That's it for me. I'm off to try one more time to get to the first save point of Castlevania, Circle of the Moon before calling it bedtime. Ta Ta!
Monday, July 30, 2001
Amazon finally admitted that they were not going to get Jean's Bix Beiderbecke stuff anytime soon, and shipped me my order. Got my copy of James Fallows' Free Flight, about high-tech advances which may change the face of commercial aviation. And I also got my copy of �g�tis byrjun, by Sigur R�s. Gonna play it on infinite loop in the office tomorrow. I'll let you know.
Don't go through the official Sony site, because it makes you go through all sorts of lame Flash guano, slow even on a high-speed connection. But do hunt down and see the trailer for The One. This is Jet Li's next movie, and it looks like a ton of fun.
Okay, Romeo Must Die was a mediocre movie, and the main reason to watch a Jet Li movie, the dazzling martial arts sequences, was severely crippled by the MTV quick-cut editing. I don't think Corey Yuen is a bad martial arts choreographer, so I must blame the director, Andrzej Bartkowiak. He's had a very mixed career, and has even directed Jet Li before, in Lethal Weapon 4. But he just couldn't pull back the camera and show the fights.
Kiss of the Dragon was an improvement, but it still suffered from that MTV effect. Director Chris Nahon's first film, it seems only fair to note that I've heard he in fact was an MTV director before making the leap.
But special effects run rampant in The One, and that is a good thing, since it is clearly the American treatment of that grand old Hong Kong tradition, the flying people movie. Jet plays a cop (original...) who is being stalked by a power-mad killer from an alternate Earth. This killer is...him! And each time the killer kills 'himself', the power of that 'version' is divided up between all the other alternate Jets. Sounds corny, huh? Sounds like an ideal NOVA movie to me.
Talkin' trash with Kelly this evening I suggested that we could control the bugs around the house by having a few geckoes. Unfortunately it seems they are not tame, and can't be potty-trained. I asked if we couldn't raise a few baby geckoes, since then we could potty-train those. But no, she says if they start out wild, then their children will also be wild, and we can't change that.
So how come we can domesticate horses then? "We give them a m-molecule, that makes them nice, and they can be potty-trained then."
Why not give the geckoes a molecule then? "We don't know about that yet. So there's no molecule to give them. So we can't have geckoes!"
That's the title of a recent Farscape episode, and the first one in my queue on my Replay box. I sat down to watch it, and in the first five minutes, I said, "Hey, they're doing a Guy Ritchie homage." Or a rip-off, since there was no credit to him. He didn't direct it, that honor went to Tony Tilse.
Since Guy is pretty hot right now, what with coming off the Indie circuit last year with Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (USA release, 1999, actually), then following up with Snatch, and a very funny contribution to the BMW Films series, it's easy to understand why they'd want to tip their hats, being fellow Brits and all, but a written acknowledgement would have been nice too, even if it was bloody obvious who they were copying.
Sunday, July 29, 2001
I've added a list of candidates for anime reviews to the right column of the anime review index. Most of these are candidates for the dual reasons that they seem interesting at first glimpse, and that they are available online, subtitled. My iBook is creaking under the weight of the downloaded files .
Saturday, July 28, 2001
Okay, I promise that this is the last high-ticket item I'll be buying for awhile now (mostly because the Anime Expo Slush Fund is almost gone), but I bought a Bowflex. It's the basic model, but I wanted it because work is getting more demanding lately, and weeks can go by when I don't get to the gym on Mentor's campus. Since strength training is one of the most effective ways I know to keep my back from wigging out, I popped for the home gym. I've just started learning how to use it, but I think it will fill my needs.
But boy are those Bowflex reps on the videos sales-slime! I feel like I'm watching Mike Levy's Amazing Discoveries.
Kelly is very happy. She's been swimming at the Sherwood YMCA, and has been in the Guppy class for several weeks. She's a good swimmer, to hear Jean tell it. I haven't seen her swim since last summer, because her swim class is during my work hours.
