Tuesday, December 21, 2010

I'll be home for (the weekend before) Christmas

When my Wyo-friends ask me if I'm going home for Christmas, the answer is always a resounding "Hecks no!" Then they get that same look of misplaced pity and ask "oh noes! y not?" The answer is simply because I don't like to travel in the Winter. The Roads are laden with water in varying stages of freezing. I don't like the directions taken and methods used by the TSA (Tax Subsidized Ass-grabbers).

The airports are crowded with people also trying to go home for Christmas, and there is a greater number of couples bringing their small children onto the plane to visit their Grandparents.

Quick thought here: Why is it always the parents doing the traveling with the children? If the G'rents want to see their grandchildren, why can't they get on a plane? Their kids are probably dealing with enough stress and financial burden from their little snowflakes without the added cost of Air Travel? Or the mental stress of minding your child at an enormous building filled with thousands of strangers? Or keeping them under control while juggling your luggage, the kids luggage, diaper bags, strollers, car seats, and other brik-a-brak that have mostly just driven up the cost of becoming a parent? It's a shame that kids can't sit still in an airplane seat for four hours; they may be the only ones that can fit in them comfortably.

We live in a day and age where people hundreds of miles away, even on opposite sides of oceans, can hold a conversation as if the participants were staring at each other. A few webcams, and they CAN be staring at one another.

But this year, my sister, and one of my uncles that I haven't seen in a while returned to The 'Burgh for a visit to my Grandparents before Christmas. The weather had been unusually cooperative this year, so I booked a flight to surprise my family on the same weekend. The weekend was great. Nice Dinner got to see family that I don't see often, especially my cousins.

Then I came back, and found that a Class Five Winter Killstorm had dumped about two feet of snow on Utah, Wyoming, and other less important western states. My connecting flight was delayed over an hour and a half, I had to take shelter at the Best Western in Heber, UT. I got stuck in parking lots due to the lack of snow removal. My little front wheel drive vehicle barely made it up the pair of hills, referred to as "The Sisters" by the locals, that lie between Evanston and Mountain View. Longing to get back to the Valley, where they at least keep the roads drivable, I pulled into town only to find that everyone that drives a plow in the county decided to just give up and go inside for hot cider or something.

So, yeah, not doing that again. This has basically validated all of my reservations about Winter Travel. As my mother put it, "When winter begins, he doesn't come down from the mountain until the spring thaw." No more driving in the slush, no more winter flights where the TSA gets to 2nd base with me. Although, the SLC security folks are usually pretty polite and even temered, unlike those I've encountered everywhere. Usually TSA makes me feel cheap and used. The Salt Lake International Airport TSA almost makes me feel... sexy.

Uh, don't read too deeply into that last sentence.

What's with all the sentimentality about family and Christmas, anyway? Why can't we designate that kind of sugar-job for a summer holiday? How about we have ourselves a merry little Cinqo de Mayo? Or maybe make Independence Day the new wishy-washy feel-good holiday? BBQ, swimming pools, lawn darts (and I'm talking about the awesome stabby kind!) sunshine and favorable temperatures, and explosive ordinance of questionable legality. That's what I want at a family gathering!

Friday, October 15, 2010

1096 Days Later

Oh, hey, I've lived in Wyoming for three years now. Wicked cool.

My experiences so far have been pretty positive. We'll see where it goes from here...

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Scattershot Post - Filler for September

Nothing of importance, really. but I don't want a gap in the blog archive that shows absolutely nothing for September. Topic? Lets pick... entertainment!

There's the Dresden Files Side Jobs book that's out next month, followed by the next to last Wheel of Time book out early in November, then another Dresden files book way out in April that'll continue the main storyline. Good reading! I need to go over the first Wheel of Time books again to re-familiarize myself.

Team Fortress 2 is without a doubt the game that made me love online gaming. Eve didn't do it; there's a reason why this game is nicknamed "Spreadsheets Online". Starcraft II didn't do it (as great as the game is, you're either the OCD Multi-tasker that builds five bases and two dozen Battlecrusiers/Carriers within ten minutes, or the guy that repeatedly gets overrun by the former when he starts building his first Siege Tanks. Usually, I'm the latter. (Also, sorry for the majority of you that had this paragraph go over your heads.)

