Tonight I Have to Leave It

Posted in Life, Music, Nerd, Work on December 31st, 2007 by Tom

So, I promised no more omnibus posts.
And I did pretty good this year, until now. I have a lot of stuff to run through, and less than 24 hours left in 2007 to say it. So here goes!

First I’m going to start off with what’s happened since school was over. Basically, I’ve been hanging with Lizz and my family, mostly, and going to work. I’ve been working at Prairie Village, which is a complete and total zoo every day, but so goes it. The money’s decent, and so lo and behold, I’ve come out of Dry Cleaning Retirement once more.

I’ve also been modding my Longshot Nerf gun, which has been a lot of fun, and only slightly frustrating. If you care for the full details, I posted my full write-up on Nerf Haven early yesterday. It’s a little technical, but has lots of pictures, for those who are interested.

Next up, what happened for the holiday?! We had Christmas Eve at my house with my mother’s family, and spent the Christmas Day with my father’s family at my grandmother’s condo. So that was neat. Short of that, I recieved a plethora of awesome stuff:

New Headphones
These are super-slick, in that they’re over-the-ear (earbuds kill hurt my ears after about half an hour, plus the never fit correctly because my right ear canal is smaller than the left… which is messed up, but whatever), very comfortable, and they have retractable cords! I’ve been looking for excuses to use them, because they’re a delight.
New Watch
If we’ve ever met, you’ve probably seen my watch. Maybe you never noticed, but it’s been literally the same style since like… probably second grade. [I got it for my birthday that year with Polar Claw, the polar bear BeastWars transformer…] Since then, whenever a watch breaks, dies, or gets too nasty, I just would go out and buy the same one again. I could usually squeeze about 2 or 3 years out of each one, which isn’t bad. Sadly, that era is at an end.

But it’s OK, because the new one has a digital compass build into it. I push a button, and it tells me which direction I’m facing! That’s SO amazing. Plus it’s way easier to use, and the buttons are bigger and easier to push and so on. It’s going to take some getting used to, but I think I’ll warm up to it fully in time.

Weapons for EVAs
They sell a type of “expansion set” for my Evangelion toys that consists of a gigantic (7+ inches) rile, and a huge shield that stands the height of the EVAs. I set them up Christmas day, but I’ve yet to play very hard with either. Hopefully I’ll get the time to put them through their paces before break dies on me.
The X-Files
Seasons 5 and 6! I’m so excited. Lizz and I have already knocked out a significant chunk of Season 5, and it’s really good. These are the two seasons which bookend the X-Files film, which is essentially my favorite episode ever, and the crescendo and diminuendo do not disappoint. Among my favorite moments so far: Scully and Mulder get sidetracked on their way to a team-building conference. Towards the end of the episode, they’re stuck in a cave filled with bodies. They start to build a tower out of the bodies in order to escape. Reveling in the irony of the exercise, Mulder comments, “If they could only see us now!”
Gamecube Games
“Why?” You may be asking. Because I still play Gamecube because I’m not yet game for shelling out 300+ bucks to go “next gen”. Especially when Ethan’s got a 360, Lizz will most likely acquire a Wii, and I don’t have a lot of time for games in the first place. So I still rock out, Gamecube style. I got Metroid Prime 2, which has been a lot of fun so far, and Resident Evil, which is mostly for Ian’s benefit, because he’s never played it, and it’s freaking amazing.
Nerf Darts
Erin knows that I use these, and also lose these. So she got me more! How thoughtful!
The Rock
Erin also knows how much I love the part where Sean Connery goes, “Womac!” and so she got me this too. Although it’s kindof a bad idea, given that I already quote this movie a lot, and having the DVD can only make that worse…
The Science of His Dark Materials

I got all excited about my favorite book getting turned into a film (The Golden Compass), and so Lizz got me a book that talks about all the science behind it. It’s a neat book, but occasionally I get irritated at the audience they were forced to write for. EG: “This is an atom. It has a nucleus, and electrons.” […]
X-Files Guide/Trivia Book