So a couple of days ago she swam the length of the pool, totally casual about the whole thing, and would have swum it twice but for the 'open swim' session ending. Then yesterday, she took the swim test for the next level and passed! She is now a Minnow. Go get 'em, Tigershark.
Thursday, July 26, 2001
I'm listening to the Chrono Cross Original Soundtrack that I bought at Anime Expo 2001, and man is it good! It is especially good for when I'm concentrating on code, as it is more ambient music, along the lines of Fresh Aire, Philip Glass and Brian Eno's ambient music, than say, Modest Mouse, where I just have to stop what I'm doing and listen to the lyrics.
Wednesday, July 25, 2001
I18N is geek for Internationalization. Get it? I-18-characters-N. Saves a lot of typing. Internationalization is geek for ... um ... making your software readable in other countries? Sorta.
If that's not enough, I10N stands for Localization. Clever lot, us geeks.
Anyway, maybe this has to do with my recent viewing of Jurassic Park III, but when I saw this URL, I saw not i18ngurus, but Ignasaurus. Just one of the dozens of ways my aging brain tries to amuse me as I dodder along...
Tuesday, July 24, 2001
Adobe was apparently shocked that people actually cared about their freedom, and has asked for Dmitry Sklyarov to be released. They had previously filed for his arrest under the DMCA. The Justice Department may still prosecute him, the fools.
For the record, Sklyarov and his company make a product which removes the copy-protection from Adobe ebooks, but only on paid copies to enable using said ebooks on 'partially sighted' computer devices. As Andrew Orlowski says: "it's difficult to see what Adobe is losing here, except for its ability to rob the blind. Literally."
The DMCA must go.
Monday, July 23, 2001
That was faster than I thought! The AMV interviews article is up now. For those of you with browsers which recognize style sheets, I've experimented with color to separate the answers of the three authors. Let me know how this works out.
Now that the post-Anime Expo 2001 NOVA meeting is over, and everybody knows who won the Anime Music Video Contest, I'm free to post my review of the contest. It was under 'embargo' until Dan and Terry presented the retrospective video at the meeting.
I've received permission from Dan, Terry and Eric to post my interview with them here as well. That will happen as soon as I've had a chance to format it for the web.
Sunday, July 22, 2001
Kelly's bath tonight didn't go smoothly. She's in the testing zone again, and decided she couldn't hear me when I told her it was time to sit up and get her hair washed. I told her that she'd have to wash her hair and body without help, then walked out. In addition, the lights in the bathroom were going out at 8pm.
As in the book Parenting With Love and Logic, I gave her a choice, and let her 'own the consequences' of her action. The side-effect of this is that you as a parent have to be willing to live with the consequences of your actions. At about 8:08, I walked in to check on Kelly, fully expecting to find her playing with toys, since she wasn't crying for help.
But no, not at all. She'd stepped up to the challenge of cleaning herself, by using most of a bottle of conditioner in her hair. I told her I was proud of her for taking responsibility for cleaning herself since she hadn't listened to me, but it still took five minutes to rinse the conditioner out of her hair.
Gotta remember to add conditioner to the shopping list.
For my birthday, Jean got me a subscription to the Wine Advocate, since I enjoy a glass of wine with dinner now and then. I first found out about this 'newsletter' by reading a profile of Robert Parker in The Atlantic Monthly, a good magazine. But my needs are pretty simple, and I've been happy to imbibe from a $10 bottle purchased at the local grocery store, for the most part.
This weekend, I decided to perform an experiment to see how 'simple' a wine I could consume without wrinkling my nose. I entered the grocery store wine section, moved to the import aisle, and sought out Chilean wines. Why? Because I had fond memories of a particular Pinot Noir bought in Lake Grove early in our Oregon residency. So I found the Chilean wines, selected a Cabernet Sauvignon for $6, and a much larger bottle of Pinot Noir for $6 again! Really testing conventional wisdom here, folks.