I think I mentioned before that I do not have Televisions service of any kind, including the free over the air kind (signals don't get out to here), but now that an HBO miniseries based on A Song of Ice and Fire is in production, I may have to reconsider. Yeah, I could wait and buy the inevitable DVD collection, but... There IS something to be said for seeing it sooner than later. Then again, why have another monthly bill, especially for something that I'll never use? If this one doesn't make me call up DirecTV or Dish, then I don't think anything will.

Due to 1) the closest decent theater being an hour away, and 2) a lack of Television that walls me off from the primary marketing outlet for new movies, I haven't seen much that wan't on Netflix, and I still only bother watching maybe one Netflix movie a month. Still, I decided to go see Scott Pilgrim vs The World Last month, and have to say it was pretty good. Sadly, juding by box office returns, it looks like I was one of only about 300 people nationwide that actually paid to see it. This pretty much says it all.

One of the reasons why I adjusted so well to moving to Nowhereville, WY is that to me, a Saturday night at home is better than a night on the town, even when said town is hip and trendy. But I still have my karaoke, and I still run the show on Friday Nights. Good times!

I went to see Streetlight Manifesto Back in July, and in spite of a great show, I was reminded why I don't go to concerts. I can recreate the experience by walking into a sauna fully clothed, tape a picture of the backs of people's heads to my glasses, and just play one of their albums through. I could probably get closer and a better view if I was willing to muck about in the mosh pit, but I don't feel like getting shoved around by 19 year olds that have no other outlet for aggression. I'm just too old for that shit.

And now, posted with no explanation or reason, ELO's Don't Bring Me Down.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


Internet message boards are like spider webs for arachnids that feed on stupid. In spite of my general preference to stay away from them (for no one cares what you think, Internet!), I've developed a way for people to create betting pools based on some of the more predictable trends. I call it Fark-Roulette.

You need a group of friends, that agree to only visit a chosen website (Fark, in this case) once per day, as a group. Honor System enforced, as there's no way to keep people from accessing during the day. Read through the headlines, and each person chooses a good one. In this example, I'll pick "From the 'We've all wanted to do it' file. Man gets drunk and fires round after round into the company server" The betting begins!

I picked this headline, so I choose the Winning reference: Office Space, Image, The cast beating up the office printer. Then, I choose the number representing the earliest comment that I believe the chosen reference will appear. I pick the seventh comment, believing that it will appear early, but not quite immediately.

Another bettor believes I highly underestimate the speed at which this popular movie scene will appear in the comments, especially because this headline could have been ripped right from the script of Office Space. He chooses the 2nd Comment. Gutsy.

After everyone has placed their bets (with an agreed upon amount of money, peanuts, M&Ms, etc. in the pool,) You look in the comments and see where it appears. The person that guess correctly (or has the best Over/Under) wins. In the case of this thread, it showed up 3rd. I would lose to the man that bet on the 2nd comment.

Try it sometime. Even if you're just guessing by yourself. Whenever a headline about McDonalds appears, or another alarmist article about how our kids are getting FAAAT comes up, try to guess how soon this Fark-favored picture will show up:

Monday, August 2, 2010

Space, Spice, and Lame-ass Vampires

So... Starcraft II. As the tagline so poignantly stated, "Hell, it's about time!" Only a few of you care, everyone else can read on. The campaign mode is a blast. Aside from the usual units (all are back) you can research fancy new ones and new abilities for them (research is done by collecting Zerg DNA Samples and Protoss knickknacks scattered throught misisions).

Example: Thor, the giant walking mech that deals a world of hurt, 2500 HP, cannons that hurt bad and shoot fast. What makes it fun is when you research an ability called "Immortality Protocol" that uses 200 Vespene. This takes your charred blow'd up husk of a unit, unloads an auto repair mechanism that survied somehow, and and patches it right up. Also fun: The Arnold Schwarzenegger voice clip that accompanies it. Gold.