This book, also courtesy of Lizz, covers the first three seasons of the X-Files with summaries, trivia, and quizzes! I’m gonna hone my mad x-skillz. And join the FBI and be all ‘Spooky’. Just you wait.
The Cryptogram Challenge
Apparently, Lizz thought I didn’t read enough. She also thought I was very smart and very bored, because she got me a book full of codes to crack. …Wow. I’ve only browsed it, but it seems hard. I haven’t had the guile to be insutled by one of the “easier” ones yet, but I’ll probably take a stab at it tomorrow while Kathryn and I are working Prairie Village on New Years Eve.
His Dark Materials Collection
The Esfelds must have unionized… becuase Lizz’s parents got me a book too. Granted, it was one I’ve already read, but I really like having the entire trilogy in one volume.
Sweater
Also from Lizz’s parentals: apparently I appear in need of warmth, because they got me a really nice… thing. I call them sweaters, but I was recently informed they are in fact “long sleeve t-shirts”. But this ones thicker and more sweater-like… so I’ve no clue. It is green and it keeps me warm.
Legos
Awwww yeah! Jedi Starfighter with Booster Ring, which is huge, and awesome. I’m trying to modify the other Jedi Starfighters I have so they can “use” the Booster Ring as well. More on that later. Also: Lizz’s mom had an old set of Legos from when they were Episode I themed lying around. It had two battle droids in it in colors I’ve never seen before, which was cool.
T-Shirts
They are both Achewood-themed! One features Roast Beef on it, wearing headphones, with the phrase “What We Need More Of, Is SCIENCE” around his head. The other simply has the words “Philippe is standing on it”, which I’ll probably be explaining for the next ten years I wear that shirt.
Gift Cards
Got some of these. I can’t decide whether it’s better to burn these all at once, so they’re still in the slew of Christmas junk I got… OR is it better to keep them for a few months from now, and have it be one of those “finding five dollars in an old coat, which it just so happens can only be spent at amazon.com or barnes and noble” type things. Thoughts?

Did I get too much stuff? Probably. I don’t really care. I did a good job giving people good gifts, and I’ve been, in general, not a total jerk to everyone, so it’s not entirely unwarranted. Or so I tell myself. But yeah, great haul this year. A very special thanks goes out to all those who made it possible.

Next order of business, is the yearly compilation of all the songs I used for title entries! They’re now conveniently all located in one place, so if you’re looking for a specific one, you can browse just the music!

Speaking of music, I listened to a lot of it this year. Like… a ton. Probably more than I ever have. That’s due largely in part to Ian for supplying a good chunk of it, but I worked pretty hard at finding new stuff myself. Thus, I present to you my Top 5 Albums of 2007, complete with full audio clips of selected tracks from my favorite albums of the past year!

I mentioned that I was putting that together to Ian, and he also sent in his Top Albums of 2007 (though currently without audio for the moment), which is just as good of a list as my own, with some interesting overlap!

A final thing to recount: Tonight I did reindeer-surgery. Wire-frame-holiday-lighting-plastered-reindeer-surgery. One had a strand out, and my mom was so sad about it, so I told her I’d fix it. Because I know science, and I can fix things. So I tramped outside and started to take a look at it. After about… maybe 5 minutes, I began to get grumpy that I was out in the snow, the dark, and the lack of gloves, trying to fix something which was broken for an unknown reason.

So I pulled off the head (the only part with a non-working string of lights) and brought it inside. My mom made a pretty good face when she saw what I’d done, but it was easily reattached once I fixed the strand. We even put some red electrical tape over the nose, so it would look like Rudolf… something Lizz had been giving me trouble about ever since she saw we had those reindeer.

So that was that.
All was well in our front year’s lighting arrangement once more.

And so another year ends. No party at my place this year, which is kinda sad. Things are just all kinds of crazy with people though, and there are other parties that were organized far earlier than mine would have been, so it’s not like people will go party-less. I promise here and now that I’ll have my act together next year, and I’ll make it epic. So epic that I might have to call it the Most Epic New Year’s Party Ever. At my house at least.

In any case, I won’t see hardly any of you for the holiday, so do be careful while you’re undoubtedly enjoying yourselves.

It’s been a good year for blogging, and I’m excited to keep you posted on the next one!

[This final entry title/song is probably the best song on my favorite album of the year, plus it has some bearing on the holiday, so enjoy!]

Piano Bar I

Posted in Maintenance on December 16th, 2007 by Tom

Man.

MAN.

MAN

I am such an IDIOT.

Just spent the past two hours busting ass to try and hack back into my WordPress account because I thought my administrative account had been deleted. However, after a lot of sleuthing in the SLQ Database, I found this was not the case.

I had just forgotten my username.

*sigh*

I really do amaze myself sometimes… I really do.

I also hope that something like this never actually happens. Restoring the SLQ Database is something that I don’t think would’ve been hard… just scary. The type of thing where there’s 4 steps, but deviating in any way from any of those steps means I am up a creek, sans blog.

Eh. I’m back for Christmas now. It was a fun drive up.
Actually, the night before, I typed a whole blog, but didn’t post it. I was really, really lucid, so it might not find its way to the main page. I dunno.

We’ll see.

The reason I was needing to get in and get some blog-work done was I have something kinda special planned for the end of the year. Nothing that cool, but something. So yeah. That should be up and working soon.

