the United States. Kelly would probably most appreciate Pet-a-Pawlooza .
Wednesday, June 13, 2001
It must seem like I'm always buying something, but it's just a spate, really. Last night I went to Costco and bought a new printer, since the old one was failing. I just gave it a test run to make sure everything installed correctly, and used the photo of Kelly with her tooth missing as a color sample.
Boy have printers improved since the Epson Color 600 came out! The picture, on plain paper, is much smoother and photographic than any I got with constant tweaking on the Epson. And that is using mostly the default settings. I'm sure it can be made better, even before introducing coated papers, but I just can't make myself plumb the depths of another hardware manual just yet. The Designing Airport Networks document, together with the Setting Up Your Hardware Firewall document, not to mention the Playing Final Fantasy VII booklet , have got me worn out! Maybe in a couple of weeks I'll begin fiddling with producing super digital photos to hang in my office.
Tonight's revelation. Kelly and I were seeing how lightly we could bite each other. After a little nibble, the following conversation took place:
Kelly: That was a light bite. I almost tasted blood!
Me: See these teeth? They have holes in the end, so when I bite you I can suck blood through them like a straw.
Me: Sure. I'm a vampire.
Kelly: Nuh-UH. You have blue eyes, and vampires don't have blue eyes.
Me [thinking a moment, then]: Well, my ancestry is from Finland. Are you saying there are no vampires in Finland?
Kelly: That's right. No vampires are in Finland. They don't like it there.
Me: But wait a minute. Vampires hate sunlight. That's why they only come out at night. It's cloudy all the time in Finland, so vampires must love it there!
Kelly: Vampires don't like the dark. They come out in the dark to sneak up on people. So it has to be a little dark. But if it gets too dark, they trip. So vampires hate Finland, 'cause it's too dark.
Monday, June 11, 2001
I watched the last available BMW movie last night. It was directed by Guy Ritchie, who created the movies Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch. He is a member of the club producing that proud genre, the Comic Crime story, along with Donald E. Westlake, Carl Hiaasen and Jimmy Breslin (who sorta made the label obvious with his comic crime novel The Gang Who Couldn't Shoot Straight, but curiously only seems to have written the one comic crime novel).
Anyway, his movies are lower-class English, and very modern updates of the genre, and this short movie (6 1/2 minutes) is almost a side-story to his current work. Following the pattern of some of the other directors, he's got a name actor in a central role, Madonna! It turns out from the Director's Commentary that he is married to her, so that might have helped casting...
Though short, this is so clearly a Guy Ritchie movie, just as the Wong Kar-Wai movie held his inimitable stamp. The camera work, the sometimes subtle, sometimes over-the-top humor, all worked well. Another worth watching.
Sunday, June 10, 2001
If you don't have a high bandwidth connection, find somebody who does. I've been working my way through BMW Films online movies (really six minute commercials for sporty Beemers), and I just got through watching Wong Kar-Wai's "The Follow". I've only seen one of his movies, Chungking Express, but I was very impressed with it. It still hangs in my memory.
Seeing this short movie, I find myself recalling that one, and making a note to myself to see more of his work. Several of them are supposed to be quite good, such as Days of Being Wild, Ashes of Time and In the Mood for Love. Since the latter has Maggie Cheung in it, and I've seen her as a young actor in Jackie Chan's films, and reviews say she has grown tremendously as an actor, I'll probably start there.
Friday morning we drove to the airport and dropped Jean off for her flight. She was to fly to Michigan for her father's 70th birthday celebration. I then drove back to Tualatin, and dropped Kelly off at Bridgeport, so that she could go on a 'field day', which is apparently not the same as a field trip. We got there just in time: I knocked on her classroom door as it was opening, and saw a long line of kids snaking around her classroom, preparing for departure.
At that point, I looked at the clock and saw that factoring in driving time, I'd have about one hour at work before I had to go shuttle Kelly to Kid Connection. So I called in and told them I was taking the morning off. Then I called Verizon about the unstable service and they said they'd be sending a technician out sometime between "now and 7pm." Guh! Right about then, Jean walked in the door!