While rummaging around in my pantry for various things, I decided that it was high time I break down and buy a spice rack. At this point, I felt my testicles shudder, and get weaker. They proclaimed, "Men do not need these things! They need a bigger grill, more power tools, and another beer! Go get your pink apron on, Nancy, and forget about the spice rack!"
But I assured them that it's OK for a man to cook and cook well, and want to organize his ingredients to make his pantry less cluttered. And then I felt that I might be slightly mad for having a conversation with my man bits. Anyway, at least I didn't do like my co-worker who is a 58 year old man...

...and admits to being a fan of *shudder* The Twilight Series. Seriously, he fails at being a man. I've told him as much, and informed him that he need to head downtown and turn in his penis. Also, I linked him to this comic by The Oatmeal about how Twilight works.

In conclusion, I would like to apologize to anyone by my gratuitous references to Male Anatomy. I'll limit these in the future, and as always, keep it tasteful. *cough*

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Grubbin' With Fuzzy - White Chili

Having successfully reproduced, and dare I say "improved", my father's excellent chili, I decided to take it in a different direction: White. I've had white chili before, but haven't yet attempted to make a batch myself. The idea is pretty straightforward: Chili - Tomatoes - Beef + Chicken - Red Kidneys +White Kidneys = White Chili.

I decided last week that it was time to try it to use up an old package of boneless chicken thighs that I found in the back of the freezer from last February choice portions of deboned chicken that has been carefully aged in cold storage for 450 days. As always, the portions and ingredients can be played with.
  • 1-10 Fresh chilies of your choice, diced (I used Cubanelle to start and Serrano to finish)
  • 1-2 lbs Boneless chicken or pork
  • 4-5 cans of light colored beans
  • 1 can chicken broth
  • 12 oz pale beer (ever the connoisseur, I only use the best: Miller High Life! It's the champaign of beers, you know!
  • a few handfuls crushed toritilla chips (This is primarily a thickening agent)
  • Cumin and Oregano, use your best judgement for amount
  • Salt/Pepper to taste
Assembly is pretty simple.
1) Brown the chicken.
2) Throw everything except the spices and half the chilies into a slow cooker, set it low, and walk away for a few hours.
3)Throw in the last of the chilies and the spices. walk away for one more hour.
4) Om nom nom nom...

Other thoughts
  • While cheddar goes best with Red Chili, your better of with Monterey or Pepper Jack on top of this stuff.
  • About chilies: If you throw them in towards the beginning, the most of the flavor and heat will cook right out. add them in towards the end (like the spices) and your chili will have a kick. Adjust according to the wussiness of you and your guests.
  • you can add the crushed tortilla chips closer to the end if you want to see how much you'll need to thicken, but don't add salt until after you are sure you added enough chips.
  • Instead of chips, you can used corn meal. But which of those two things are you more likely to have on hand?
  • Not mentioned in the list of ingredients above is a 6 oz can of Salsa Verde. I'm not sure if that really had an impact or not, so I'll leave that to you guys.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Origins 2010 Breakdown

Returned, caught up on sleep, returned to work, and pictures have been uploaded to Flickr. Time for the final debriefing! I've decided it would be easier to follow categorically rather than chronologically this year, so here goes:

In years past, I've cheaped out and stayed at the Hotel with the lowest price tag. I figured that I just needed a place to get a shower and sleep for a few hours before heading back into the fray, and it's not like I'm going to be there for longer than that. So why blow the budget on accommodations?

Last year, I found out why: the cheap places are ten miles out from the Convention center, making runs back and forth difficult with parking garages, and eating more of your time navigating through traffic that should be spent in the convention center. This is my vacation, I've already jumped on two planes each way, I want to do as little traveling as possible once I'm in town.

I also found that the little niceties are worth paying for, if you can afford it. I'm not picky about staying at places that are spotless, staff that's hospitable, or located next to a strip club, but when you advertise a continental breakfast, I expect more than a a bagel, a half eaten blueberry muffin and cold cereal with warm milk. This year I was at the Courtyard by Marriott, and instead of providing a complimentary continental breakfast, they had a proper breakfast buffet for $10. Eggs. Bacon. Biscuits and Gravy. Home Fries. Waffles hot off the Iron. The stuff of life! I was a little worried that my cohorts would find paying for breakfast not worth their while (they are still playing it cheap, with good reasons) but even they found this expense not only acceptable, but well worth the money. Indeed, it is the most important meal of the day, especially when the rest of that day will be spent walking around a convention center until 10 or 11 pm.

