Sunday, August 31, 2008

It makes me laugh.

Some days - I can totally be entertained just walking though a parking lot.



Friday, August 29, 2008

Summary.

Some of this things I found most interesting about the show was....the 3D stuff.

Sure. They have been promising us 3D since the 70's. It is one of those things you thought would have taken off years ago - but never did. So you stop paying attention to any of the fantastical claims. I blame the glasses. Which begs the question - how much does it suck for people who wear glasses to then have to put on 3D glasses over them? I've never found the 3D glasses fit well.. and I don't even wear glasses.

Anyway.. this is why I was completely caught off guard when they showed some 3D demos that made me think 3D is getting back on track. I was barely paying attention - almost in a full eye roll, when I stopped in my tracks and became fully engaged. The first such item was a 3D game demo. Which of course I can't show you. It's impossible to take 3D photo's.

At any rate - you must take my word for it...it was actually pretty great. It was a very simple war game. Not one of those goofy 3D driving games. But to see the mortars being fired into the air in 3D was actually very intriguing. It was one of those things that if you would have told me a 3d game would be interesting I would have called bullshit. But - it wasn't.

The other thing was this on day 3. Again.. me - not paying attention. So my shots aren't that great...and I don't even know who it is. Note.. this demo did not need 3D glasses. It started out with what looked like a flat sheet of paper, and as the guy moved the paper - mountains started rising from the paper. Then a waterfall cascaded off the paper. At one point he even brushed his hand through what looked like water cascading off the paper. Very neat.





Thursday, August 28, 2008

Nvision '08 - Part 3.

Wednesday was the more interesting day.

We got to the show a little late. When we got into the building I realised I forgotten my badge in the car. Mr S. went on to stand in line. I went back to the car. When I finally met up with him he tells me "it's a good thing we split up - they are only letting a hundred people into the meet and greet". We were now about 25 people from the front. I start figuring out the lighting. Often in these situations you have about 10 seconds - so you need to have your act together. So I furiously start taking test shots.



We make our way up to the front, get some t-shirts signed. I get one shot. And it's all over.



The show is at 3. So, we get lunch and try to decide how we are going to burn an hour and a half. We start out thinking we might go to the Tech Museum. But, we want to get good seats. And - it is a million degrees in San Jose that day. So we decide to go and just get in line for the event. People are already queuing up. Mr S. thinks we should start going up levels to see if we can get a better place in line.

We wind up in the balcony level. No one is there except the lighting guys for the show. We are trying desperately to not get kicked out - because we know we technically aren't suppose to be there. So, we start catching up on blogs on our phones. Being as quiet and unobtrusive as we can. When the lighting guys walk by - neither of us even look at them. Nothing to see here folks. We are just a part of the furniture.

We burn about an hour. When one of the ushers comes in. Crap! She's kicking us out. I am as polite and nice as I can be as I tell her we are being quiet and respectful. Then I ask her if we can stay. She is really nice, but tells us we have to go. But if we hurry we might be able to get front row seats.

Mr S. makes a stop, and I start to go down levels to get in line. On the second level - all the game players are having a meeting, or are queuing up. I'm not sure which. At any rate.. I'm not getting close seats there. So, I go down another level. The line has started to get long. But, they have the two levels roped off so people can't go up to the second floor. Which means I'm sort of trapped. When Mr S. meets up with me I tell him I think the ushers will be focused on the crowd, and we can walk behind them and go down the corridor to the seats. Which is what happens.

Now, we are pretty much at the front of the stage seating. There are a couple of people in front of us. This is where we begin to wait.

After about 15 minutes some of the game chicks to the back of us start to bitch. They've been up for 36 hours. They want to be seated. No one really pays much attention to them, until one of them approaches the usher holding back the crowd and asks her when they will start seating us. The usher doesn't know. This is where the girl gets all bitchy on the usher and says roughly the following "way to not take responsibility for your job".

