Friday, December 24, 2004

Christmas of 2004

I usually prefer my holidays to be times of rest. Times to be free from work and stress, to indulge in things I like to do. I've just realized that Christmas is a rather stressful season.

For one thing, there's the multitude of Christmas gatherings one has to attend. With family. With relatives. With friends. With friends of family. With coworkers. With coworkers who are friends. It's not that I don't enjoy myself at these gatherings mind you. In fact, lately I've found myself enjoying the company of other people more. It's just that I'm not yet an entirely social person, and too many social gatherings too soon somewhat stretches the limits of my comfort zone.

Christmas is stressful. Everyone is busy, busy, busy. Going from place to place apparently, as the traffic has been horrible lately, with jams stretching well into the early morning.

Speaking of early morning, I left work close to midnight last night. We've been in crunch mode for the past two weeks or so, what with multiple deadlines coming up in January. Not that I can't handle of course. But it doesn't help that every other developer in one of my projects is going to be on vacation next week. Since I've had to run on pure genius these past few days, and as side effect, I was often more loud, sarcastic and smarmy than usual. To anyone who was annoyed by this, I apologize.

And the highlight of my last day of work before Christmas? Sometime before dinner I wrote a love letter and sent it by email to her. Nothing much, just telling her some things I wanted her to know, and greeting her for the holidays and stuff. I wasn't expecting anything back, but I guess I got lucky. A few minutes before I left the office, I got a jabber message from her. To paraphrase:

her: boo!

her: thanks for the lovely letter :)
me: I'm glad you liked it. my christmas is complete :)


There was more of course, a small exchange of pleasantries and even more holiday greetings. But I got that warm, fuzzy feeling again. Maybe Christmas this year wasn't so bad after all. =)

Happy Holidays!

Excel problem

The Christmas season has been hellacious. Deadlines to catch up with at the start of the next year meant crunch time for most of the past two weeks. So, for my first blog post on my first rest day in a while, I'll bring home some work.

I have a problem with Excel. I'm writing a web app that generates HTML files which are exported to Excel. In most cases, it's easy, I just follow the template generated by using Excel->File->Save As->HTML

However, I've encountered a problem. One of my reports needs to show two tables side-by-side in Excel, but I have to generate the rows for each table independently (i.e. from separate SQL queries). My first thought was to use tables-within-a-table in the HTML source, but it seems that Excel loses the column widths (i.e., the column widths change from what I've set them to before) when I try to create a new table inside one of the existing s

I need to preserve the widths of the columns outside the inner table. Any idea how this can be done? Or maybe someone can point me to online resources that might help?

Unfortunately, this has been sort of a low-pri task for me, so I haven't had much time to check it out; but the deadline is creeping up on me fast. I've posted on some forums and asked around, but no positive responses so far. Any assistance is appreciated.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Mighty Forest Ranger Taxi Driver

Evil illegal loggers have been in the news lately, mainly due to their being blamed as scapegoats for the rash of flooding during the last two typhoons that left hundreds, maybe thousands, dead in their wake and strewing devastation upon this blighted land. I'm not here to talk about whether the loggers are indeed to blame, or how it's silly for the government to try to implement a total log ban when they can't even implement a selective log ban, or how chances are everyone important will forget about this in, say a month tops, while the victims continue their struggle to recover even a fraction of their once-normal lives. No, these topics have already been covered to death in serious newspaper editorials and columns. And possible internet discussions in Pinoy-bloggerland, I don't know, I'm not particularly familiar with that scene.

No, as always, I prefer to attack this from a more personal angle. And like some of my more interesting stories, this one is about a taxi driver.

He was a bit old, and his first few attempts at conversation were annoying at best. Later, toward the end of the trip, we glimpsed one of the day's headlines on some tabloid. Something about the government wanting to implement a total log ban. He goes on to say that's an impossible thing, they'd never be able to implement it.

Turns out he worked for the Department of Environment and Natural Resources for some fifteen-odd years. As a forest ranger. Wow.

Now of course, as someone who indulges often in the fantasy genre, my idea of 'Forest Rangers' is closely associated either Aragorn from Lord of the Rings, or someone who likes to stop bears from stealing picnic baskets. This guy leaned more towards the latter.

Based on his stories, it seems like the news articles detailing the lack of manpower at the DENR are accurate. He says forest rangers were often assigned to guard or patrol some forty hectares of land. Or maybe it was four hectares, I forget -- I had this conversation more than three days ago. In any case, I have no idea how large a hectare is anyway. But from his narratives it seemed like the area assigned to them was far too much for one man to cover. Add to that the fact that he and his co-rangers were often harassed by Communist rebels that are supposedly in bed with the illegal loggers, and life was really difficult for them back then. It was a much easier life to just while away your day slacking or goofing off, rather than risk your own life to try to catch some illegal loggers who would probably get off the hook easily anyway.

He told about treestampers. Or something like that. Basically, people whose job it is to mark trees to indicate which ones are okay for cutting by which company. Or something. Forgive me; I'm really hazy on the details, maybe because I'm sleepy. Anyway, apparently a lot of these treestampers have lifestyles far beyond their income. When the bribe money comes in, it's a race to mark trees, with no regard for the tree's age or species or location or whatnot.

I'm not sure what I have to say about this, I just thought the hearsay I got from him would be interesting to relate. I'm not exactly a radical environmentalist. As a friend of mine once said, "Trees? What have they ever done for me?" I'm a city dude, born and bred, so I seldom worry about such things, it's not really part of my thinking. And I don't really think I can judge people who live on a small government subsidy and have to do what they can to get a decent living. Hey, we're all just out to make some scratch, right? Except that the living some of these guys make may have cost countless lives and destruction of property. Sadly, I think this is just part of the general malaise that plagues our society. Resources are scarce, so the less fortunate among us are forged to scrounge around for whatever we can, the law and the environment be damned. Of course, it doesn't help that the rest of the country only gives a damn shortly after a tragedy happens. Will we ever learn?

Friday, December 10, 2004

I Get Bored Easily

And that explains why this blog's layout has changed again.

I would have posted this (and some other stuff) earlier, but I was in AN ETERNITY OF PAIN for the past two and a half hours. I would like to take this time to berate my stupid, stupid impacted molar, and the stupid, stupid painkillers that took over two hours to kick in. Along with my stupid, stupid thyroid gland, which, because of hyperthyroidism, prevents me from having dental surgery on this sucker.

I will also thank God profusely for releasing me from this ETERNITY OF PAIN. It's times like these I am glad I believe in a deity from whom I can request deliverance.

Did I mention how painful it was? All the way to my left ear, damnit.

Monday, December 06, 2004

Team Sealed!



Mike: I thought you were broke?
Me: That's just a lie I tell people who ask me for money.



I forgot to talk about this. We played Champions of Kamigawa Team Sealed a couple of weekends back. For the uninitiated, ChK is a Magic:the Gathering set, and Team Sealed is our favorite limited format! I think it's mostly because if we lose, I can blame my teammates for screwing up, unlike in regular tournaments where it really is my fault. :p And if we win? Free cards!

Of course, we didn't win. I'd like to say it was primarily because of a bad set of cards we got (I think we were the only team that didn't get a Honden or two...), but we really made a lot of mistakes. Of well, it was a learning experience. An expensive one.

A New Dawn May Rise

A new hand has been dealt, the game has changed but the stakes remain the same. Fate tempts me with its' winds of change, and what once was thought lost forever may once again be within reach. This time I tread carefully however, as my recklessness may once again be the bane of my quest. Hold my hands close to my chest, bide my time, and see what the fates have in store for our hero...

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Requiem

Sir Alexander Alix, quintessential Pisay trigo and calculus teacher, passed away recently due to cirrhosis of the liver. There's a service for him at Pisay tomorrow, Dec. 3, Friday. Since I doubt I can go, I'll say my piece here.

Alix was a helluva guy. Friendly and gets well with the students. And he gave high grades. Seriously. He gave me flat 1.0s (highest possible grade) for all four quarters of fourth year math. Now, not to brag, when I was in high school, math was my thing. Seriously, I could breeze through my high school math classes in my sleep. And few of my batch mates will contradict me when I say I was one of the best, if not the best in math in our batch. (That last part is debatable, some people might contest it. :p) The point of this is not me bragging, since I do that often, it's nothing special. No, the point is that I seldom took math period seriously. I often spent math class doodling something in my notebooks, at least on those occasions that I had a pen.

On one such math class, Alix caught me and a classmate (you know who you are...) passing around a hand-drawn comic strip in class. (During my high school days, I often spent my free energy drawing such small strips about classroom happenings, particularly in the second year. Alas, none of the aforementioned high-school artworks have survived. But I digress.) I got a severe tongue-lashing for that one, something along the lines of "No matter how good you are at math, you can't just goof off in class." I felt quite bad about the incident, not only because I got to eat some humble pie in front of the class, but mostly because I felt like I had disappointed the guy. It's not that I don't goof off in other classes, I certainly do; but I felt that Alix expected more of me, since for some reason he believed me to be a good student. I didn't have the nerve to respond or apologize to him about this, I just took my tongue-lashing in silence. I wish I had told him I was sorry. I realize this is such a small, trivial matter, but God knows I like to obsess over small, trivial matters.

In any case, cheers to you sir Alix, wherever you may be. I don't spend much time with the other alumni, but over the past few days, I've seen the news of your passing spread through the online Pisay alumni community quickly, and many are planning to be there Friday. Rest well, sir Alix, and know that your students look back at you fondly.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

The Waste Lands - Found

I went to the dentist yesterday (irrelevant), and at National Bookstore Shangri-la, I found a copy of The Waste Lands, a day after I blogged about looking for it! They also had a copy of the fourth book Wizard and Glass, but I only had enough cash for one.

