Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Strange Reading Habits

Today, whilst at the library, I happened to think about a possible Christmas present for my 8 year-old nephew/godson. For his birthday last Spring I got him the Scary Stories box set that contained 3 books of short scary stories for kids. He absolutely loves them, to the point where he carries them with him wherever he goes, so to continue on that theme I want to get him some more scary books.

This is what I got today:

While I was getting checked out the librarian looked at me and with a slight smile asked me if I was sure I wanted all these scary books. "I think I'll be OK," I told her.

I'll read these to make sure they are age-appropriate for him and then call his mom to make sure she's fine with it, then I'll buy them for him from amazon or something. I don't want to get Aidan anything that his parents might object to and take away from him the moment I leave the room.

Truthfully, I really just want to read these for myself.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

I love you, Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman's new book, The Graveyard Book, is coming out soon and to celebrate and promote it, the author is doing a book tour and at each stop he'll be reading a chapter from it. What's this really cool news mean to you? Well, if you go here you'll be able to watch the author reading each chapter without leaving your home.

You're welcome.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Running is good

The road that connects my home street and Route 18 is exactly a mile long, which means going from my house to Route 18 and back equals 2 whole miles. Big deal, right? But when you're slightly overweight and running it, running to 18 and back seems like a journey into Mordor (There and Back Again). But since losing 18 pounds since the beginning of August, I have now been able to run it without stopping. Last night I did it from start to finish, and yes my legs are aching a little but not enough to make it difficult to go about my normal activities.

I took my in-laws advice when I run by not taking as long of a stride and to slow down, that way when I finish it doesn't feel like my legs are about to break into a million little pieces. I guess I was trying before of running the distance in as little time as possible, and yes that's a fine goal, but for just starting out, all it leads to is hurting myself, making me not be able to continue running for a week or so. Hopefully, with this strategy, I'll be able to continue and progress to be able to reach my goal - I want to be able to run an entire marathon by the age of 30. I'm 29 now so I've got my work cut out for me.

Monday, September 15, 2008

So I completely suck at blogging

It's been since July since I posted so I officially suck. I'm still alive. Trust me.

What have I been up to since then? I finished my summer course with an A, but it was an internet/computer technology course, so it shouldn't be a surprise to anyone. A link to the web site I had to make for the class can be found here if anyone is interested (don't worry if you're not, it wouldn't surprise me in the least).

After just one and a half weeks taking new classes for the fall semester I've come to the conclusion that two classes at the same time is just too much for me and my schedule, what with working full time and trying to be as supportive as I can to Amanda while she's getting her PHD. With one class, I can really focus on it and do a really good job, and still have time to clean up the house, help out in the kitchen, clean up after the damn cats who seem hell-bent on making as much of a mess as they can. Amanda feels guilty that somehow, because of her, I'm not giving my all to something I want, but I've told her, we went into this knowing that she's going to be really busy with school and that I'm to help out as much as possible to keep everything else afloat.

Our plans to move out to Ohio and build ourselves a house on her parents 200 acre farm are still in effect after Amanda finishes with school. It'll be a real nice change of pace to go from working behind a desk to working on a farm getting dirty and sweaty (like a real man) but I'm looking forward to it. It'll be nice taking care of the farm with the tons of horses. I've been thinking of getting some chickens and some goats, preferably those fainting ones just for my own amusement.

Other than that no real news. Our kitchen is finished so maybe next time I'll post some pics, and now with me only taking one class at a time I can get back to working more on the house in my free time like some time never.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Better Late Than Never

I think that of all of Nintendo's franchises, The Legend of Zelda is my favorite. I remember being around 8 years-old, this would be '88 or '89, and going over to my older brother's friend's house, where they were playing the first Legend of Zelda game. Just watching them play was enough for me. I was hooked and I wanted more.

I played the second Zelda game, Zelda II: The Adventures of Link, but after that I pretty much stopped playing. I didn't get a Super Nintendo when it came out, only much later from a friend, I missed all the Gameboy and Gameboy Color Zelda games, I was in college during the N64 Zelda years so I wasn't playing many games (unless they were of the drinking variety), and then I missed the Gamecube because by that time I was a Playstation fan through and through.