It turns out that we'd actually gotten there just a tad too late, and they'd given her seat away. Alternate flights were not going to get her there in time for the celebration, so she came home. I stayed home for the morning, cleaning the den in preparation for our technician visit. Then I went to work and Jean took over the vigil. The rest of the story on DSL is in my previous message.
On the whole, Jean feels bad about missing her Dad's 70th, but he seemed okay with it. Kelly and I are thrilled we didn't have to go without Jean for the weekend.
DSL service was rocky initially. The Verizon folks sent out a technician, and Jean tells me he was here for an hour or two. Seems our house alarm was fighting with the DSL stuff, but now they are playing nice. And my den computer has a nice new double-phone jack.
End result: 130 to 158KB/sec. download speeds. I've been using it to visit BMW Films and some digital fansubbed anime. I downloaded Boys Be (six episodes), Comic Party (one episode), GeneShaft (one episode), and Hunter X Hunter (six episodes). My laptop hard disk is getting filled up fast. Of course, once I've watched them, I'll delete them, reclaiming my space.
So once again I've found a way to totally waste all my 'copious' spare time...
Thursday, June 7, 2001
I stopped by Fry's today to get a DSL router and decided to look (rather hopelessly) for Modest Mouse albums in their CD racks. Surprise of surprises, I found four! But they didn't have Lonesome Crowded West, so I settled for Building Nothing Out Of Something. First listen sounds pretty good, but I think I'm still gonna track down Lonesome Crowded West.
Last night I came home to find the 'data' light on my spanky new DSL modem a steady green. Sure enough, I am able to connect to the Internet now using DHCP via ethernet. Top speed seems to be about 50KB/sec, which works out to 3MB a minute. Since I'm signed up for Enhanced Bronze+, which has a top speed of 1.5Mb/sec, or 150KB/sec, I'm only getting about a third of the top bandwidth. I'll be following up on that over time. If they can't get me more, no sense in paying for more, right?
So I was monkeying around with it last night, fired up Napster and did some random grazing. I downloaded a couple of Trent Reznor songs, Reaction and Aftermath (Quake Theme). These are a lot different from Closer, one of his Nine Inch Nails albums, and you can understand why my friend Tom is annoyed with the MTV production values, if he prefers the two songs I downloaded. [by the way, Tom, I like 'em too].
Guess I'll have to ask Tom which NIN albums he likes...
One of the fun features of Napster is the ability to look at what else a user has online, once you start downloading something from them. This is how I found Modest Mouse, a band from Olympia, WA. I am definitely going to buy an album from them, probably The Lonesome Crowded West. Take that, RIAA!
Tuesday, June 5, 2001
Sunday just flew. Jean's had an annoying flaw in her new Honda Civic, in that the radio, equipped with security features, often loses power, and she has to punch in the security code to get it to work again. Not to mention resetting the clock every time. The Honda dealers admitted it was a known problem, and that they were expecting a fix soon. This weekend was it.
We drove up to Beaverton Honda and dropped Jean's car off. Then (using my car) we went shopping. Jean wanted to find some chocolate turtles to give to Kelly's Kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Wentzell. Apparently, Mrs. W. likes turtles, and Kelly had already painted a ceramic turtle at a craft store which fires the dishes, cups, pots and chachkas that you paint, fixing the glaze for a small fee. Turtles were not to be found, so we moved on to the Beaverton Mall, where we visited Tower Records. Kelly wanted Del Shannon's Runaway, and ended up getting two Fifties compilation discs. Jean bought some Bix Biederbeck, and I bought Do The Collapse by Guided By Voices. The linked review calls this GBV's most mainstream album, which seems to be my fate. When I finally checked out Radiohead, it was with Kid A, their most mainstream album to date. It makes sense when you consider that I'm not really that plugged in to the musical trends anymore, so I'll only really hear about a band after they 'make it'.