On a website note, if you'll notice, I added entries from my del.icio.us account to the blog. It's done using the excellent Feed2JS tool. It's cool. Check it out.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

I Like To Read

Really. I'll read most anything. Books, comics, magazines, newspapers, leaflets, articles, essays. Well, anything well-written at least. When I first got access to the Internet, I was overjoyed. "Wow! Lots of stuff to read!" And I read a lot online. I started mostly with anime fanfiction, but pretty soon I enjoyed reading discussions on mailing-lists, message boards, news sites, etc. The internet is a treasure trove for one who always strives for information. But I digress, this post is not about the wondrous internet.

It's about the fact that I like to read. In particular, I like to read books. In fact, I thought about posting something like this because I was looking for a particular book. Specifically, the Wastelands, third book of Stephen King's Dark Tower series. And I don't want just any copy, I want a copy in the same series as the first two books I already have. I've looked through several National Bookstore branches already, but have yet to find one. I know they used to have a copy at the SM North Edsa branch, since that's where I bought the second book Drawing of the Three. However, I can't find it there; it seems that branch is under renovation, maybe I'm just too confused at the change in layout. The salespeople don't seem to be much help either. "Stephen King? Try the horror section." That would be great except Dark Tower is not a horror series!

But I digress again. Back to the topic. I like to read. I like to read books. The internet sort of changed that. After I first got internet access, I seldom read books for a period of time, meaning most of my college years. In fact, I think the only series of books I was able to follow during my college years was Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series. (Short review? Started out okay, then got silly, then got annoying. Serious milking cow.)

After I started working, I had a source of income. (Wow, what a deep and non-obvious statement!) Given this, I was able to start reading again, not only by borrowing from friends (Hi Dave, Mike!), but this time I was able to buy the occasional book myself. So I've been trying to catch up. Sadly, I think the years of reading lots of stuff online has tarnished my reading skills. I still read far, far quicker than most people, but it takes me ages to finish a single book. nowadays. I'm currently reading Neil Gaiman's American Gods; I started about a week agao, but I'm not even a fifth of the way in! It's not that it's a bad book, it's okay, in Gaiman's usual way, but I think it's because there are a lot more distractions in my life nowadays (work, love or lack of it, video games, blogging); When I was young I was able to read a lot because whenever I had free time I would curl up with a good book. These days however, I find that whatever free time I have, I prefer to spend it in quiet muni-muni instead of having to use my brainpower to go through a potentially difficult book (thanks, Cryptonomicon!)

I also want to read more non-fiction, autobiographies and stuff. But I find that such books are usually more expensive than normal paperback novels, and I don't know who I can borrow such from.

Anyway, what's the point of this post? I like to read. And I want to read more. That is all.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Radiohead, Copyright and Popular Music

Interesting story about a guy who had to shell out 350 dollars to quote Radiohead lyrics in his book. Even though he was able to quote from many other bands, books, and even a separate Radiohead album for free. Even he had personally met the band before, and had freely let them quote his own works in their concerts. Gives a good idea of how fucked-up the worldwide copyright system is. And reminds me why I prefer to just ignore the whole corporate copyright system. (Never mind that it's quite convenient to do so.)

(On that note, I wonder if local band Parokya ni Edgar had to cough up for their parody of Radiohead's "Creep" (I forget what the actual Parokya track title was.)

Apparently, even posting song lyrics online is illegal, btw. Or at least according to copyright lawyers. I'd think that the band Radiohead itself wouldn't mind these things which supposedly infringe on their copyrights, but of course, the corporate structure which they play under would not stand for it. Maybe the world would be far better off if copyright protections were limited to individuals and not corporations? In the modern-day world of the internet, there's really no need for large recording companies any more, they are just large dinosaurs who refuse to admit the coming ice age.

Actually, now that I think about it, I have seldom actually paid for music before. When I was in HS, I sometimes (rarely) bought cassettes. As for CDs (audio CDs I mean), I have never bought any audio CDs, pirated or otherwise. Most of the time, I would indulge myself by listening to FM radio or music videos. The downside of this, of course, was that my musical selection was limited to what the big recording companies deemed important enough to promote.

These days, with MP3s, my selection is a lot more varied, since I get to pick and sample more music via P2P downloading. I don't even listen to radio anymore, at least not intentionally. I pick up new songs by hearing about them from friends or over the internet. Whenever I'm listening to a new band, I never know if they're popular or not. I recently started to enjoy Dashboard Confessional; I liked Vindicated when I first heard the Spiderman 2 OST. I didn't need the confirmation of public radio (which came about two weeks after I got my hands on 3 full DC albums) to know I liked the song, and the band. My playlist these days is mostly populated by Dashboard Confessional, Matchbox Twenty, Gin Blossoms, Switchfoot, Rivermaya, Sponge Cola, Sugarfree, Bamboo, Maroon 5, Counting Crows, Better Than Ezra, Live, Coldplay, Lifehouse etc. Not exactly on the leading edge of popular music, but at least I picked up thse bands by myself without relying on recording companies jamming them down my throat.

This rambling post was brought to you by the letter N.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Web-Based Games

The evolution of the web as a gaming platform seems to be coming along lately. With games often serving as pioneers into new frontiers, I believe this is merely signifying the trend of software products transforming into services instead of commodities.

Anyway, what I mean to say is, I've been spending quite some time with web-based games lately. Mostly it's the fantastic and funny web-based parody RPG Kingdom of Loathing, which I've mentioned before. After a brief respite, I'm getting into this game again, having started dabbling with PvP, playing (or trying to play) the market, and going after the quests I haven't finished yet.

Another online game I found lately is the totally addictive time-waster gridlock, apparently a port of an existing puzzle game. It's moderately challenging; it took me two days (not continuously, of course) to finish the 40 levels.

And just to show how much free time people have on your hands, just now I found that someone has managed to create an entire Lemmings game written in JavaScript!

I think it's also great that all three of these games work well with Firefox, without me having to install any silly extensions. (I'm not particularly fond of slow-loading flash games...)

Monday, November 15, 2004

The Alchemist

The other day, while waiting to get a blood test at Clinica Manila, Megamall, I managed to finish about 2/3rds of Paolo Coellho's best-seller The Alchemist. I finished the last 1/3rd during a 15-minute bathroom break back home. It was a short book. Lots of people have raved about how good it is. What do I think? It's okay, but nothing overly special. Maybe I didn't get too much of it because it didn't have much new material for me. All of this - having your own "personal legend"; searching and/or fighting for it instead of deciding to accept and be content with you have; communicating with the "Soul of the World"; -- most of these things are not foreign concepts to me. I think the book would appeal most to those who are feeling a bit down or lost, and looking for something inspirational to give them a slight push and help them find their way. Or something. :D

One of the interesting things presented in the book is the concept of "beginner's luck". Basically the book says that the universe conspires to make your personal legend come true, because of this, when you're starting out on something, the universe will give you a small taste of success, so you're enticed to follow-up. I guess I've never heard of beginner's luck described this way before.

The book also talks about how most people will disregarding their personal dreams to settle for whatever contentment comes their way in life. Personally, I think I'm the sort to prefer to go out and learn new things, or strive to make things better than to just be satisfied doing the same thing day in and day out. In fact, that's one of the things I like about my current job: things often stay interesting. I'm almost always learning something new, or doing something different. The only times I don't like my job are when I have to do something similar repeatedly for some time period, that's when I entertain thoughts of quitting. (No real plans though, not anytime soon at least.)

One of officemates describes me as having a strong personality, and also as someone who wants to live an exciting life. The problem with that however, is that I'm also quite lazy. So, I'm easily bored and I'm also lazy. Quite a paradox...I like to experience new things, but I also like to spend a lot of time by myself mulling over different things (or sometimes the same thing over and over...)

Man, that was a random rambling post if I ever saw one. G'night.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Who Am I?

I am a man of many things, of many passions. I work as an engineer, remodelling space shuttles so that they don't crash and burn on reentry. I play the piano, the trombone and the harmonica. I am a columnist for an internationally acclaimed newspaper. I produce and direct award-winning movies. To relax, I write full-length novels, solve transcendental math problems and practice karate, taekwondo and aikido.

I save people from drowning, I protect children from danger, I patrol the streets for litterbugs and jaywalkers, I go to government offices and streamline their processes. I hunt down terrorists, I foil coup attempts, I dismantle nuclear weaponry. I feed the hungry and visit the sick. I write the software that hunts down viruses and protects the internet. I wage war against poverty and take down corrupt politicians. I am wanted in thirty-one states and outlawed in fifty countries.

I sew clothes for orphans, I bake cookies for prisoners of war, I read stories to the terminally ill. I have read the Bible, the Iliad, and the works of Shakespeare, all in one sitting. I have memorized the streets of New York, Madrid, Egypt, Beijing and Manila. I served in covert operations in Vietnam and Desert Storm. I have set up research centers to determine the cure for cancer and the secret of immortality. I am never late, I do my taxes months ahead of schedule, I can recite Pi up to the 2000th digit. I never sleep, I cannot be surprised, I make the most of my time.

I stare death in the eye. I bungee jump, I skateboard off high cliffs, I eat Akane Tendo's cooking. I clean up oil spills, I round up lost dogs, I play Santa Claus on Christmas Eve. I have defeated the evil witch, rescued the princess and single-handedly defended the Earth from an alien invasion, armed with nothing more than a swiss knife and duct tape.

I am a conqueror, I have defeated armies and destroyed nations. I am a lover, I have wooed a hundred women. I am an artist, I have painted murals in every city and written songs in every language. I am a scientist, I have defied and disproven the laws of physics. I am an athlete, I have won twenty gold medals in the last three olympics. I am a spiritualist, I have uncovered the meaning of life yet chose to keep it hidden.