This gets a reaction from those of us in the front. Clearly the usher is just doing her job. None of the other doors are letting people in either. The guy next to us says something about the girl being spoiled.

Finally they let us in.

Since my pictures can never describe what they did. Here are links for your enjoyment. Part 1, 2, 3. Gizmodo link with better slomo.









Nvision '08 - part2.

So - we watched the opening ceremonies where they talked about all the great stuff happening in computer graphics.

I'm not going to go through them all. But, car design was obviously highlighted.



Avatars.

Which - I think is a fad. At least - I hope. I just find it weird to create a "make believe" life. I mean.. how far can you go with that before it becomes boring, or reality creeps in?



We popped our heads into a few of the talks.



Hit the show floor.



And the gaming area.



Finally winding up at the Buzz Aldrin meet and greet later in the day. Where we found out he was taking pictures with people. I wasn't really that interested in that. He wasn't signing stuff. I think the only reason he was there was to promote a movie.



I managed to get one candid shot before he got in place to take photo's and I'm glad I did, because the lighting was horrible.

Nvision '08.

It isn't the usual kind of show I go to. Normally the things I like to attend have a large show floor with all sorts of things to make my ADD flare up. This was like a several day company meeting. A really great company meeting as far as company meetings go. But, there was a lot of sitting around. Waiting. And listening to people talk. This isn't to say there weren't some interesting tidbits.

Day one was actually so uneventful - I found my mind taking to take stock of how many women were there. It was a bleak showing from the chicks. Mr S. and I always have a debate about how many women play video games. I've always contended that lots of girls play these days. He says not. Judging by the turn-out.. he's right. I'd say the ratio was 95/5 to the mens side. Weak!

Anyway.. you never know how events are going to be structured - so we got in line early to see Tricia Helfer. It was suppose to be a meet and greet. She was there signing shirts. The fan boys got to be all fan boy-ey. Meaning she spent a little time talking to the guys who came through the line while she was signing shirts, pictures, or other stuff people brought.

Which I thought was really nice. She could have just conveyor belted everyone through without saying too much. But she didn't. Very nice.





Buzz Aldrin wasn't suppose to be at the show until 6pm. It was still only noon at this point. So we had a lot of time to kill.

Continued...

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

I reemerge.

Oh yes. I do have something for you. Let me unpack my pictures and write up some bite sized stories - and I'll be back.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

A no update - update.

Normally I have interesting stuff to blog about on the weekend. Well.. at least I think it's interesting - or I wouldn't blog about it. But... I'm going to that conference Monday and Wednesday. So this weekend I've just been doing home-y stuff.

A new tile store opened in town. So, we went there yesterday. Some women have a closet full of shoes. I have a garage full of tile samples. It's odd to be sure. We've been half heatedly planning a new project. Which will probably continue until we fall in love with something. Which we buy, then have to rush together a plan for.

At least that is how all of our other projects develop.

For the last month I've had an insatiable urge to rip something out. I don't care what.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

It didn't start well.

This morning was one of those mornings that I imagine is a little like what being in boot camp is like. Okay.. maybe that is a little dramatic. I would give you a better description.. but, I think all the sayings I want to use all are now racist.

Anyway.. I wake up to the power being out. Get the nuance here.

I didn't wake up to no power. The power going out - woke me up. The click of every electrical device shutting off happening in quick secession. Then the inescapable silence. Then comes the high pitched scream/beeping of the UPS's. I swear to you, this can be heard at the street. It is like all the fire alarms in your house going off at once. Mr S. starts running around hitting all the buttons to make them stop.

I lay there thinking - when does the f-ing power go out in the morning? Surely it's going to come right back on. Eventually I find myself looking for PG&E bill so I can call them and ask why I have no power.

Since it is morning.. it also means the coffee maker is also not going to work. Not good. Not good at all people. Through one eye Mr S. makes his way out the door to Starbucks while I'm on hold with PG&E.