Once I made my CD purchase, I moved quickly to Game Trader, a used videogame store. I just decided to stock up, and I've got enough games to fill the RPG corner of my console-playing hobby for a year. What'd I get? These:
Okay, in some the RPG element is pretty weak, for instance Resident Evil is little more than a Zombie Shooter(tm) game. But they should provide a few hours of amusement.
After the shopping spree, we went home for a little while, then finally got to Juan Colorado for lunch. This is a local Mexican restaurant in Tualatin, and it's very nice. They have an open-air balcony where the majority of their tables are, and we sat there, looking out over Tualatin toward the skate park. The food was good, though Kelly was disappointed that they didn't have black olives.
Those are the highlights. We went back into Beaverton and got Jean's car, then it was home to do those chores. That's all folks!
Saturday was my NOVA meeting, and the usual suspects were there. But for a change of pace, instead of going off to get something to eat during the meeting, we gave in to our geek natures, and five of us, Alan, Tom, James, Chris and me, piled into a car and drove from Tigard down to Wilsonville, to visit Fry's Electronics Superstore [ECHO, Echo, echo!].
Tom wanted to look at stereo hardware. He resisted the temptation to buy gleaming metal, but ended up buying a bunch of anime DVDs. Alan bought an upgrade for his Adobe Premiere software. I don't think Chris or James ended up buying anything. I bought a copy of Final Fantasy VII, since it's been sitting on the Playstation game racks at $13.95 for the last two times I've visited, and I couldn't stand it anymore .
I haven't done more than stumble through the first few minutes of the game without reading any manuals or having played any of the previous games (Kelly was very helpful there, cheering my fumbling attempts to squash bad guys with magic while getting overwhelmed with strange menus and such). But I've come to realize that the game must tell you how much time it takes to complete it. Why? Because everybody I've ever met who played it tells me to the hour how long it took them. "I played FF7 over the weekend and it took me 40 hours to finish." Not, "it took a whole weekend", not "it took a long time", but "it took me 40 hours."
This was reinforced after the meeting when I went with the crowd to Carrow's to have a late night snack. After eating, I was paying my bill and telling Alan that it was probably too late to break open the game and play with it. The waitress at the register said "you're playing Final Fantasy VII?"
I was kind of embarrassed, since the game's been out for some time (VIII and IX are out, X is coming soon and XI is in planning). "Yeah, I just bought a PS2 and I'm getting back into games after a few years..."
"I played FF7, and it took me 56 hours!"
"Really? At the rate I'll be playing, I'll take six months to finish."
"That's how long it took me!"
Suddenly I didn't feel so embarrassed .
Yesterday was actually busier than I expected, so here's Saturday's news...
Kelly and I were at home while Jean was running errands. Kelly surprised me by turning off the television herself! But I was eating lunch, so I kept reading my book as she played quietly by herself. After a little while, she left the room, nothing extraordinary in that.
Time passed, and Kelly came back into the living room. I saw her approaching in the periphery of my vision. "Daddy?" I turned around. In a rather loose circle around her lips was a ring of lipstick. There were signs that she'd actually tried to apply it carefully, but no such luck. "Am I beautiful?"
Speaking directly to the question, I replied "of course you are. Your lipstick is a little smeared, let me help touch it up..."
Monday, June 4, 2001
I was pondering the outage of Agora over the weekend just now, and realized that I didn't even notice it until late Sunday, I was that busy off the 'net. I can't really enumerate everything that took place, but there were the usual chores, and additional errands I'll talk about in a later post.
I just wanted to note that I don't always come home from sitting in front of a computer all day and immediately log onto my home account .
Agora, the host for this site, was down part of the weekend, due to being hacked by the infamous disgruntled Chinese hackers. I would have sworn we were too low profile to attract their attention, but I guess when you've got a billion people, no web site is too small .
Anyway, Alan expired everybody's password for security, forcing me to change my password for the first time in three years. Gah! And now I know why I don't do it more often. Resetting the password in Eudora (email) on two machines, in the Airport hub (wireless networking and dial-up), in the Free-PPP software, and on and on. It sucketh greatly.
So now Terebi II is back on the air, and I'll try to post a few catch-up articles during the longer compiles today. Take care all!