I am a man of myth and legend, tales of my exploits abound in the darker areas of the night. I am a man of the world, journeying to many places to seek out fame and fortune, protect the innocent and for great justice. I walk my own way, I seek my own truth, I determine my own fate. I stand tall and shake the heavens. When I move, the crowds give way to let me pass. When I speak, the world stops to listen. When I shout, the universe holds its breath.

I am nature's greatest miracle. I am the one foretold by legend, whose coming will be the beginning and the end. Prophets and sages speak my name in whispers, beasts of the jungle scatter when I approach, kings and presidents tremble in my presence, yet children come to me and adore me. I will incite war and destruction, and I will unite all nations under my wing. I am anger, I am fear, I am madness. I am light and shadow, I am order and chaos, I am life and death. I am judge, jury and executioner. I am your greatest dream. I am your worst nightmare. I am your finest hour. I am your darkest day. I am the one you seek, the one you wish to be, the one who decides your fate, I am Roy Tang.

(Written more than 3 years ago)

Friday, November 12, 2004

Tonight On The Net 20041112


  • Interesting read: There's this spouse of an EA developer who's taking it to EA's supposedly unfair labor practices on livejournal.
  • Cool thing: A chess program that shows you the computer's train of thought!
  • Interesting English Trivia - yes it's geeky :D
  • Tech news: Winamp is dead, long live Winamp! I actually like Winamp, especially version 5. There are quite a number of things I'd like to change with it, but it's a lot better than WMP. I wonder if there are any other, better (or at least promising) alternatives?
  • People who have too much time on their hands: 'King of Pirates' has downloaded more than 900,000 songs!

I've Been Busy...

...or maybe just distracted. After putting in some fifty hours over a four-day period last weekend, I thought I'd cool off for a few days, doing nothing but what needs to be done, and some surfing and sleep when I get home.

But I'm back! And I'm going to get my gaming groove on! I got a new copy of Star Ocean: Til The End of Time, hopefully this one's a good copy, I haven't tested it yet. I'll play it this long weekend (Monday = RP holiday, start of Ramadan); I will finish another PS2 RPG, I swear! Also, after years of trying I finally managed to get a working copy of Wizardry 7 again! Crusaders of the Dark Savant was the first RPG my brother and I ever played; we spent many sleepless nights crawling it's massive dungeons hoping our little fairy ninja would not get squashed! But we never finished it, for one reason or another, so this our chance to revenge! (Oh, and I finally got it working thanks to the help of a dude on the GameFAQs Message Boards, thanks random dude! The answer was to use DOSBox, a DOS emulator available from SourceForge)

Friday, November 05, 2004

Cryptonomicon

It's 1:30 in the morning, and I plan on being at work by 8AM, so I'll just throw out a quick book review before I buzz off to meet the sandman.

Neil Stephenson's Cryptonomicon is the only book I managed to finish out of the three I took with me to Bicol. And I actually started reading it about a month and a half earlier.

In a word, the book is wordy. Stephenson has a lot to say, and it takes him 1100+ pages to do it, whereas if I were writing this story (or weird amalgamation of stories, such as it is), I would probably do it in around half that amount.

There are two stories actually, not three as the book's back cover suggests. But those two stories actually start off in around fifty separate threads that start to come together only halfway through the book. This is one of the reasons why it took me a month and a half to get through the first half of the book; once the plot started to get going, everything went a bit faster.

Cryptonomicon is basically about a slick hacker-type dude named Randall Waterhouse, or Randy for short. While reading this book, whenever Randy's name is mentioned, I always visualize young Randy Orton, legend-killer and youngest ever WWE champion. This is the second reason why I was able to read the second half faster. Once I started to imagine it was Randy Orton, there was always the possibility of a book-ending RKO in the next page! Anyway, the first (and main) story arc is about young Randy's involvement in an ambitious startup setting up operations in Southeast Asia. Lots of stuff about finance, cryptography and politics finds its way into young Randy's story.

The secondary story arc is about World War II. Unlike the modern-day Randy storyline however, this one has more than one main player, so the WWII story is a lot more fragmented. The most important players are Lawrence Waterhouse (Randy's grandpa), who works for the Allies as a top-notch codebreaker, boasting such friends as the famous (to computer geeks at least) Alan Turing; Bobby Shaftoe, a US marine who seems to have accomplished more during the war than Douglas McArthur himself; and finally Goto Dengo, a Japanese miner whose role in the story is not readily apparent until the halfway mark. (A lot of things improve around the halfway mark.)

Now, here's the main problem with the novel. There are all these POVs, and it jumps around a lot, so there's a tendency to get confused, and every so often Stephenson pulls out a chapter that doesn't have anything to do with any of the earlier chapters, so you're like "Crap! Another subplot I have to keep track of!"

But I digress. And so does Stephenson. Not only do the POVs jump around between chapters, but each chapter is liberally interspersed with a short discussion of the weather, Asian cultures, corruption at the NAIA, cryptography, mathematical analysis of horniness, military idiosyncrasies and a bajillion other topics; enterprising high school students looking for a term paper could simply copy one of the book's chapters, find-and-replace some names, and get at least a B. Normally it's okay, but there's simply a lot of stray tangents in this book, and not all of them I found interesting, and were simply glossed over. Not surprisingly, I liked the parts about cryptography.

I really hated this book at the start, as I found it a very hard read, but after I got past the halfway mark it got a lot easier. I guess my main problem with the start was I had no idea why all these random, seemingly unrelated subplots were coming out; I wasn't sure if there was a point and it was all going to come together later, or Stephenson just lets his mind wander. Luckily, it did all come together later, in a somewhat plausible way.

All-in-all, the book is okay, but I wouldn't recommend it to a non-geek, or to someone faint of heart.

Yes, that was a short review. :D

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

My Eyeglasses Belong To The Sea

In a fit of awe-inspiring common sense, I want swimming with my eyeglasses on. And, as expected when one makes such a gargantuan mistake, the Sea was aware of my folly. It sent its minions, one after another, to take my precious away from me. Again and again I bore their onslaught, as wave after wave came after me, yearning to knock me off my feet loosely planted upon the sandy earth some four and a half feet below water level. Finally, weary of the long battle, the Sea summons all its might. I did not see it coming, for my back was turned and I was celebrating my recent victories thinking the worst was over. I suddenly became aware of my 12-year-old adopted cousin looking behind me in abject horror. A gigantic wave had arisen out of nowhere, the only warning being the looming shadow that came at me from behind. I had no time to prepare for this savage assault, and the Mother of all Waves came upon me with all her might, finally knocking this proud yet weary warrior off his feet. I felt myself tumble underwater, my trunks almost torn off me in the fury of the crashing water. I reached out my arms in desperation, and my hands struck wet sand, letting me know in what direction to raise my head. When I finally surfaced again, my eyeglasses were gone, I had lost the battle. My eyeglasses belong to the Sea now.

Daet, Camarines Norte

As I've mentioned before, Daet is a small town. When I was there, I was mentally comparing it to the UP Diliman campus. Main reason being, we had a tendency to walk everywhere we went. Just like in UP, everything was literally within "walking distance" - the beach, the church, the cemetary, etc. So in my mind, the UP Diliman campus and Daet, Camarines Norte occupy roughly the same area, even though technically, one is a university campus and the other a full-sized town. (On a tangent, the transportation within Daet is strictly limited to tricycles only, which would imply it being logically smaller than UPD, which has jeepneys.)

So, anyway, there was a lot of walking going on. We walked everywhere. Ocassionally, I would get to walk with my father. My dad, he's basically a nice guy. It's always nice to see that while we're walking around town, he has to stop and chat with somebody in every other store. Daet has lots of these little stores, side-by-side in the residential areas: hardware stores, bakeries, general merchandise, etc. And my dad seems to know someone and has to exchange tales of how things have been going, hey-have-you-met-my-son-can-you-find-him-a-girlfriend, that sort of thing.

Now, maybe this sort of thing isn't that irregular, why do I bother talking about it? After all, my father grew up in this town, it's to be expected that he knows people all over the place, right? Not to me. I mean, growing up I knew a small part of Quezon City, but I was never that chummy with that many people. I guess it's just a small town thing that never fails to amaze me: Everybody seems to know everybody else.

Another thing about my dad that occasionally surprises me: he's a story-teller. Like I said, whenever he meets one of these everyday people-on-the-street types, he spends a few minutes chatting with them. Those few minutes are invariably filled with some short story (only occasionally mildly exaggerated) about how his sons have jobs now, how things were when he worked overseas, what happened to his long-lost cousins, etc. When I watch him talking like this to long-lost friends and the occasional relative-whose-name-I-should-probably remember, I am quite a bit envious. I want to be like that, I want to be able to spout out interesting anecdotes on demand, I want to be able to grab people's attentions with my words.

Unfortunately, unlike my dad, I don't have much life experience to speak about. I haven't been to that many places, haven't done that many interesting things. I guess I really need to get out more...

Sunday, October 31, 2004

Firefox in 98?

This internet shop is using Windows 98, apparently. And it looks like Firefox's icon doesn't show properly in 98?

Oh, and Yahoo has a new front page.

Posting From the Boondocks

Well, not really, seeing as how there aren't really any mountains anywhere near here. I'm in Daet, Camarines Norte, if that means anything to you. It's great to be back here -- apparently the last time I was here was in 1996.