Not until recently with the purchase of the Nintendo DS and the Nintendo Wii, both presents from my mom because I'm her little baby boy even though I'm pushing 29, and got the Phantom Hourglass for the DS and Twilight Princess for the Wii. Along with the Wii, I also got the Gamecube Zelda game I missed (the Windwaker) and I also got the Gamecube disc that has both N64 Zelda games on it (Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask). All that leaves now are the Super Nintendo game (A Link to the Past) and the couple Gameboy and Gameboy color games.

Well, since I got the DS I picked up the port of A Link to the Past, which is actually a Gameboy Advance title, but since the DS plays GBA games, I'm good to go, and just recently as in today at work (don't worry, the boss is away) I finally beat it. A game that came out in 1991 for the Super Nintendo, I've finally beaten 17 years later. That's just crazy.

I'm pretty happy with the accomplishment and I'm looking forward to playing all the other Zelda games I missed throughout the years. I should let my nephew know I beat it, but since he's only 8 years-old now, I doubt he even knows what the Super Nintendo even is, let alone that there was a Zelda game for it.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

I'm not sure how to take this. Am I cool, or not?

My godson/nephew called me early this evening with a question. Apparently, while playing The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass on his Nintendo DS, he came to one of it's many puzzles and got stuck without being able to solve it and move on in the game.

The puzzle is this: On the lower screen of the DS is a crest, just an image of a symbol or something. On the upper screen is your "Sea Chart", i.e. just a map of the ocean with some random islands on it. The riddle reads something along the lines of, "To find out where to go next, press the crest across your Sea Chart to find your way."

So he was stuck. He had no idea what he was supposed to do and he just couldn't figure it out. So what does he do? He calls his Uncle Pat and asks him because, well, Uncle Pat has a Nintendo DS and, and get this, not only does he have the Phantom Hourglass game, but has beaten it. This last fact astounds him to no end.

Anyway, he calls me and of course, without having to look it up and having beaten the game more than half a year ago, I tell him that to solve the puzzle, all he has to do is close the DS. When the DS is closed, the two screens particularly rest on each other. It was so simple, but yet, everything about using the DS tells you you're not suppose to goes it while a game is playing or else it "goes to sleep".

Now the problem as I see it, does this make me extremely cool, or extremely lame? Yes in the eyes of my nephew I'm the coolest adult around, but does that, at the same time, make me pretty lame that 8 year-olds think I'm the bomb (and yes, I realize that saying I'm the bomb make me sound very uncool, but whatever, I do what I want, and doesn't that fact make me cool? Oh whatever).

Friday, June 20, 2008

What's the damn point of giving us a great female protagonist if this is what you do with her?

I'll be the first to admit that Lara Croft of Tomb Raider fame isn't your ideal representation of real women - that she's more well known for the size of her...attributes than she is for her intellect, but what was always cool about her was that she was really a strong female character with a strong presence. She held her own around all the boys, some times kicking their asses in the process. And yeah, she was designed to have a killer body so that men/boys wouldn't feel so badly about playing as a female character, but that was just to get her foot in the door, so that people would try her game. But with the new box-art being revealed for the newest incarnation of Tomb Raider, Tomb Raider Underworld (and I do see that it almost sounds like your saying Tomb Raider underwear but whatever - one topic at a time), it's like she isn't important anymore, just her body.

As you can see in the image that they chopped off the parts of Lara on the box-art that just don't matter, one, her feet, because who really cares about a woman's feet unless they hideous, and two, the top of her head, where most people keep their brains.

Maybe I'm just reading way too much into this, but then again maybe I'm not. I've always felt a little uneasy playing Tomb Raider games, almost like I'm above this kind of thing, but when the box looks like this, I'm even more uneasy to go into a store and purchase it, like I'm some prepubescent adolescent who can't get real porn and must settle for this.