So this evening I opened the large bottle, and it was only then that I noticed that the larger bottle was not from Chile, but rather from Slovenia. Oops. Tried it. Didn't spray it across the room. I've had better, but I've had worse that cost much more. So I don't know what this experiment proves, other than I don't know wine from grape juice.
P.S. - I skipped the Australian wine section. I could only hear the voice of Eric Idle, intoning in a broad Aussie accent: "Many people poo-poo the Australian table wine."
Friday, July 20, 2001
I finally got around to unloading the Expo photos from my digital camera. In the banner you'll find a photo of two costumed con-goers, as characters from Card Captor Sakura (or Card Captors, as they are called on American television). This is the best photo I got. Some others are not too bad, and maybe I'll inflict them on you later.
Thursday, July 19, 2001
Asked about Adobe's abuse of the DMCA to harass security experts, Mr. Bumble replied:
Okay, today's my day for swiping links from other weblogs, but this one is just too good: Sliced Peanut Butter. As in Kraft Singles American cheese slices, only with peanut butter!
Grabbed from Gammatron.
Cool! Via Kottke.org, I found that Wallace and Gromit will be coming to the silver screen. If you don't know Wallace and Gromit, you may have seen the previous feature-length animation from his studio, Chicken Run.
The earlier adventures of Wallace and Gromit, which we have on videotape, and I and Kelly both love, are being released to DVD in September. Highly recommended.
Wednesday, July 18, 2001
I'm sitting down here in the den writing these entries on my iBook, with some Robocop special running on the Replay box. Normally I use the 30 second skip feature to jump over all the commercials, but since I'm writing, some of them slip through. This time it was worth it.
The commercial is for some snack chip, and shows some technician on a spaceship standing in a corridor eating the chips while soldiers go running past, and a computer voice warns of an alien intruder. As soon as the hatch slams shut on the soldiers, he turns around to spot the alien, looking like a cross between Alien and Predator. With a chip halfway to his mouth, the alien snarls, exposing wicked sharp teeth. He pops the chip into the alien's mouth. This goes on to the point where he is confidently mocking the alien and making it snarl for a chip when he notices the bag is empty...
It actually made me cackle. Too bad I don't intend to buy any of the chips...
Mentor had a picnic after work, with live music. I invited Kelly down to hang with me, and Jean drove her down and dropped her off. After grabbing a bite to eat, we wandered around the campus -- the music was loud enough and bouncing off the buildings, so we could hear it anywhere. My friend Burr showed up and he and I got to talking, so Kelly ran off and engaged every kid in sight in playtime. She was chasing ducks, rolling down the hill in the grass, and generally being a terror.
I gave her several warnings that we were going to leave at about 7:15pm, since 'we' had already gotten in trouble with her Mom for not coming in from a walk before bedtime yesterday. She tried valiantly to ignore me, but eventually I called her in, got her shoes on and said "let's go." She was very unhappy.
Rather than let her drive things, Burr and I simply started walking toward the parking lot, talking and not looking back. An occasional swing of the head and peripheral vision check showed she was following, reluctantly, some fifty feet behind. However, that wasn't very satisfying, since we weren't seeing her dissatisfaction. She finally ran to catch up, until she was to one side and a few feet ahead, and then pullled a very unhappy face at us, just so we knew how she felt.
She snapped out of it quickly when I offered her a bite of the ice cream bar I'd picked up on the way out. Somehow the whole thing ended up in her hand!
"Terebi II, a nifty E/N site linked us", they say. Huh? I'm too old to be clued into the argot, so I did a search and found E/N stands for "everything and nothing". Well, fair enough. Anybody following the link from Netizen News be warned, this is more 'nothing' than 'everything' here. Take care.
Monday, July 16, 2001
As if I don't have enough trouble keeping the weight off, I stumbled onto stickyrice.com today. I'm a huge fan of sushi, so much so that I'll even buy the 'white trash' sushi you can buy at the grocery store just to get a fix. I'm not likely to try making my own sushi, but the site will serve to drive me out to the sushi restaurants around here more often, I'm sure. And maybe I'll learn a sauce or two to add to my Sauce Mayonnaise success.