Another small thing I noticed from staying here is that they leave the Air Conditioning on right where you left it. Cheap places cut corners by turning off the AC when housekeeping arrives. Annoys the snot out of me, because I want to come in from the hot and humid outdoors and into an environment that is suitable for keeping fruits and vegetables fresh for a few days. I likes it cold. Don't turn off my AC! If I wanted it off, I would have done it myself!

Being as close to the convention center as we were, we were also able to partake of the shuttle service that GAMA had arranged for four of the hotels. Wonderful!

Air Travel
I purposely stagger my flights with 1-2 hours of layover between them so if the first one is delayed, I can still get on the second one and maybe even have my baggage follow me. This kind of backfires when the 2nd flight gets delayed and forces me to wait 2-3 hours for my next flight. Like what happened on this trip. Both ways.

Something must be wrong with Chicago Midway. From now on, it goes on the avoidance list with Atlanta.

After last year's debacle, I started flying Southwest Airlines exclusively. As much as I like not having to pay to check bags or having my flights totally screwed with and not told until two days before the trip (bastards) I don't like the non-assigned seating. I always end up at the end of the line which means I'm in the bitch seat the most (for the few of you that don't know, the bitch seat is the one that's between two other people). I have a friend who loves it, but that's only because they seat families after they seat section A (the A section are the people who paid extra to avoid the bitch seat) which means they still get prime seating options. Next time I'm at the ticketing counter I'll ask politely who I have to blow to get put into group A seating.

The Games
I wrote enough in the descriptions of the photos on Flickr, so I'll keep these brief.



Here's a peek at Fantasy Flight Games' R&D discussions:
Allen: "How did the playtesters like it?"
Bob: "Pretty good, I guess. But there's still some things we need to work out."
A: "Oh? Did we not add enough game bits? I'm sure we can toss in a few tokens an counters in there somewhere..."
B: "No, it's not that. We have plenty of pieces. The problem is that the players all had a pretty good grasp of the rules by round three."
A: "Round three?!? I'd have thought they'd have that dull stare like a dairy cow that early into it."
B: "Yeah, I know, but they're getting the hang of it pretty fast. How can we add more complexity to this?"
A: "Well, we've been working on adding a subset of rules and mechanics for each player that work completely different depending on which of the starting pawns the players take."
B: "That might work! Let's try it!"

Car Wars

Car Wars: Rouge Arena

This is an adaptation of a miniatures game created by Steve Jackson Games, and is run at Origins and Gen Con by a gaming club that calls themselves the "Rogue Judges". They've adapted the rules to be slightly less complex (just slightly) and is played by moving around your little Matchbox car that has plastic guns glued onto it, and then shooting any other player's car that has the audacity to get within firing range. Fun times!


Illuminati by Steve Jackson Games

Have your Illuminati add ten powerful (or not so powerful) groups and/or organizations to it's power structure to control the world! There was one game where I had the KGB attempt to take control of Texas. Good times!

Magic: The Gathering
If you like sealed deck style play, but don't want to drop close to $30 for an event, you can play Mini-masters. Basically, it's sealed deck with two booster packs. And yes, you still have to make a deck that's at least 40 cards. This means you'll be playing 4 or 5 colors, have about 18 lands, and instead of choosing what twenty-three cards to play with, you'll pretty much be choosing which four cards NOT to play with.

Mini-masters is played single elimination style, and after each round, the winners receive one more booster pack to improve his or her deck, hopefully paring it down to a more managable three color deck.

The Red Dragon Inn
A quick and easy little game about a party of the common D&D archetypes celebrating at the local inn, having defeated the Dragon and ending the campaign. The goal is to be the last adventurer standing in the inn by not running out of money, and not getting so drunk that you fall on your ass. Not easy considering your companions will be buying you round after round, and occasionally roughing you up.