Some things have changed, but mostly things are still the same. There's some sort of minimall now, and a Shakey's, and a Jollibee. :P And there's internet! I'm posting right now from a dingy internet cafe near my grandmother's house. The mouse is horrible, and I had to put up with using IE for a while. I got fed up quickly though, and just went ahead and downloaded and installed Firefox on two of their machines. Hehe, I'll leave them open when I leave, hopefully I can convert someone. :D

I'm actually here out of necessity - work necessity that is. I forgot to pass a couple of fspecs before I had to run for the bus yesterday, so I whipped up some quick specs here and sent em over to China. That's the beauty of the internet age, I guess. I can pick up my work whenever I want, and be working with people from 3 different countries while waking up late in some desolate corner of a third-world country. :D

I like it here in Daet, despite the lack of some modern conveniences. (The toilet here does not flush...I have to get a bucket of water and flush stuff myself.) Ironically, I was just lying around sleeping and reading the Cryptonomicon the whole morning. Ironic, because when I was a kid, I seem to recall that I didn't particularly like coming here, 'coz I'd be all bored out of my wits. This time though, I actually did come here to bum around. :D

Saturday, October 30, 2004

Getting Away From It All

I need to escape from this madness, this constant flow of unfinished tasks. I am leaving for the land of my ancestors, returning to my roots, seeking the tranquility that has eluded me these weeks past. For seven long years have I not ventured there, and yet now I find myself seeking its warm comforts. What will I find when I return to those shores? Will it be the same simple, quite town I once knew? Or has it changed and grown, to become a bustling metropolis? Will this short rest bring me answers, to the questions that plague my heart and mind?

(I'm going to Bicol for a few days. Cheers.)

Friday, October 29, 2004

GTA III for the NES?

http://www.grandtheftendo.com/ Nuff said.

Man...I want to do a project like that. :P

I Vow Revenge!

Okay, so I didn't perform very well at the recent company bowling tournament. It's quite embarassing, considering both my parents are pretty decent bowlers. Which is why, I vow revenge! This I declare, with my nice guy pose, I will practice, and I will win next year!

The embarassing thing is that by the last day my right hand was tired from all that ball-swinging. When I told my mom about it, I found out she actually used a ball one pound heavier than the one I was using! Okay, that does it. I vow revenge!

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Best Software Essays

Joel Spolsky, of Joel on Software, is collecting nominations for the best software related essays of 2004. A lot of them are interesting reads.

Reading these essays make me realize that, well, I like being a coder, a programmer and a developer. (These are different things, figure it out :D)

Monday, October 25, 2004

The 48 Laws of Power

1. Never Outshine the Master
2. Never Put Too Much Trust in Friends, Learn How to Use Enemies
3. Conceal Your Intentions
4. Always Say Less Than Necessary
5. So Much Depends On Reputation -- Guard It With Your Life
6. Court Attention At All Costs
7. Get Others To Do The Work For You, But Always Take The Credit
8. Make Other People Come To You -- Use Bait If Necessary
9. Win Through Your Actions, Never Through An Argument
10. Infection: Avoid the Unhappy and the Unlucky
11. Learn to Keep People Dependent on You
12. Use Selective Honesty and Generosity to Disarm Your Victim
13. When Asking for Help, Appeal to People's Self-Interest, Never Their Mercy or Gratitude
14. Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy
15. Crush Your Enemy Totally
16. Use Absence to Increase Respect and Honor
17. Keep Others in Suspended Terror: Cultivate an Air of Unpredictability
18. Do Not Build Fortresses to Protect Yourself -- Isolation is Dangerous
19. Know who you are Dealing With -- Do Not Offend the Wrong Person
20. Do Not Commit to Anyone
21. Play a Sucker to Catch a Sucker -- Seem Dumber Than Your Mark
22. Use the Surrender Tactic -- Turn Weakness Into Power
23. Concentrate Your Forces
24. Play the Perfect Courtier
25. Re-Create Yourself
26. Keep Your Hands Clean
27. Play on People's Need to Believe to Create a Cultlike Following
28. Enter Action with Boldness
29. Plan All the Way to the End
30. Make Your Accomplishments Seem Effortless
31. Control The Options: Get Others to Play With the Cards You Deal
32. Play to People's Fantasies
33. Discover Each Man's Thumbscrew
34. Be Royal In Your Own Fashion: Act Like a King and be Treated Like One
35. Master the Art of Timing
36. Disdain Things You Cannot Have: Ignoring Them is the Best Revenge
37. Create Compelling Spectacles
38. Think as You Like but Behave Like Others
39. Stir Up Waters to Catch Fish
40. Despise the Free Lunch
41. Avoid Stepping Into a Great Man's Shoes
42. Strike the Sheperd and the Sheep Will Scatter
43. Work on the Hearts and Minds of Others
44. Disarm and Infuriate with the Mirror Effect
45. Preach the Need for Change, But Never Reform too Much at Once
46. Never Appear too Perfect
47. Do Not Go Past the Mark You Aimed For; In Victory, Learn When to Stop
48. Assume Formlessness

From a book by a guy named Robert Greene. I sense an urge to get in touch with my Machiavellian side. :D

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Sinfest!

I was bored. And I was going through the Sinfest archives. But then I thought, why should I bother going through these comics manually over the net? I'm a programmer, I'll make a SinfestDownloader!

I've left it running for about 4 hours now. There's a lot of Sinfest strips...around 40MB worth have already been downloaded!

I wonder if this violates any sort of copyright? ...

Update: Done in a little over 4.5 hrs. Sinfest weighs in at a bit more than 1700 strips, and roughy 50MB of space. I wonder if I should try for Penny-Arcade? :P

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Firefox 1.0 on November 9

In case you haven't heard, Firefox, the little browser that could, is scheduled for the official 1.0 release on Nov. 9. There's a large promotion campaign going on over at SpreadFirefox.com, including a campaign to gather donations for a large ad of some sort on the New York Times. I'm still using 0.9, despite the availability of 1.0PR, but I'll surely get the official 1.0 come November 9. :D

BTW, there are some cool Firefox wallpapers available.

Friday, October 22, 2004

Energy Bliss

There's a new, official Windows XP Theme out. Supposedly meant for Tablet PCs, it works for regular desktops too. Cool.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Google Desktop

People have been raving about Google Desktop lately. I didn't like it. Aside from the obvious problem with multi-user computers, apparently there are some other issues. I wouldn't use it for my everyday, personal stuff, but I think it might be okay at work.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Bad Bowler!

First day of company bowling today. I got 101 and 87 in the two games. Bleah. The dinner was at Max's. The chicken was dry. I really don't like Max's. :(

So much for raw talent :P

Monday, October 18, 2004

Taxi Tales

Sometimes the best stories come from the strangest places.

Tonight, I was tired, I just wanted to get home quickly and unwind. So I took a taxi, just outside Megamall. The driver had to ask me where I was going, and luckily my choice of destination was favorable to him. Now, to be honest, I really hate taxi drivers who choose passengers based on where they're going. Not only is it illegal, it's annoying. So I didn't really like it when he turned out to be a chatty driver.

On our way down East Avenue, near the LTO offices, he told me how he had spent the whole day there yesterday to get his taximeter calibrated. Now, the government recently declared an increase in taxi fares, so taxis have been lined up in droves along East Avenue for days now.

For some reason, I found myself interested. He told me about how he was there since 5 in the AM, sleeping in his taxi (apprently a new one, or so he said) He told me about how the chairman (of what exactly, I'm not sure) didn't know anything about cars and had to call a senior citizen employee to help her sort it out. She didn't know much, he said, but she had guts. She stuck to it all day, stopping only to eat, making sure everything was in order, enduring the verbal abuse of the taxi drivers.

He said he was impressed with her, a diminutive woman in her late thirties, a bit attractive, apparently single. She hunched when she sat down, but when she walked, she stood tall - she knew how to carry herself. She was new to the office, he said, but she was eager to learn and she meant well.

He was a good storyteller, relishing the details of his story, I wish I could do it justice. I came away impressed, and not a bit ashamed. I was ready to dismiss him as another nobody, someone who couldn't learn anything in life but how to drive a car. But the way he spoke, the words he used, they spoke of a subtle intelligence, a stoic understanding of events around him.

I should chat with taxi drivers more often.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Unrequited

(Warning: sappy!)

Have you ever been in love with someone who can't love you back?

Unrequited love: one of the worst possible states a human being could ever hope to achieve.

It starts quite innocently. You start to notice this certain person. You find her sweet and friendly. You like the way she looks, the way she talks, the way she smiles. She's pretty cute, she's smart, and her smile is enough to melt your heart. You hang out with her every so often. You find something about her that turns you on. Pretty soon you find yourself thinking about her more than usual.

What is it about her that has your interest? You're not sure. You don't even know her that well. She's not the type of person you always thought you'd fall for. She's not a super-beautiful hot babe. She doesn't give any special indication that she's even remotely interested. But your heart doesn't give a damn, you love her anyway.

You start to worry about how you're feeling. You wonder whether you should try to get close. Or maybe you should be upfront and tell her how you feel. You agonize for weeks; all the words left unsaid, swimming around in your head, yearning for release. You want to be careful. But you want to shout your love from the rooftops.

It doesn't matter. In a moment of weakness, it comes out. Your first mistake. You tell her how you feel. Verbally, by SMS, by email, by chat, by hand-written note, it doesn't matter. It all starts coming out. Like a fool, you pour your heart out, believing that your love for her is enough; enough for her to give you a chance.

No such luck. She won't even consider it. She can only be your friend she says. You walk away, sad, shattered, dejected, not knowing what to do. It rips away your heart, the fact that you love her so much, you feel so strongly for her, yet she cannot return even a fraction of the intensity of your emotion. You feel so helpless, so powerless over this situation that means the world to you.

You ask yourself what went wrong. Did you say something stupid, did you do anything wrong, did you blow it? No, she says, there's nothing wrong with you, it's me. Bullshit, you say to yourself.