Sushi factoid: 'wasabi may help prevent tooth decay.'
Budget gurus say you shouldn't do your grocery shopping when you are hungry. I've discovered another axiom: Don't take your six-year old with you to Costco. I went to buy some protein bars, and that's it. I took Kelly with me to give Jean a chance to study for her microbiology exam.
In short order, we bought fresh apple cider (free samples aren't always free), multigrain bread (my choice, to balance the apple cider), Freddi Fish and the Case of the Creature of Coral Cove, which Kelly practically begged for, and Castlevania, which I bought for parity .
Kelly played all the way through Freddi Fish in one afternoon, so I suppose it wasn't wasted money. I on the other hand, have another game with which to humble myself. I haven't even managed to get to the first save point yet. Humiliation builds character...
Saturday, July 14, 2001
I had some money left over from Anime Expo, and the living room VCR was becoming unreliable on record (or so I'm told, I do all my recording with the Replay box nowadays), so I ran up to Video Only and picked up a Panasonic PV-V4621 VCR. Features that weren't on the old one include VCR+ (Jean may use it, but I'm not impressed), commercial advance (almost as cool as the 30 second skip button on the Replay) and automatic clock setting. So far so good, we'll see how VCR+ works out as Jean gets used to the unit.
I took Kelly to see Cats and Dogs today. Not too bad, with just enough subtext to keep a juvenile adult interested. Kelly of course loved it. Afterwards I took her across the street to Baskin Robbins, where she had a scoop of orange sherbet, and a scoot of 'margarita', a sorta lime sherbet. When she finished, she told me "that was really good. It was so good I could use another."
I said I didn't want to spoil her supper, so no more ice cream. She thought a moment and said, "it doesn't even have to be two scoops..." then gauging my facial response, "or it could even be a small single scoop..."
"No Kelly, I'm sorry. After dinner you can have a little ice cream at home."
You have to have a six year-old to appreciate how treating someone to ice cream can turn into a major human rights violation. I ain't gettin' no gratitude here, ya know what I mean?
After dinner now, Kelly is getting her 'little' bit of ice cream and has begun to negotiate again. "That's all?" Yep, I say. "Just a sliver more will do," she says. By this time I'm cracking up. You're always negotiating, I say. So I give her her 'sliver' of extra ice cream. As I walk away, I hear her say to Jean, "now, my cookie."
The final moment which sent me racing for the keyboard: "just one?"
I went to the Final Fantasy movie site last night, and while there downloaded a desktop image (three actually) of Aki Ross, the main character. She now graces my laptop, at least for a few days .
Friday, July 13, 2001
I was getting way too toasty from all the catch-up work, and two of my 'critical' tasks are now waiting on input from others out of the office, so when Brent invited me, I agreed to take off for a lunch movie (having worked overtime the last three days, it balances out fine). Guess what I went to see...
That's right! Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within! I won't give a full review. Suffice to call it a magnificent failure. Despite all its flaws, I think I'd see it again. Of course, it helps that I'm smitten with Aki, the lead female character. I'd love to meet her reference model. She sort of reminds me of a younger Linda Fiorentino.
Yes, Jean knows I find women other than her attractive, so you can't rat me out! But she's still my lovey bunny... (Jean is, you stinker!)
Thursday, July 12, 2001
I've been back from Anime Expo 2001 for a few days now. I'm totally swamped at work now, so even composing a note over lunch is tough. At home, I'm working on an article covering the Anime Music Video contest at AX (in my copious spare time) and I want to do a good job on it, so I won't be writing any weblog entries at home until I complete that.
So I'm still alive, had fun at Expo, and will write more later...
Tuesday, July 3, 2001
I asked Carsten if he had some time today, no critical issues, I just wanted to touch bases. Then it occured to me that I didn't really know the etymology of that phrase. Sure, it was probably from baseball, but I'm not into sports, so...