The mechanics are nothing especially memorable, but the theme and humor of the game is priceless. The Female Warrior will typically beat you up by playing cards like "It hurts more if you do it like this!" or "No more chain mail bikini jokes!". The Wizard's familiar (a white rabbit named "Pooky") will run around causing trouble or go on a drunken rampage. Or buy you a drink ("Pooky says you look thirsty!"). The priestess and rogue have similar functions with different jokes "The Goddess told me to do it!" or "I'm saving that money for the poor!" or "Uh, I think you made an error in dividing the treasure". Good stuff.

The Food
I've mentioned the benefit of eating a decent breakfast above, so I'll not belabor that point. Instead, let me tell you if you do breakfast right, on most days, you can get away with bottled water, Cliff bars, and beef jerky and not be hungry the rest of the day. But still, you'll want those few good meals with your cohorts to unwind, so let me tell you that across the street from the side entrance to the Convention Center, there is a great little brew pub called Barley's. Actually, I think I mentioned this last year, so let me just point out that it's still good, they still make their own beer, and is still worth the money. This year, they had a brew called Bloodthirst Pale, a wheat beer for the Summertime that's flavor with blood oranges. Yummy.

In spite of moving from the homemade limoncello to DeVito brand rotgut, we still decided to do the final wrap-up meal at Buca di Beppo. The Chicken Carbonara is EPIC, and puts mine to shame. Good sangria too.

About as much gaming as I could fit into four and a half days, meeting up with old friends, and Good Times all around. That should tide me over for a while... at least Until January when early bird registration for 2011 starts winding down, and I start counting down days again... Hooray!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Origins 2010: Travel and Day One

Writing this on my netbook, waiting for the next shuttle so I'll keep this brief:
  • While driving to the airport, I passed a military convoy on I-80 that was pulled over. Wasn't sure what they were about, but they had two tanker trucks with the contents marked as "Flammable". Interesting...
  • Flight was overbooked. Thank you, anonymous lady with the two kids, for taking the discount offered by Southwest! The connecting flight was delayed an hour for for "maintenance". Better than the wings falling off mid-flight, I guess.
  • The Hotel is a BIG step up from the roach motels we've picked in years past. It's the little touches, such as housekeeping not turning off the AC when they clean in order to save a buck on the energy bill. I walk in and it's delightfully cool. Especially after walking around a humid Columbus, OH. The staff is pretty friendly, too.
  • One odd design flaw about the hotel is that you have to climb a flight of stairs to get to the elevator. Like a staircase that leads to a handicapped access ramp. Silly.
  • The bag o' schwag that was way too light last year is back with some decent things from WotC, including a whole starter for their Axis and Allies miniatures game. I guess they're desparately trying to push the game. looks neat.
More later. Shuttle arrives in 5 minutes.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Scattershot Post - Volume 13

  • You know you're working for the right people when one of the executives walk around wearing this shirt.
  • One of my Karaoke superstars told me there's only a few things he enjoys more than singing in front of a crown. One example he gave me was ice cold Visine in your eyes when you're baked off your ass. It has to be ice cold; he held the bottle out of the window of a moving car in winter to achive the proper tempature. And, yes, for the full effect you must be, as he said, "Baked off your ass".
  • One of the local ranchers was moving his herd to a new pasture this past Sunday morning. I heard mooing, stepped outside my back door, and watched the cows walk down highway 414. Viva Wyoming!
  • Starcraft II drops on July 27th. If you don't hear from me for about 30 days after that date, don't worry.
  • Origins Game Fair in less than 30 days! Hooray for Vacation!
  • And now, the Zac Brown Band will play me out. If Jimmy Buffet wrote country music, this is what it would sound like.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

My Car, and No One Else's

I bought my first car back in 2006, because I was tired of taking the bus to work or catching a ride with my Dad. One more step in the plan for independent living, you see. We went to the local dealership, haggled over price a little, and I drove home my little blue Cobalt. It felt good. I remember going home, sitting down on the couch, jingling my keys saying, "Heh. I'm a car owner now! :-)".

My Mother, whom I suspect likes taking on the role of Captain Bringdown pointed out that actually, my financing company was a car owner, a privilege I wouldn't fully have for a few more years. Bummer...