You try to keep on hanging out with her, to be her friend, as she says. But you can't . Every moment you spend with her is infinity of torture. You want to speak out, tell her how you feel, remind her that there's someone loving her. Seeing her is pure agony. In yet another moment of weakness, you make your second mistake. You tell her you still love her, you tell her you're still there.

She refuses to talk about it; she says she doesn't want to feel the guilt. Damnit! You blame yourself, asking why you always say the wrong things at the wrong time.

Soon, things become awkward between the two of you, and you drift apart. You see her everyday, but you barely talk. You still feel the same way, but you can't even comfortably spend time with her anymore.

You tell yourself that you should just try to be her friend. You bottle up your feelings, try to set them aside. They eat away at your heart, tear apart your soul. Running into her becomes a double-edged sword; you're glad to see the smile on her face, but you're saddened by the awkward silence that exists between you.

You start to question yourself. You start to ask God what you did to deserve this sort of pain. Are you really so unattractive, so unremarkable, that the girl of your dreams won't even consider you? Was it really too much to hope that this girl could at least look beyond your outer shell and try to get to know the real you?

You start to doubt the girl you fell in love with. Maybe she wasn't as nice as you once thought? Maybe she's an evil, heartless bitch? Maybe she's no more special than you are, maybe you've put her up on a pedestal, and maybe you'd just be disappointed if the reality did not match your expectations? Is she really worth all this pain?

You start to think about how you feel. Are you really in love with her? Or do you just want her because you can't have her? Are you in love with the real her, not just some made-up idea of her?

"This is madness!” you finally conclude. "There has to be more to life than this... Why should I waste so much of my time and energy pining over this woman, a woman who will probably never even consider me, a woman whom I'm not even sure why I'm attracted to?" You come to a decision. You will get rid of these feelings, these emotions; push them away to some dark corner of your soul and leave them to rot.

And you do it. It pains your heart to do so, but you start to avoid her. You don't talk to her unless you need to. Whenever you think of her, you throw yourself into your work, your hobbies, your friends, anything to rid your mind of her lingering presence. You do what it takes. You pull out that part of your heart that remembers her smile, and you bury it inside, deep inside, so that you may never feel those painful emotions again. You kill that part of your soul that knows how to love and how to live.

It is living pain and torture, but eventually you manage to do it. You manage to regain control of your mind, heart and soul. You're finally at peace. All is right with the world.

And then you see her again.

She greets you, talks to you, compliments you, smiles at you. And suddenly all your hard work fades away. Your world is no longer your own. You're falling in love, all over again.

You recognize it, and you accept it. You are able to survive, because somehow, through all those moments of pain, heartbreak and despair, a light shines through. Every so often, you manage to get some time to sit with her, talk to her, see her smile. And those moments, while very rare, are also very precious. Those moments are pure, unadulterated bliss, and you wish there was a way to make them last forever. They are no more than fleeting instants between oceans of pain, but somehow, those few moments are enough to make all of the loneliness worthwhile...

And the cruel, vicious cycle repeats itself...

Where Have I Been...

Well the week before was supposedly preparation for the JITSE (although I think a lot more time was spent on SF3...) And this week, there was a lot of overtime to be had (quite a bit of food too).

Oh, and I've been having medical problems apparently; After some days of experiencing dizziness, I had myself a check up (free! I now think company-sponsored health care is cool :D) at Clinica Manila in Megamall. After some blood tests and stuff, I found out some bad things:

  • I have too much uric acid in my system. Apparently I have to avoid beans, canned goods, wine, shellfish, etc. The weird thing is, I don't even eat most of this stuff! (Except maybe canned foods - I eat Spam regularly :D)

  • I'm suffering from hyperthyroidism. I'm not sure what it means, except that my thyroid is too eager to do it's job, so it's giving me some sort of fast metabolism or something. Apparently I should be experiencing dizziness (yes), palpitations (uh...no), shakiness of the hands (some), and possibly rapid weight loss (haha, not likely...)

  • My sinuses are clogged up. Now I have to take some nasal spray or something.

  • And some other stuff I don't want to talk about :D



Nothing too serious I guess, but I am seriously getting tired of waiting for doctors! Last Friday, I had to wait in the (cold, cold, cold) waiting corrider of Clinica Manila for more than two hours!!! Lost half-a-day's work time, I did. Luckily, (or unluckily, maybe) I had Neil Stephenson's Cryptonomicon handy. I only killed some 150+ pages in those two hours though, which says a lot about my opinion on his writing/pacing.

Last Monday, I also spent some 45 minutes in a big tube thingy, with some 5-minute periods of not being allowed to swallow (ye gods that was hard!)... it was a thyroid scan at the new Medical City on Ortigas Avenue. Nice place, very spiffy. Has a Starbucks.

About the JITSE, and Exams in general

Alright, so it's been a week since I took the JITSE, over at the Philippine Christian University in Manila. Like all other exams I take, I finished it unhumanly early. If I didn't have any kind of shame, I would have submiited the AM exam a whole hour-and-a-half early just so I could get some sleep before the PM part. (Some people noticed I was dozing off anyway :P)

I don't get the big deal though. For objective-type, multiple-choice exams, there's really no reason to linger over the questions. Read the question once or twice, and you realize that either (a) you already know the answer, (b) you will never know the answer or (c) you think you know the answer, but you'll need time to remember it. For most questions, it should be either (a) or (b), because you should be aware of the scope of what you have studied. For (c), well, I guess I'm unique here, because instead of taking time to actually think about what the right answer would be, I just go with my gut and pick a likely answer! (I said I was fast, not accurate :P)

Oh, and the JITSE itself? A tip to anyone who might want to take it: Don't bother with those five thick reviewer books they give you. Just go through a couple of years worth of sample exams and you'll be fine.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

An Open Letter to the Entertainment Industry

Dear Content Producers and Owners:

We lied to you. In the golden 80s and 90s we told you micropayments and content protection would work; that you would be able to charge minuscule amounts of money whenever someone listened to your music or watched your movie. We told you untruths which we well knew would never work - after all, we would've never used them ourselves. Instead, we wrote things like Kazaa and Gnutella, and all other evil P2P applications to get the stuff free.

Read the full original entry.

Found via boingboing

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Friday, September 17, 2004

Something random found today: Some guy's gallery of comic-book (and other genre) characters as lego people

And, for those three people who haven't seen this before: The Fight Crime!

The guy who made the above javascript thingy (website: black-ink.org) had a link to some sort of online 'zine about comics. I don't follow comics much anymore, but apparently, Peter David is writing something X-Factor again. And according to a friend of mine, he's also writing Hulk again! Now if only I had the money and patience to start collecting comics again...



Sunday, September 12, 2004

Celsius Desktop

This is one of my favorite desktop wallpapers, I've used it several times, I always like bringing it back:



However, I always forget where I got it from. It's from RPGamer's Theme Central




Things To Do

In order of priority:

  • Study for the JITSE - I'm terrible at this. Frankly, it's quite boring to study, and it reminds me why I'm not taking any post-graduate studies. By all accounts, I'll probably be cramming those last few days before the exam, as usual. It doesn't help that some of my coworkers convinced me to tag along for a trip to Fontana 7 days before the exam proper. I may have to rely on SHEER GENIUS again.

  • Study PHP, build a new website - I've been making websites for years now, but now I want to try my hand at starting and maintaining a dynamic data-driven website. I'd use JSP (since that's what I'm familar with from work), but it seems that PHP is the popular thing on web hosts, so I'll just spend some time to learn it. (Just keep on learning, heh)

  • Master Street Fighter III: Third Strike - well, not quite master, since I don't think I'll ever be able to master 360s/720s, but at least to know the game as well as I knew SFA3 and CVS2. I think it's an important indication of my priorities in life that a video game ranks third, next to learning. :P

  • Get Cheese fixed - Cheese is, of course, the other computer, that's been busted for months now. "System failed memory check", apparently. I know, I should just buy some new RAM and try it out, but I've burnt so much money replacing parts for that PC that I'm uber-cautious; I want to be sure what's wrong with it before doing anything. I need to find some free time to take the thing to a shop.

  • Buy a cellphone - Apparently, I am now the last Filipino to not have a cellphone; the main problem is that I want a phone that I won't be bored with in a few days, so I'll probably need a smartphone of some sort, but that conflicts with the other problem: I'm hella cheap.

  • Catch up on Reading - currently: Cryptonomicon. Enqueued: The Alchemist, American Gods. I have a feeling I won't be doing much reading 'til after the JITSE though.



Hmm...that's it for now.

Sunday, September 05, 2004

Liberated Games

Note to self: Don't forget to check out the games at Liberated Games sometime in the future. They host commercial games which have been released for free to the public...some with source code. I mean, c'mon, they apparently have the source code for Star Control 2! (I say apparently because their download page seems to have a problem right now, hence I will get back to it later.)

Sunday, August 29, 2004

Internet Scrabble!

For some reason, I keep looking for things to do online. (I guess I really want to distract myself...I really should be studying for the JITSE though.)

Saturday, August 28, 2004

The Dictatorship of Stone-Cold Bison

I've known about nationstates.net for a while, but only recently decided to give it a try. (Mostly because I got bored while waiting for my Kingdom of Loathing turns to regenerate.)

Life-Changing Events

"Life-changing events"...one would think I'm about to speak of something like a natural disaster, getting married or quitting my job, something that would create a profound change in my life.

No, I'm going to talk about something a bit less dramatic, but it has had a profound effect on me nonetheless. I don't talk about these things that often, but hey, what use is a blog if you can't use it as an outlet, right?

I'm in love. Yup, I am. Whereas I previously considered myself as someone strong enough to be emotionally independent from other people, I find myself now thinking about a certain person constantly, worried about how she is, having my mood depend on how she interacts with me, and generally acting quite nervously around her. I won't mention her name, but I will say I've known her for a bit of time now, and it took me a while to reconcile the desires of my heart and the objections of my mind; but today I am sure: I love her.