I have absolutely no problem with Lara Croft being damn sexy, actually I encourage it, but when her sex-appeal starts to over-shadow everything else about her, well then, she's just another pinup model without any redeeming qualities. What about her puzzle solving abilities, or her exploring through jungles and dangerous tombs? If, after the game comes out, I find out that it really is a great game, I'll probably play it, but otherwise I'll pick something else.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Pretty god damn sweet

With the Pixies Doolittle album coming to Rock Band as Downloadable Content, I so want to get the PS3 more now then ever. I want to rock out to the entire amazing track list that makes up this CD. Every single one of these songs is pure, unadulterated awesome, and if you don't agree with me, go soak your head. I want to scream "TAME!!!" into the microphone while playing the bassline to "Tame". I want to play the main rif to "Here Comes Your Man". I want, I want, I want.

"Got hips like Cinderella..."

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Guilty Pleasures

It's really quiet here in the office today. My boss is in his office with his door shut, one other employee is quietly working in his office down the hall, and the last employee isn't here the rest of this week because of a death in his family (Yes, I work with only 3 other guys in my office).

With the office being this quiet I'm getting loads of Unit Test written for a new application I designed and implemented earlier this week, but it's also given me the chance to listen to some complete albums over my headphones without the tracks being interrupted by anything.

Today this is what I've been listening to all morning:

So what are some of your guilty pleasures. Those tunes you love to listen to but only when no ones around, and only through your headphones if you're sure no one will ask you what you're listening to.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

I'm man enough to say I think strong, powerful women are hot

Check this woman out. Big guns, black leather, oh yeah. She can kick my ass any day (wait, does that even make sense).

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Coolest Librarian Ever

Last Thursday was a pretty shit day, having gone to my Grandma's wake, but I did get a little good news - I was accepted into the grad school program at URI to get my Masters in Library Studies and Information Services. I know it's no big deal getting into URI, but for the time being, I'm going to pretend that it is just to boast my ego a bit.

After finding out I was accepted I scheduled my first few classes for this summer, one of which starts at the end of this week - no real time to get my head around the fact that I'm now a grad student but what can you do. My first class is Introduction to Information Science and Technology, which sounds a lot worst than I'm hoping it probably will be. The first class, this Friday will be 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM, but then after that the rest of the summer session will be online classes so I'll be able to do them from anywhere at anytime.

I told my boss that I'll have to work remotely on Friday because of my class (I also told him I was accepted to the grad school at the same time :-) ) and he doesn't see any problem with that, just as long as I keep up 40+ hours a week working. It'll be challenging, believe me I know from watching Amanda do it now for the past three years, but I really need a change. Software has it's good points, but the bad moments greatly outnumber the good, at least for me they do. So I'm going back to school to try and do something about my career path. But even if I do have to give up my software job, I'd rather be poor than miserable any day.

And it's not like I'm going to be a poor grad student. I'm going to try and keep my crummy software job for as long as possible while taking classes so as to still be able to contribute to my household without putting any unnecessary burdens on ourselves. And in a few years I'll be that wicked cool guy that works at the library that disproves all the librarian stereotypes.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Because real men have feminine sides

So yeah, I cross stitch. Wanna fight about it?

My latest project has been this Nintendo Sampler that I created half of. The top and the right, middle sides were designed by someone else (stitchin' chicken) but the left, middle and the bottom are all me. I took screen shots and then drew the images in Microsoft's paint program, zooming in as close as possible to be able to see each pixel.

I still have to stitch all of the empty spaces with black thread and I'm almost done with the left, middle side, which is a pattern of Rygar, a character from an original Nintendo game, fighting the first boss. When I'm finished with that section, I'll post more pics.

After this I'm working on a title screen of the original Legend Of Zelda that I didn't design, but oh well. Even if I did design the pattern myself since it's based off of the same image it would look the same so no big difference there.

Not only to I have a completely gay hobby, but I'm also a nerd about it. Isn't everyone jealous of my wife?

Friday, May 9, 2008

In which I eat a booze soaked butterfly larva

The whole "worm in a bottle of tequila" isn't really new to anyone. Anyone who's ever really drank tequila in their lifetimes knows about this but what you might not know is the story behind it.

The worm in the bottle isn't actually a worm at all but a Agave butterfly larva which crawls inside the Agave plant, which is used to make tequila in the first place. Anyway, when brewing his "sore throat in a bottle" drink,a Senior Jacobo Lozano Paez from Mexico City decided to include an Agave larva in his mescal, a sort of tequila, as a marketing ploy.