Four Years, one leap up the career ladder, and several thousand dollars later, now I say to thee all (especially Mom):

"I Am A Car Owner!"

For I now have the title to prove it:

Vehicle Title

PS: Full disclosure - the afore mentioned Blue Cobalt met its end way before its time, when a Freak Blizzard, a big hill, and a phone pole conspired to end its life. This title is for my little Orange Cobalt.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Condimental Divide, Part 2

Last year, I discussed the culinary abomination of Fry Sauce, which is beloved by the Philistines in Utah. I was convinced that this was the dirtiest thing one could do with ketuchup.

Oh, how I wish it only went as far that.

Yesterday, I'm back in Ogden indulging in my games again, when I go for a dinner break between matches. I finally find a decent Chinese restaurant that serves good Hot and Sour soup, and good egg rolls, which I get on the side of some Orange Chicken. (mmm... MSG... so good). I sit down and unpack the paper bag with my food, and inspect the condiments. "Soy sauce... hot mustard... Ketchup?!" In all my years, I have never seen ketchup distributed at Chinese restaurants. Ever. So I bring it up to my fellow gamers, asking rhetorically, "Heh. Why the heck would they give me ketchup packets with my Chinese food?"

"Oh, they put those in there when people started complaining they didn't have any ketchup to put on their Kung Pao Chicken." The response was immediate as it was terrifying. He just said that, like it was the most natural thing. Just like putting it on tater tots or hot dogs.

Ketchup on Kung Pao Chicken. Whiskey. Tango. Foxtrot.

Something is just terribly wrong with Utah. I now have evidence. For my part, I'm going to do my best to turn society against the abuse of both ketchup and Chinese food. Now, when I find something to be irregular, peculiar, or other wise not quite right, instead of saying that it's "queerer than than a 16 dollar bill" I will now say "queerer than ketchup on Kung Pao".

Seriously. Eww.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Skills that have been Long Dormant

My first job was at a local movie theater, whoring out overpriced popcorn to movie goers. while it wasn't a bad job for a 16-17 year old it really had no transferable job skills at all.

Ten years later, I move out west. My local boozery has bought a popcorn popper, offering free popcorn to it's patrons. The idea is Free Popcorn -> Eating Popcorn -> Saltiness -> people wanting to buy more drinks. Same principle as peanuts, only cheaper.

Today after an exciting afternoon of laundry, I stop by to have a drink with friends, and a little later, the new bartender explains that there's no more popcorn because she doesn't know how to operate the popper.

My head turns in interest. "Let me try it." Five minutes later the kettle is bursting forth with popcorn and I get kudos from the bartender, as well as a free drink.

And so, the lesson is, no matter how mundane, specialized, or poorly demanded your job skills are, someday, under the right circumstances, you juuuust might have a use for what you learned when you were a stupid teenager. So far, it got me a free Jack n' Coke. Who knows what the future may hold?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Wyoming Status Symbols

In most urban and suburban areas, status symbols are mostly about disposable income, and displaying it flagrantly. A nice lawn, overachieving kids, best car, a boat, trophy wife, etc. Last week, I learned how the locals display their Street Cred. Er, Hayfield Cred. It's not the most head of cattle, nicest toys, not even the number of tasty animals that one has killed. It's not the old beat up ranch truck, although you're getting close. It's all about the numbers on your license plates.

For those of you that don't know, Wyoming License plates are prefixed by a number representing a county (I live in Uinta County, which is 19) after which, is a second number that are given out not-quite randomly. At one point, I think they just started with the lowest number and worked up. Every 9 years, new plates are issued, but you can request to keep your old number as long as you pay to keep that vehicle registered.

As a result, those who have lived here a long time, and still have Ford Trucks that are +25 years old and still in service, they have numbers like 19-127 while all of the transplants, like myself, have already gone into the letters, or into the five digit range. The lower the number that you have on your Wyoming License Plate, the higher your ranking is in the Rancher Elite. Silly, maybe, but it unofficially gets the point across that you've been here a long time, you have clout, and a vehicle registration on an old vehicle is cheaper than a BMW or a Jacuzzi.