This sort of thing is really not my style, I normally don't like to speak of romantic ideals or anything, so I'll cut to the chase. She knows, I told her. And her response? Well, it was less than what I wanted, but more than I expected. In her own words: "I'm not closing any doors on you, but I'm not leaving any windows open either." She wants us to be friends, she doesn't want me to court her, she says if she feels something for me somewhere along the way, then that's it; if not, then too bad.

Now, I'm generally stupid about this sort of thing myself, so to be honest, I have no idea how to proceed. I want to pursue something with her, but for now, I really have no choice but to settle for building a friendship and hope that fate gives me a chance some day. (It seems I have a tendency to rely on fate for such things...)

I guess the main reason I'm blogging this is that I realize it's brought about a change in my life...and I want to remember it. I want to remember that this is the time I changed, and that she was the reason why.

How did I change? For one thing, I seem to have gotten back a whole lot friendlier, and also a whole lot moodier. She brought out my gloomy side again - the side of me that's logical and analytical. He seldom needs to come out because I can usually rely on my normal self to handle things. But this whole issue with her -- I have no idea how to handle it, so gloomy side comes out. Except he has no idea what to do either. It isn't exactly a problem well-suited to logical analysis, and it frustrates me so much that something I feel so strongly about could be so out of my control.

Two things have happened as a result of this, basically: one, I'm more open to people now; and two, I spent some time thinking about love and life, and my life in general, where I want to go and what I want to do. I think I learned a lot about myself; maybe I'll write about it one of these days.

For now, I just want to remember that she is the reason I'm feeling this way...

August's End

It's been a while, I got a lot to say, some personal things, some random stuff from the internet. Let's start with the easy stuff, random linkage:

  • First up, the Kingdom of Loathing, it's an online Stickman RPG! It's MMO (well, not really massive), it's wacky, and you can be a pastamancer! It currently amuses me...and I hate waiting to get more turns! My account there is "hungry roy"

  • It's Quentin Tarantino's diary! Or is it? You be the judge!

  • I was bored, and wanted something to happen with this blog, so I decided to submit it to Rice Bowl Journals...it's some sort of community for webloggers of Asian descent. I'm of Asian descent, right?

  • I have some gmail invites. Ask me for one if you're interested, even if I don't know you, for some reason (maybe I'll talk about it in the next post, even), I feel like making friends. (Where to ask? Try the comments.)

Sunday, August 01, 2004

New Hardware

Spent some cash this weekend. First thing was a 256 Mb Kingston flash drive. Nothing too complicated, just something to transfer MP3s to and from work with. =)

Next up was a digital camera. A Kodak CX6330 to be exact. We had been planning to buy one for a while. Pics? Not now. Funny story though. There was this promo where we could get a P5000 discount (less than US$100) if we could show a receipt for P200 worth of Pampers (a local brand of baby diapers)...so I had to explain to people why in the world I was carrying around some diapers...

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

The Metamorphosis of Prime Intellect

Found this on kuro5hin: it's a fairly well-written science fiction piece. Link

Saturday, July 17, 2004

Current Events: RP troops to withdraw from Iraq

RP troop pullout not cowardice, at least not according to Malacanang. The whole world knows by now that the Philippine government has capitulated (or intends to, at least) to the demands of terrorists kidnappers holding Filipino truck driver Angelo dela Cruz hostage.

Even Jay Leno took his shots at our country, with the following quote from opening monologue of Wednesday night, July 14, 2004:

For the 2nd time in the past few days, a new world record has been set in the 100 meter dash. It was set by Filipino troops fleeing Iraq.
Even more embarassing, I would think, was the overreaction of local leftist/militant groups, demanding an apology from Leno, accusing him of being a "swashbuckling apologist" for George W. Bush.
Nevermind the fact that Leno, Letterman, O'Brien and other late night talk show hosts continually rail on Dubya and their other 'respectable' politicians whenever they find an opportunity to do so; these guys don't even apologize to George W. Bush, the supposed "most powerful man in the world"; why would they even consider apologizing to a bunch of whiners who don't even realize the irony of what they're saying?

And you know what? It is cowardice. It's spineless and shameful. Our government once again shows how weak it is by turning tail at the first sign of trouble. Whatever ridicule we get from international media, whatever spite we get from our "allies", I can't deny we deserve it.

Don't get me wrong; of course I wish Angelo dela Cruz gets out of this mess safely, I wish him no harm. But it isn't a simple open-and-shut case of trading our troop positions for the life of one man. By giving in, we surrender our principles, we say to the world: Just abduct a Filipino and you have an entire nation at your command! This is my beef, my gripe, I don't really care about the politics of the situation, whether RP is being a US lapdog or whatnot; All I know is that it's suddenly becomes very profitable for terrorists to kidnap Filipinos.

No matter what "War on Terrorism" rhetoric you spout, or whether you are against "US imperialism" or not, it should be obvious that terrorism threatens our way of life. You may think that it's not a big deal; our troop commitments in Iraq are pratically insignificant anyway, it's a small price to pay; But what if the next time fanatics decide to abduct a Filipino, they demand more than just a troop pullout? What if they demand that we trade one life for another? What if they demand the complete surrender to the Muslim separatists? Would we give in then? To save the life of one man?

Granted, having to weigh the life of one man against the interests of a nation is a terrible burden to bear, a decision I would not want to take upon myself, so I can understand why the government chooses to capitualte. I can only hope that if, God forbid, I am ever placed in a similar situation where an entire nation would have to throw away principles just to save my life, I would be willing to defiantly announce that I should be sacrificed for the greater good. I'm not judging Angelo dela Cruz; I don't know much about the man aside from the fact that he's a truck driver in Iraq and that he'll likely receive a heroes' welcome for simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

This is a terrible blow to us as a nation, as a people. And Angelo dela Cruz, should his life be saved, had damn better well live a good and fruitful life, because we have a paid a high price for it.



Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Games: Bethesda to Make Fallout 3!

Arguably the greatest PC RPG of all time, Fallout is now in the (hopefully) capable hands of Bethesda Softworks (Elder Scrolls, Daggerfall, Morrowind). Are you excited?

Link

Sunday, July 11, 2004

On Internet Quizzes

I'm not particularly fond of internet quizzes that attempt to plunk you down into a category - but sometimes they're damn accurate. Take this one for example. My results are:


You are an SEDF--Sober Emotional Destructive Follower. This makes you an evil genius. You are extremely focused and difficult to distract from your tasks. With luck, you have learned to channel your energies into improving your intellect, rather than destroying the weak and unsuspecting.

Your friends may find you remote and a hard nut to crack. Few of your peers know you very well--even those you have known a long time--because you have expert control of the face you put forth to the world. You prefer to observe, calculate, discern and decide. Your decisions are final, and your desire to be right is impenetrable.

You are not to be messed with. You may explode.


I find it scary that a simple 20-question quiz can accurately describe many of my personality traits.

Sunday, July 04, 2004

Movies: Spiderman 2

I suppose everyone and their mother has had a chance to voice their opinions on Spiderman 2 by now, so here's mine: Some parts are hokey, some parts are cheesy, some parts are gratuitous Hollywood crap, it has quite a few inconsistencies and plot holes but overall, it's a hell of a ride, and I found it considerably more 'fun' than the first one. That being said, I'm not entirely excited about the Goblin making an obvious comeback in Spiderman 3, but the only other Spidey nemesis worthy of being in a movie would be Venom...and bringing alien symbiotes in the equation would completely change the feel of the movies.

Saturday, July 03, 2004

Games: Maniac Mansion Deluxe

Maniac Mansion Deluxe is a 256-color remake of the original Maniac Mansion, done by a group calling themselves LucasFan Games. I'm not sure how legal this is, but hey, it's Maniac Mansion!

Any adventure gamer worth his salt knows about the Mansion and Dave's efforts to save his girlfriend Sandy from Dr. Fred and the evil meteor. The great thing about Maniac Mansion (or not so great, maybe), is that unlike later adventure games, your kids can die, you can accidentally blow up the mansion and you can get work yourself into an unsolvable situation. I don't know whether Maniac Mansion was the last game to do this -- I remember the game I played immediately after (Monkey Island) had no such 'feature'. Anyway, it's still quite entertaining despite its age.

Thursday, July 01, 2004

I swear I get the weirdest dreams...

...I mean, take that dream I had a couple of nights ago; after going to work I was wondering whether I should tell that particular person "Hey, I dreamt you were a bag of chips." What sort of psychological message could thinking a person was a bag of chips possibly have?

Sunday, June 27, 2004

Games: Naruto: Narutimate Hero

Yup, it's a Japanese-only PS2 game based on the currently popular Naruto anime/manga. If you're not aware of Naruto, it's pretty much like Dragonball Z, except with better animation, actual reasons for fighting, and ninjas instead of aliens. It tells the story of a young boy in the Hidden Village of Konoha, cursed with being the living incarnation of a feared nine-tailed demon fox spirit. Simple enough eh?

The game itself is cool; it's one-on-one fighting featuring characters from the anime/manga. Not fighting like Street Fighter fighting mind you, but fighting in an interactive environment, with items to be picked up, things to be destroyed, support characters to be called upon, and mighty cinematic ougis do be performed. If you've ever seen the Powerstone game in the arcades, it's a bit similar, and this is how I imagine Super Smash Bros. Melee would be like. The graphics are okay; not the best cel-shading I've seen, but definitely good for the material. You're restricted to 2d movement, but each stage has two layers, and each layer has various ropes, balconies, trees or whatnot that act as platforms. Most of the moves are available to all characters: punches, kicks, button-mashing combos, launchers, knockdowns, jutsus, counters (using the "transform into a log" technique), shurikens, kunai, surprise attacks from your allies, etc. Each character has three levels of ougi moves; when you connect with an ougi move, the view shifts to a cutscene-style depiction of the character doing their ougi on the hapless opponent. The opponent isn't helpless however; both players are given a sequence of button commands to push. If the attacker does it right and finishes before the opponent, he gets to do more damage and proceeds to the next part of the ougi. Since the ougis deal a huge (usually decisive) amount of damage, the defender usually wanys to do finish his sequence faster to greatly lessen the damage.

