Archive for May, 2007

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Tales of conditioned air

Tuesday, May 8th, 2007

My day involved a larger than normal number of air conditioning incidents today! Being the first relatively hot day of the year (almost 80 degrees here in Seattle) I discovered a flaw in my otherwise lovely new pimpmobile: the AC can’t keep up even in this moderate heat. I took it by University Audi and they quickly diagnosed it as a bad compressor, but they won’t be able to fix it today as they need to order a part and won’t have loaner cars available to me for over a week. I’m not to pleased with the idea of my precious leather getting sweat on it, but I don’t really see a way around it.

Upon getting home I also discovered that my condo had reached a good 90 degrees inside so I wrestled my giant black thug of an air conditioner out of the closet (Ha! – been a while since anything came out of my closet) and into the bedroom. After a few short minutes of getting everything hooked up the AC was running full blast and my bedroom is a comfy 75 degrees. I’m not looking forward to a high power bill again this summer like I had last summer, but having an icy cool den to plot my world domination in is a simple must for me being as sensitive to heat as I am.

Talking through the grind

Tuesday, May 8th, 2007

In the interests of my continued dental health today marked the start of eight dental appointments in the next 4 months. After getting my teeth cleaned and assessed last week we came up with the full treatment plan to finish off all the last little things that have been getting pushed back due to dental emergency after dental emergency and the pain associated with such emergencies. My upcoming appointments will provide fillings for four teeth (technically three now that I’m done with today), and put crowns on two other teeth that have had root canals during the sordid past my mouth has lived.

Getting a filling or root canal done can provide an interesting if not lopsided conversation. My dentist (Guy Roberts on Capitol Hill – I can’t recommend him enough) is quite the conversationalists and is in to many of the same things I am. We got to talking today while he was numbing me up about his new TV and the fact that he just started watching The Planet Earth of Discovery HD. Having just picked up The Planet Earth on HD-DVD (technically the BBC version, not the Discovery version) we chatted a bit about it.

Once the drilling started the conversation suddenly became rather single sided – He continued to talk about the stunning footage of whales, insects, and space photography all the while grinding away at my teeth with his drill. Every once in a while when he would pause to grab another instrument I would have my opportunity to blurt out “Sir David Attenborough” or “Consider getting the Toshiba HD-A1″ only to have the drill crammed back in to remove more of my precious enamel.

It’s strange to have a conversation like that where I’m practically bursting with things to say, but due to the large number of fingers, drills, suction devices, and other instruments crammed into my mouth I’m virtually muted. True torture for the (perhaps overly) verbose type of guy that I am – perhaps even worse torture than getting my teeth drilled on at 7am in the first place.

Oh well – in four months I’ll have done 15 years of dental work and be left with clean, sparkling teeth ready to face a lifetime of chomping, chewing, and grinding my food no matter what form it takes!

Caught up

Monday, May 7th, 2007

After spending a final weekend catching up on stuff around the house and resting I finally am 100% healthy again! I got out of the house on Saturday long enough to finish up all of my errands, and went downtown to pick up a few things I’ve been out of for a while. I picked up a copy of Marble Mania, and got my place kicked into shape from being sick.

On Sunday I had planned to hang out watching the BBC/Discovery channel miniseries “The Planet Earth” on HD-DVD (my copy arrived earlier this week) with Troy, but he ended up sleeping most of the day and I was still feeling slightly under the weather and ended up not doing much. In watching a few episodes I highly reccomend it to anyone even remotely interested in nature – It’s some of the most stunnging footage I’ve ever seen, it’s beautifully mastered for 1080p on HD-DVD, and so far it’s done a great job of exposing me to facets of the worlds I didn’t even know exsisted previously. I’m looking forward to watching the rest of it over the next couple of days (and yes Troy – I will gladly watch it again with you).

I watched a couple of episodes of Planet Earth on Sunday, but for the most part just played Marble Mania and relaxed. In doing so I finally feel like I’ve shaken the last of my Pneumonia and feel ready to tackle my big week at work. Here’s to health and hoping the sickness is behind me!

Kororinpa: Marble Mania

Monday, May 7th, 2007

One of the delightful things I found this weekend was a copy of Kororinpa: Marble Mania for the Wii at Gamestop downtown. It was a Japanese Wii launch title, but the localized version has just recently to US shores. It’s another marble game similar to Archer Maclean’s Mercury for the PSP, Marble Blast Ultra on the Xbox 360, or the Super Monkey Ball series available on various platforms, but this is the cleanest control implementation I’ve seen yet. It uses the tilt sensors on the Wiimote to control the playing field, but with far more precision than any other game I’ve played of the genre. It even allows (requires even on a few levels) turning the wiimote sideways or upside-down to navigate the 3-demensional mazes and catch your marble on a platform as it falls through space.

Having always been a fan of the marble maze genre I’m happy to see it continue to gain traction in the gaming market. Kororinpa: Marble Madness is tied for best implementation with Mercury in my book, although by using the tilt sensor on the Wiimote I would have to say it edges out Mercury in the controls book, but lacks the depth of Mercury – Marble Mania only manages to have about 50 levels, (with a mirrored option after you beat them all) and I was able to ‘beat’ it in an afternoon. I still will get some playability out of it as I need to improve my time in most of the levels to get the gold medal (and thus unlock a few more secret levels, and some new marbles to play with), but for most gamers it will be a fairly short lived title.

Here’s to hoping that Archer Maclean’s Mercury gets a Wii port at some point in the future, and that Marble rolling games in general continue to find homes on consoles, both in this generation and the next!

Catching up

Friday, May 4th, 2007

Recovering from my pneumonia is becoming more and more grating of a task. I’m finishing up the antibiotics today, but the lingering cough and “run down” feeling is really starting to get old. Combine that with the fact that I’m ridiculously busy trying to catch back up after missing nearly a week of work and personal appointments.

Aside from recovering my health I’ve been relaxing with video games quite a bit, and doing some reading. I finally beat Super Paper Mario for my Wii, and have been getting back into Oblivion for my 360. I had managed to put down the Oblivion addiction a while back, but with the Shivering Isles expansion out I’ve found myself spending more and more time in Cyrodill. I’ve built (yet another) new character and am focusing on trying to work through not only the new expansion pack, but also all of those miscellaneous little quests that I’ve never bothered to go through – shadow over Hackdirt, Aleswell, and other little one-off quests that really add some depth to the game.

Aside from gaming my reading has been quite interesting. I picked up a copy of Inside the Machine, and illustrated introduction to microprocessors and computer architecture by Jon Stokes. It’s an interesting read and offers a nuts and bolts view of how a computer works from the ground up. I’m about half way through and am simply fascinated by the view it’s giving me into the “world of the machine” that so often slips under the average computer user. Modern computers, operating systems, and programming languages have done a beautiful job of abstracting hardware from software, but the hardware still exists, and knowing how it operates has given me some insight as to why some weird things in the more abstracted levels “work the way they work”.

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