My Iron Lung

Posted in Evangelion, Music, School on December 6th, 2007 by Tom

Things I dislike:

  1. Burning the HELL out of the roof of my mouth… on poorly-warmed Pizza Rolls
  2. PIZZA ROLLS. They’re disgusting, and impossible to properly warm.
  3. Pre-Finals stress inevitably morphing into Actual-Finals stress
  4. Everyone taking up all the computer labs because they put their work off ’til the last week of class
  5. Not getting a computer because I put off some work until the last week of class…

It’s been a rough week. And it is only Wednesday Thursday.

On Monday I was just poking around the internet, reading some stuff about Radiohead, and I stumbled across this:

It is the music video for the single “Pyramid Song” off of “AMNESIAC”.
I really like the way they did this, despite it being the exact opposite imagery that I had in my head when I listened to that song on my own (fire, river Styx, hella explosions everywhere but totally muted ’cause they’re so far away… that kinda thing). Watch it, it’s neat.

Speaking of neat things, did you know there is a Watered-Down-Wikipedia? It is called the “Simple English Wikipedia,” and it seems to be written for kids and people who don’t speak a lot of English. My initial reaction was “How incredibly dumb. What use does that have?” Well, the English one does squat for me when I can understand full and well the fully-fledged one. However, I had the idea to check the German one.

Which I understand almost.
Which made me shut up and realize the value that it has.

So I’ve been poking around on that, trying to hone my language skills auf Deutsch. It’s been kinda fun. I suggest you check out your language of choice and give it a spin. Es ist spass.

Most of the remainder of this deals with Evangelion comments I have.

<evangelion>

I kinda forgot about EVA for a few months there. Which is cool, because nothing’s really been happening. However, I got to wondering about it today and decided to check up on it. As near as I can tell, there is no good cut of the small preview for Rebuild 2.0. The best I’ve seen are fans who’ve seen it, and approximate what they saw with old footage from the series and stills from released production work for the new stuff.

Below is a set I dug up from some blog, and I wanted to offer some comments or speculation.

The top two frames deal, I believe, directly with Unit 05. This is one of the promised “New Mechs” we’ve heard were coming. So far, it’s been described as “provisional”. I have no clue how to interpret that. Did they just scrap it together after Unit 04 is lost and Unit 03 is destroyed by Ikari? I don’t know. Hopefully we’ll get a little more to go on than that. And the question also remains: who’s piloting it? I’ve also seen it identified as 06 in some YouTube trailers, but the description I read stated that it was the one with “extended arms”, which fits that picture pretty well.

According to what I’ve found, the other Eva and it’s pilot come from the Moon. Which is pretty wild. To give some context, apparently 1.0 ends with SELEE meeting with Kaworu on their lunar base. I wasn’t aware they even had one, but I’ll roll with it. It will certainly change the dynamic in episode 22 where Rei throws the Lance into orbit to kill Arael. It eventually lands on the Moon, which really angered SELEE in the series because they had no way of retrieving it. Maybe this will be a non-issue now that they have a base up there…

In any case. To the focus: Eva 06 (I believe pictured in the third row, left) and it’s pilot (bottom row) will come from the Moon (pictured with blood all over… which is curious, but not all that surprising, given Eva…) and land on the Earth (depicted as a cross-shaped explosion). How or why they were up there in the first place still remains to be seen.

However, I’m for it. They had to tred very carefully in making this so as to not disturb many of the original elements. (It’s interesting how well some things match up though. In the aforementioned episode 22, Hyuga mentions that the parts for partially-constructed Units 05 and 06, the ones which feature in this new segment, were scrapped to repair Units 00 and 02. Huh. I guess NERV is less thrifty in this new version) But I’m a huge fan of the lunar base. EVA in space sounds pretty rockin’ to me.

Oh! I almost forgot. The little blob-dudes are “ADAM” according to the trailer. More than one of him? I don’t know… this is all pretty crazy. Good of them to expand on Adam/Lilith though. That part always was a bit sketchy, despite numerous iterations in media and fan-formed-theories to explain them.

If you can’t tell, I’m already getting WAY excited about this, despite probably having to wait another few years before it makes its way over to the United States. It will eventually though, and it’s fun to follow this from its formative stages.

I think that’s it.

</evangelion>

So, not much else for today. I need to get some sleep, because tomorrow is the grand finale of Demo Thursdays for Sami’s class!

P.S.: How about that thrashout at the end of My Iron Lung? I like the first half of the song a lot better, but I feel like the second half getting all crazy is a nice counterpoint to offset the calm of the opening. Just a thought.