The only problem with this game is the lack of characters: Six are available at the start (Naruto, Sakura, Sasuke, Kakashi, Shikamaru and Rock Lee), and six more can be unlocked (Neji, Hinata, Haku, Zabuza, Gaara and Orochimaru); most of the other characters appear in ougis, as support characters or simply as stage backgrounds (you can hit them when you see them on the screen!) There's a lot of other things to unlock though: BGMs, voices, pictures, action figures, songs, video clips of each ougi, etc.

I'd recommend it for anyone who's a fan of videogames and the Naruto series.

Pinoy Culture: Thank God It's Over

...that disgraceful slow-count of an election canvass that is. I can't help but wonder whether anyone actually bothered to follow the last few days of the canvassing on TV...I mean, the proceedings are boring as hell! You know what would have been better for the country as a whole? When I saw a small portion of it, the only thing I could think of was that we should have WWE's The Rock on the National Board of Canvassers! I know he's no Filipino, much less a Senator, but he can be like guest chairman for a day or something. I can see it now...



Rep. Digs Dilangalen: Mr. Chairman, I object to this "Shut up!" note. I demand that the one who sent this note be cited for contempt! This is an outrage!

The Rock: I see. Can you show me this note jabroni?

Digs (fuming, pulls out a piece of paper, approaches the Rock): Here it is Mr. Chair---

The Rock (holds up his hand): Stop right there, jabroni, no need to get close to the Rock.

(Digs stops in his track, obviously peeved.)

The Rock: Tell you what, Mr. "Digs"...this is what we're gonna do. Why don't you take that there note, roll it up real nice, turn that thing sideways...and stick it up your candy ass!

(Senate explodes into chaos)




Or maybe even...




Sen. Tessie Aquino-Oreta: Mr. Chairman, all I'm asking for is a little civility, a little respect. We're rushing through everything and the majority is hardly listening to our opinions...

The Rock: Oh really? Is that what you think, Senator? Is that what you think?

Sen. Oreta: Yes, because we---

The Rock: It doesn't matter what you think!

(All hell breaks loose. Tito Sotto jumps out of the audience and goes for the clothesline; The Rock ducks, then turns around and catches Tito Sotto in a spinebuster. All hell breaks loose. The Rock takes off the Elbow Pad and tosses it into the crowd. Bounces off the first rope, and the second, and hits the People's Elbow on Senator Sotto!)




...or maybe I just watch too much wrestling. Heaven knows it's a lot more entertaining than Philippine politics.

Reminds me of something a friend and I talked about the other day. Since we're obviously not doing so well with elections, we should have a new way of choosing our leaders: trial-by-combat! A DBZ-style fighting tournament (probably at the Araneta Coliseum) to determine who will be the next leader! Hey, at least it would be more entertaining, and FPJ would probably have a much better chance, unless he faces someone like Sonny Parsons

Saturday, May 29, 2004

Games: N

N s a nice little slightly-addictive flash game about a ninja trying to get through doors. Check it out.

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Pinoy Culture: Hawakan Mo Nga Sa Tenga

Literally translated as "I dare you to touch his ear", the phrase is commonly used by elementary school boys prior to starting a fight. It's similar to the more well-known Western scenario where one boy draws a line across the sand and goes "I dare you to cross this line" This phrase came to me today because we were talking to two girls (well okay, ladies) at work today and they weren't familiar with the phrase or it's usage. I of course proceeded to demonstrate by flicking my co-worker's ear. After which, all hell broke loose. Or not.

This useless piece of trivia brought to you by The Freedom, Peace and Justice Movement

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

So I Went to HK...

As I've mentioned before, I was sent to HK a couple of weeks back, for the rollout of a project I've been involved with for about a year and a half. I'm not sure if it's right for me to be talking about the project here, so I won't delve into any specifics. I will however, bore you all with stories from my first trip anywhere remotely far from home.

First, the plane trip. Economy class (excuse me, fiesta class) on a PAL Airbus from NAIA2 to HK International on Thursday night. Food was okay, I've had worse, not really enough to turn me off airline food. The PAL flight attendants, as I later discussed with a male coworker, were quite not-young and, well, not-hot. Heh, probably unfair but you get a certain expectation from media, you know? The flight was short (less than two hours) and uneventful, no dizziness or pukathons for me, thanks, unlike when I take the eight-hour bus ride to Bicol. This may seem boring to seasoned fliers, but I liked that little map that told me at what location we were currently flying over. Neat!

As an engineering type, I also took notice of the plane itself. Is it normal that airplanes routinely jiggle and vibrate as the plane taxis? I understand that it's unavoidable as things like cars and trains do the same; but shouldn't things be a bit tighter on a plane? Still, didn't really bother me.

Upon landing, I got a glimpse of HK International Airport. I had heard it was huge, but didn't get to look around much as I was greeted at the boarding gate by two of the HK staff. Nice people, one of them bought me dinner at McDonald's although I told them I had already had the airline food. Afterwards, they took mo to The Peak, apparently a famous spot for tourists in Hong Kong. It's a mall-type thing on top of a rather high mountain. From the observation deck, you could see most of Hong Kong. From there I could see that Hong Kong was a very urbanized area, a lot more than Metro Manila.

After spending some time there, they drive me to the Staff Quarters near the HK office, where one of our RP staff has been staying for a month. The RP guy greets me, shows me upstairs, shows me the ropes, and I get some sleep.

The office building is right next to the block where the staff quarters was, barely a five-minute walk. I spent most of my time in HK between the office and the staff quarters. Truth be told, the trip wasn't really very exciting, as there was a lot of work to be done and not much time to goof around. I'll just note some things particularly interesting about being in a foreign country:

People speaking in an unintelligible language all the time. Probably the biggest hurdle to anything, it took surprisingly little getting used to the fact that I couldn't communicate perfectly with anyone, and with some people, not at all. On some occasions, I had to buy food or drinks through pointing and using hand signs to find out how much stuff was. When walking on the street, I'd turn my head whenever I hear someone speaking English, because it was quite unusual. Also, when dining out with the HK staff, I'd have to rely on them to order for me, since I can't read the menus. Which brings me to...

Foreign food. Anyone who knows me knows I'm quite a picky eater. I don't take to new foods very easily. But it's hard to refuse when you're a guest, so I got to taste more new stuff in my five and a half days in HK than I have for maybe the past three years. It's ok, I don't mind, even the veggies. The biggest problem was the fact that I have no idea how to use chopsticks, and almost every meal needs the use of chopsticks. At one point, I had to badger my co-RP staff to help me get food using the serving chopsticks. While I was there, I had some Taiwanese, Thai food, and of course, Chinese. Lots of Chinese. Oh, and an interesting side note: apparently foreign McDonald's have no McSpaghetti.

Religious issues I was unable to hear Mass on Sunday. We had to work most of the day, but I got off around 4PM. I asked one of the HK guys for directions to a Church (we were in Kowloon, I believe), but when I explained that I was Catholic, he didn't know what the term meant. (This is of course ridiculous to a Filipino; everbody knows what a Katoliko is!) After saying that my faith is similar to another RP staff who he had also met before, he gave me some instructions on where to find a Church. I walked around a bit, following his directions. Which eventually lead me to a Mosque. Ooookay. So I walked around some more (quite a bit actually, went up and down the same road couple of times), I found a place called "St Andrews Church", I guessed this was the place he was talking about. I walked in and asked around, found out they had a Mass around 6PM. So I waited for a bit. Around 5:45 I picked up a flier and noticed that it was in fact an Anglican Church (Is it a Protestant thing? Or something else? I'm not entirely sure), and I it's not the same so I went out looking again. I saw another Church, this time it was Lutheran. Around 6:30PM, I gave up, bought some dinner at McDonald's and took a taxi home. The next day one of the HK staff who said he was Christian told me there was a Catholic Church beside the Mosque...apparently it was a small one so I failed to notice it. From our discussion, I think there's quite a distinction here between "Christians" and "Catholics"; which is weird since I'm fairly sure Catholics are Christian. Anyway, I was wondering why it was so hard to find a Church in a place where...

There are so many Filipinos You can see 'em everywhere, as you walk along the main streets. Mostly tourists and domestic helpers, I believe. I could hear Tagalog being spoken on the street more often than English. Of course, maybe I should've asked one of them where I could go to Church...

Taxis are discplined This is of course, shocking to any Filipino! A sticker on the inside of every taxi tells you the rules: They can't turn down fares, they have to issue a receipt when asked, they must follow seatbelt laws, etc. Every taxi is equipped with a receipt machine, and every one of 'em is bright red so they're easy to spot. Overall, while I still experienced traffic jams over there, their traffic situation is still hella lot better than ours.

What else can I say? As I said, I didn't have much free time. They were kind enough to give me half the day off on Tuesday afternoon (my flight home was Tuesday evening), and they recommended some places I could go visit. So I went to Quarry Bay, about 2 MTR stations away from the office. I wasn't sure what I was looking for, though, so I ended up mostly wandering aimlessly, not buying anything 'cept for some food and drinks. I actually managed to walk all the way back to the office, and just decided to buy some chocolates from a supermarket to bring home.