For one thing, when mescal is created some times those little buggers get into it anyway. Since the drink already has the Agave larva in it, why not go the extra step and actually include a whole one in each bottle? For another thing, since the Agave larva feeds off the Agave plant, Paez believed that putting the bug into the drink actually enhanced it's favor (if I eat a lot of BBQ sauce does that mean I'll have a smoky favor?). I'm not sure how to enhance the favor of tequila anymore than it already is, seeing as how it pretty much tastes like burning to me.

So what's with the history/biology lesson? Last weekend I had the opportunity to eat the worm for a second time in my life. I forget the details of the first time, but since I was probably drinking a large quantity of tequila at the time, it's understandable. Anyway, I asked Amanda to make me a Tequila Sunrise and being the perfect wife that she is, off she went to make my drink. While in the kitchen she called to me saying that we're at the bottom of the bottle and there's the question about what to do with the worm seeing as how there only a single shot left. I abandoned my Tequila Sunrise in favor of just having a shot of the tequila with the little guy in it. You are correct. Amanda thought it was gross.

"Ahh, smooth."

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

In which I go to a concert

My good friend, Melissa, performed last night in a concert held at Orche Court, a mansion down in Newport, and it was amazing. Not only did she perform in it but she was a solo in the Concertino for Clarinet, E flat Major, Op 26. It was truly breathtaking. Too bad we were all sitting stage right and had the bass players standing in front of us the whole time so we could only see their backs during the performance.

It was definitely a different listening experience sitting that close to the basses. It completely changed the overall sound of the concert with the parts that should have been more subdued, exchanged for the parts that should have been louder and more prominent.

There were a number of instances that we could definitely hear a few mistakes but nothing that ruined the concert. A small boy, probably no more than 10 years old, was playing a violoncello, a smaller version of the cello, whose instrument became a little out of tune by the end of the concert but just the fact that he was holding his own amongst adult musicians says a lot.

But the star of the show, sorry Melissa, was an 11 year-old solo violinist playing the Concerto for Violin #4, D Major, K 218 who was spectacular. It was really something to witness so small a person produce something that strong that could elicit such powerful emotions. I think I saw her parents in the audience video recording it and I couldn't help but wonder just how proud they must feel every time they hear her play.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

GTA4 - I want it and should get it

It being Tuesday the 29th of April, everyone who is anyone is at home right now either playing Grand Theft Auto IV or are sleeping because they picked up their copy last night at midnight when it went on sale and they just got to bed a couple of hours ago. I am not one of these people because obviously I must not be anyone if the above statement holds any sway.

I am one of those people who thought the PS3 was way to expensive for a console and believed that the XBox 360 was just not for me - XBox 360 being mainly for frat guys or very underage boys who do nothing but scream obscenities into their microphones while they pwn in Halo 3, but really that's just my own stereotype and doesn't accurately reflect the 360's player base (but then again it just might).

I asked for and received the Wii (because my mom loves me so) because I was looking at all the new games coming out for the "next" generation consoles and was really bored with them. Yeah, they have beautiful graphics and all that, but the gameplay was something we have all seen before. Now the Wii, that was something new, something special, and every time I turned around there was another game being released that I really wanted to play. I've had loads of fun playing with my Wii (giggle giggle) and nothing can compare to hearing my wife swear like a sailor at the TV, asking why her cow isn't running faster (thank you very much Wii Play).

But now GTA IV is out and I NEED it. And now that me and the missus have a high definition television, on top of the fact that the HD war is now over with Blue-Ray the obvious victor, it's time to start seriously considering getting the PS3.

I will admit that I am a man-child and want nothing more when I get off work then to rush home and play video games until my thumbs ache (but I guess with the Wii's controller, my thumbs don't ache as much anymore). But I will admit to myself that I probably shouldn't get one. I already have the Nintendo Wii and the Nintendo DS, which I love more than anything (if it only had a smooth, warm hol... no, I'm not going to even go there), as well as my PS2 still plugged into my TV, getting the PS3 seems a bit of an overkill. Oh well, what can you do? You only live once and blowing 400 bucks on a stupid man toy (giggle giggle) isn't that big of a deal, I guess. Screw home renovations. Who needs groceries really when there's plenty of condiments available?