Internet to the rescue!:
There's an even subtler connection to baseball. After an interruption in play (a foul ball, for example) everything pauses, then recycles to start again. A rule provides that a runner on base must return to that base, and touch it, before play resumes. By extension, someone out of town on business will touch base by calling home, to make contact, to tie up loose ends, to set the universe on its proper axis, and be ready to start over from a fixed position.
From the Department of the Law of Unintended Consequences, comes this unforseen negative attribute of genetically engineered organisms. While many opponents have worried about ecological disasters, it seems we weren't pessimistic enough.
Monsanto is suing farmers for having it's patented genetically modified crops on their land. In some of the suits, the farmers actually bought the organisms for one crop year, and are being sued on the basis of 'saving seed in violation of legal agreements'.
But in other cases, they are just 'auditing' the crops of farmers in a region where their seed is sold, and then suing farmers with said organism in their crops. In both cases, the mere fact that life will find a way to spread seems to be ignored in the suits. Are the farmers (both those who buy and those who are merely in proximity) supposed to salt the earth between crops to satisfy Monsanto?
What got me thinking about this was a news article this morning about the Earth Liberation Front, a monkeywrenching group which has been destroying GM research plots and committing arson on some labs. Public officials are playing a positioning game, labelling the ELF a 'terrorist' organization. If you cut down thousands of acres of old growth forest you are an entrepreneur, but...
Anyway, while the farmers have acquired legal help, it occured to me that what is really needed is a pro bono legal service along the lines of the Electronic Freedom Foundation, or the ACLU, only focused on questioning GM patents and corporate abuse of same. The two aforementioned organizations are very good at attacking violators of civil liberties, but nobody seems to want to tackle this emerging area. What we need is the equivalent of 'environmental ambulance chasers'. That is, lawyers who have the self-interested expectation of winning suits against abusive corporations like Monsanto, with the side-effect of protecting the farmers who are currently being harassed.
By the way, while all this may sound massively liberal (it is), I don't think that the worker in the field, such as the lumberjacks who work for the large lumber companies, are in any way evil. The usual semantic attack is to say that you must hate the little guy if he works for the big, bad corporation. Not so.
Monday, July 2, 2001
This weekend's outing was to the Portland Children's Museum. We met with Sari and Trinity at Sari's workplace, which is a food testing laboratory, then carpooled to the museum.
The museum used to be on the Southeast side of Portland, and the building was old, rather like a fifty-year old middle school with old asbestos pipes, warped wood floors and the like. Still, they had imagination and did a good job making it fun for kids.
The new museum is now next to the Oregon Zoo, on the site of the original Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, which has moved across the river to Southeast Portland. Thus they've swapped places, and both have new facilities!
While both have lots of new exhibits and remain fun for the kids, they also seem to have sacrificed a measure of the creativity that came with operating on a shoestring. It's only a small reduction, but I feel it. Nevertheless, I suspect we'll be taking Kelly back to the Children's Museum again this summer, probably with her friend Trinity once more.
I got lazy and didn't take my camera, which is a shame, because I missed two photos of the sort I love to get. These are the ironic images which make good banner photos for a weblog . Both were at Sari's lab (Sari is Trinity's grandmother, or as seems popular out here on the Left Coast, Nona).
The first photo you won't see is of a pop machine vending mostly Coke products. There were four 2"X2" buttons for various flavors of pop, and one 6"X6" button for Coke! Guess they had an opinion on which pop you should choose.
The second photo would have shown a rack of tea bag dispenser boxes, below which were about a dozen Pyrex flasks. It would have been cuter if the flasks had had tea-leaf residue in the bottom, but it still tickled my funny bone.
I might post once or twice before the 4th of July, but after that things will be quiet until at least the following Monday. That's because I'll be attending Anime Expo 2001 in the interrim. I'm looking forward to it since I haven't been to the last two. See ya later.