On the flight home, PAL switched me to a much smaller plane, which sucked. :( I got to see more of HK Airport, and let me say...it's frickin' huge. I told the guys who brought me to the airport that NAIA2 is like a fourth of HK airport, but now I think it's more like a sixth. I'm told they even have some sort of moving platform thing for people whose gates are so frickin' far. It took 30 minutes for our plane to taxi, that should say something.

Anyway, got home around 11:30, bought some more goodies at the duty-free shop. Took a taxi home, arrived safe and sound. Told stories for an hour or so, then ... zzzzzz.

Sweet Sweet Vacation Time

God, it feels good to be goofing off. After having to spend six days in HK (well, more like five-and-a-half, more on that later) and then proceeding to conduct SQL training sessions for the latest batch of recruits, I was kinda tired and stressed out from work. Good thing I had the common sense to file for two days leave after the elections last Monday; don't have to come in 'til tomorrow.

Not that I'm using the free time for anything sensible mind you. In fact, most people would probably consider it a serious waste of vacation leave. But hey, I like to goof off! In between Warcraft III sessions, random internet surfing, constant reloading of the Inquirer website (to see the latest Namfrel quick-count figures of course), and reading through a couple of CDs worth of comics copied from Mon last Monday, I did manage to clean up my room somewhat.

I really only wanted to clean up 'coz I wanted to read the Street Fighter comics and couldn't find them. I was only able to find the two most recent issues though. One other thing I wanted to do was to seriously clean up the crap on this computer. We're quite low on disk space, and more than half of my desktop is cluttered with icons, and Alvin tells me we have far too many MP3s on disk.

I've downloaded some Java code that will help me extract ID3 data from MP3 files. I'm hoping to use it to properly catalog all the MP3s on disk, assuming I get unlazy enough.

Heh, while I was Mon's place, he made the brilliant observation that practically everything we do is fueled by how lazy (or unlazy) we are at any time...

Monday, May 10, 2004

Halalan 2004

I'll probably leave for the voting place in a half an hour or so. Anyway, my choices are already made:

PRESIDENT : Roco, Raul
VICE-PRESIDENT :
SENATORS :
1. Alvarez, Heherson T.
2. Barbers, Robert
3. Biazon, Rodolfo
4. Chavez, Francisco
5. Escudero, Salvador
6. Gordon, Richard
7. Herrera, Ernesto F.
8. Hussin, Parouk
9. Mercado, Orlando
10. Pimentel, Aquilino Jr. Q.
11. Roxas, Manuel 'Mar' II
12. Yasay, Perfecto Jr.
PARTY LIST : AKBAYAN!

CONGRESSMAN/REPRESENTATIVE : MAITE DEFENSOR
MAYOR : SONNY BELMONTE
VICE-MAYOR : HERBERT BAUTISTA
MEMBERS SANGUNIANG BAYAN
MUNICIPAL COUNCIL:
1. JORGE BANAL
2. JAIME BORRES
3. DANTE DE GUZMAN
4. WENCY LAGUMBAY
5. TINA MONASTERIO
6. LALA SOTTO

A few notes, I suppose.

First, the internet is surprisingly useful to voters this time around. If you need to know where you're voting, findprecinct.com is the place to start. Need help deciding? I used the sample ballot at the Eleksyon 2004 website to help me fill up those slots.

Regarding my choices, the Concilors are all allied with Lakas-CMD, hence they are part of Sonny Belmonte's ticket, who really deserves not only another term but a term with people he's chosen to ally himself with. For president, I chose Roco, 'coz hell, if by some miracle he wins I don't wanna miss my chance to gloat that I voted for the candidate who was right in every possible way. For the party-list rep, last time around I voted for Bayan Muna, but I don't really like how they're soft on the NPA, whether or not the military allegations are true. Akbayan, while still left-leaning (to balance the center-to-right preferences of most mainstream politicians), at least recognizes that the NPA Permit-to-Campaign fees are downright extortion and should be criminalized. For the Senators, the only unusual choice is Doc Hussin (more Muslim representation), but the rest should be obvious. I actually had only 11 senators listed before deciding on Hussin.

So what will happen to the country now? Who knows, for a while I was thinking of voting for FPJ just to see what kind of new crap our country can go through...

Sunday, April 18, 2004

What to do with this website?

I'm not sure yet. I obviously don't have much time to maintain it. I'd like pretty much to have a "professional" website, with the domain name and everything, but I'm afraid it would fall into misuse as well. Arrr....I'll figure something out.

Roy goes to HK

Yup. This week, for the first time ever, I'm leaving the country, and flying down to HK to provide support for the rollout of the project I've been with for the past year and a half. First time to leave the country, and I'm gonna be flying alone to a country where people speak a language I can recognize but not understand. I'm understandably a bit freaked out; who wouldn't be, right? But everything will be fine, I guess.

Sunday, January 18, 2004

KOTOR = Evil timesink

I hate KOTOR. Not because it's a bad game, in fact it's the exact opposite. It's a fantastic game. With the unfortunate side effect that everything else gets pushed back so I cam play some more. This was actually the first time I'd done some serious 'net surfing since I borrowed David's KOTOR copy. Here's my take on it in a post to RPG-Skies:

This game is fantastic! I borrowed my friend's copy
after he finished it, so I only started it last week, but it's already
eaten up a lot of my (non-work) time. Starships, lightsabers, force
powers, droids, wookies, twi'leks, Jedi, Sith, Hutts, Rodians, the
ability to choose between dark side or light side, watching your
character deflect dozens of blaster shots with his lightsaber...I'm
tempted to stop typing this email now and go play it...If I had actually
played it last year, I'd have named it as game of the year above.


In non-Star Wars news, I've had the old machine Cheese looked at, seems the mobo and the vidcard have been fried (again). Something's really wrong with that rig but I'm too lazy to change it, especially now that we have a second PC. In any case, it'll take another 2-3 weeks before PC Express can replace it.

I haven't found time to re-play FFX-2 and get whatever ending actually involved Tidus -- too much time spent on NWN and KOTOR. I still want to replay it, as there are a lot of things that I wasn't able to do, but we have more problems. Our PS2's disc read performance has gotten worse by the moment, we can hardly play on it anymore. I'm thinking on getting it checked up somewhere, if only so we can play some Japanese SVCChaos.

Speaking of SVChaos, my brothers and I were at the SM North the arcades last weekend, something we hadn't done in a while. I gave the old CVS2 game a go and promptly got whupped by my opponent, someone who seemed to have been playing this game for a long time. My Sagat did well enough, but Ryu and Blanka just plain choked. It's not just the stick anymore either -- I never noticed it before but I guess the speed of the game really is different from the console version, so I'm having a much harder time doing Just-Defend and wake-up DPs. I also gave the SVC Chaos machine a couple of runs, but I'm finding it hard to do supers on the thing. The arcade at SM Megamall already has SVC Chaos too...I'm seriously considering playing a couple of games there daily.

Of course, we were at the mall to see Lord of the Rings: Return of the King. Fairly good movie, much better finale than the Matrix trilogy. Which is good, because the books deserved to be made into good movies. the huge battles at Minas Tirith were great, although the army ghosts Aragorn fought felt a bit like cheating to win. I seem to recall their journey into the mountain to be a lot longer in the book too, but I may be wrong. Um...I have nothing else to say.

Friday, January 02, 2004

Random Tidbits

* Seeing as how Cheese (the machine I bought in March) broke down for the umpteenth time, I finally decided to buy a second computer, and went out and bought a new machine (code-name: Barbecue) the day before Christmas. Spent less than I had expected, but the machine is pretty decent, except my video card is a measly 64Mb GeForce2. I'll probably post the specs later.
* Finished Final Fantasy X-2, at 67% story completion (Yeah I suck...) Maybe I'll post a review of it later.
* I wasted most of my vacation on NWN: Hordes of the Underdark. Not really wasted, as it's very entertaining. I'm a level 24 Ranger now!
* Still can't get Star Wars: KOTOR to work, even on this new machine. I guess I'll need an original copy. (I'll see if I can borrow David's :P)

2003 Year in Review

Roy's 2003 Year in Review

Best Thing About 2003:
* I got a job. It feels really good to actually have a decent amount of money coming in at a regular basis. :) Actually, I believe all good things in 2003 have stemmed from my having a job...more cash, new computer, better food, got to meet some nice people, able to buy more stuff, learned new skills, etc...

Worst Thing About 2003:
* I got a job. Gah...I want more free time. Not that I do anything important in my free time really, but it's nice to be able to goof off. :P
* The comp I got in March seemed to break down way too easily...I dunno maybe it was bad choice of parts on my end or something. In any case, I'm hesitant to shop at PC Express again. Ever.

What I Want to Happen in 2004:
* I want to learn more stuff. I want to learn a web scripting language and maintain a database-driven website. I'll probably try PHP/MySQL for this, although if I'm lucky I could get a JSP project at work.
* I want the price of DSL to go down.
* I want to be pleasantly surprised by the results of the 2004 elections.

Best Games of 2003:
* Neverwinter Nights: Both expansions
* Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne - I've logged 114 hours on battle.net using my home account, and then there's the countless hours playing at David's place...
* Capcom vs SNK 2 - The Undying Favorite...too bad Alvin narrowly beat me out for 2003 House Champion :(
* Final Fantasy X-2 - I think it's a sign of my changing tastes that this is the only console RPG I was able to complete this past year. Console RPGs are nice, but I could be downloading stuff while playing NWN.
* Final Fantasy Tactics Advance - Not as good as the original FFT, but good enough.
* (Note: I hear SW:KOTOR is pretty good, but I have yet to play it.)

Best Movies of 2003:
* Two Towers
* Pirates of the Carribean

My New Year Resolution:
* Nothing. I'm not making any more of those.