A coworker, the son of a local rancher and an epic smart-ass, knew that in the past year a lot of the old-time ranchers have passed on. He needed to get his vehicle plates replaced, so he called his wife and told her to ask for the lowest number they have. She came back with 19-246 a full hundred lower than his brother who felt smug about his three-hundred numbered plate. His Dad said, "Son, you are gonna piss off a lot of the Ranchers around here, including me!".

But still, it's a lot like getting seat at the Adult's table at Thanksgiving: Some one has to die before you have a chance at it.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Scattershot Post: This time, it's personal!

  • About a month ago, my Director was asking the locals if they had an old anvil that they weren't using. Like, 18th century blacksmithing tool, drop-on-a-road-runner-for-hilarity type anvil. No kidding. The man who had one declined politely; he didn't want to give it up. I love this state.
  • Happiness is a local bar that has Fat Tire on tap.
  • Looks like I have made back my initial investment on the Karaoke System. Next stop: Profitville!
  • For Christmas, my folks gave me a sweet gift: Three independently controlled 2.5 qt crocks in a single unit:
Triple Crock Pot

Its first appearance was at a coworker's Super Bowl party. It performed admirably!
  • And now, I leave you with Miss Murder by AFI. Before you comment that this is the wrong song, wait until the long-assed emo-intro is over at about 1:46. If emo-ballads transitioning to punk rock isn't your thing, maybe this will persuade you to watch: It has bunnies!!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Other, Cooler Wizard Named "Harry"

About a year ago, my sister recomended a series of fantasy books to me, about a wizard that freelances as a Private Investigator to make ends meet. I was never interested enough in that Potter kid to bother picking up one of his books, but this sounded a little more realistic, and I needed something to read in order to get me through George R.R. Martin's epic writer's block that keeps him from delivering A Dance with Dragons, or Robert Jordan's terminal case of Dead that prevented him from finishing the Wheel of Time series (Next WoT book via Brandon Sanderson due out this fall!).

So I picked up the first book with some old B&N gift cards I had lying around and gave it look through. I was curious by the end of the first chapter, drawn in by the second, and unwittingly gave up an entire Saturday to finish it after the third.

Harry Dresden has an office in the City of Chicago, where he gets by on contract work form the Special Investigations team of the CPD, and the occasional divining request to find lost objects. Other fun things discussed are:
  • How to trap a fairy
  • Modern Technology:Wizards :: Snails:Salt
  • Why you shouldn't tell your name to a wizard or any creature from the Nevernever.
  • Potions: General principals on mixing and brewing
Thankfully absent are Quiddich games*, British brats, and Wizard boarding schools. It's a light little read, so pick it up if that kind of thing interests you.

*When Potter decides to form a Quiddich league that uses Australian Indoor Rules, I might get on board.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Internet Tries to Guess My Location

A lot of advertising on the web attempts to guess your location based on your IP Address. Since I moved out here. I'm constantly amused by the precision, or lack thereof, on the ads.

"Salt Lake City Dad whitens his teeth by doing one simple thing. Click here to find out the secret, you butter-spitting yellow toothed baffoon!" The closest you can Get is Salt Lake? Try again, Bucko.

"Draper Mom makes %320,0000 a year by sitting on her fat ass and playing Windows Solitare on her computer. Click here for a lazily lucrative lifestyle that has NOTHING to do with whoring our overpriced products over the intterwebs!" We've gone from from Salt Lake proper, to the greater SLC metro area and it's suburbs. I'm not sure if that's better or worse. NEXT!

"Granger woman drops 300 pounds in a weekend by following this one easy tip that we won't bother to print in this ad. Click here with your sausage fingers to find out how!" Getting closer! At least you landed in Wyoming this time!

"Lyman man gets epic huge p3n!$ by taking a daily suppliment of stuff the FDA would destroy on sight, along with anything and anyone within a 20 mile radus! Unless you enjoy being hung like a housefly, click here and let our servers download our spambot software on your machine right now! HURRY!" This is the best I've seen, a mere six miles from Mountain View. Congratulations, malware distributor, and I'll be sure to look out for the guy with the the 18" wang!