Even though I've asked for an operator - the voice recognition software wants to ask me more questions.

Me - operator.

It - Okay. I heard you want an operator. Let me transfer you. Wait. Do you have an account with us?

Me - operator!

What does it matter if I have an account?

As Mr S. is giving me a kiss and walking out the door I mumble something about their call service being annoying.

It - If you want to give feedback on our service press ...

At this point I'm trying to ignore it, but I'm a little paranoid that it understood I was annoyed. What.. now I can't even yell at the automated system?

The doubly annoying thing about the electricity being out is I have a doctors appointment. I never go to the doctor. I completely hate it. I need my coffee, and time to prepare. It is a half day thing. Mostly revolving around waiting. But.. my doctor wants to see me twice a year. So I go.

Usually I don't even have anything going on. So we wind up talking about personal stuff. I think I know more about my doctors personal life than he knows about mine. Or about me for that matter. It's a funny relationship. I'm not his normal patient. I view the recent vacation pictures he took from his blackberry.

I often save things up for him to cut off. A skin tag here. A newly developing mole there. As people get older they get bumpy.. and I don't want to be bumpy. He seems to find joy in having something out of the routine to do. And in the end I leave his office finding the whole experience kind of wacky. But, I've done my duty. I'll see him again in 6 months, and we'll do the whole thing over.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Teaser.

My first impulse was to not post about this until after the event was over. I can't control what happens at these things. Sometimes they turn out stellar. Sometimes they suck. Initially it looked like the latter might be true. But, now I'm pretty excited.

First - the Mythbusters guys will be there. And....that.... totally rocks.

Second - There's the chick from Battlestar Galactica. Which BTW - I'm not even a fan. But, I know a bunch of my readers are. I read your blogs. The truth is - I've seen every episode. So maybe I'm a closet fan.

Alright.... alright. That's not true either. Sometimes in a marriage you have to watch crap you hate to score up equity for the stupid insane bullshit you want to watch. I know! I just lost half my readership. I just get bored with them driving around in circles trying to find earth. And I don't really get the whole Cylon/Human plot.

All the same - I'm a little excited the Battlestar Galactica chick will be there.

And last - I'm kinda excited about Buzz Aldrin.

Really.

I know nothing interesting has happened in space for a while. Our country has crippled any new space exploration outside of robots just because a few people burned up in the atmosphere. Which is kind of sad. Sure, Nasa is a money sucking vortex - but when they were doing interesting stuff - it made the country excited and hopeful.

This is what makes seeing one of the people who actually set foot on the moon a little exciting to me. Perhaps he will be one of the last humans to ever get to the moon for all we know.

Anyway.. stay tuned.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The randomness of bonds.

When I first moved into this house, the neighbors directly in front of us were the first to tell me about our neighbors. They said - your neighbor to your right is weird and eccentric. They deemed the guy next to them also weird and they thought he listened to their conversations. Early on, it seemed like us and the gossipy neighbors would have a neighborly bond. We are techies. One of them worked in high tech. An instantaneous bond! Right?

Well.. not so much.

The neighbor to my right has turned out to be the most perfect neighbor ever. She's friendly, doesn't do anything annoying. And, the other guy they pegged as weird has turned out to be the one we like the best. Sure.. he still lives with his mom and plays World of Warcraft. But whatever.

We grew to like the gossipy neighbors the least. Go figure - they are super nosey. No one could have seen that coming. No one!

This story has a direction. I swear.

Anyway.. when my roofer needed a place to live, and we needed someone to rent our crapshack - I liked the idea of renting to him mostly out of spite. You see - except for remodeling the place - the crapshack had been empty for at least a year. And I got the feeling that one neighbor liked it that way.

I got reports that when people viewed the house he'd be out playing loud music working on his beat up old Pinto. Sure he had a nicer car - but for some reason that old Pinto was always being worked on. I still don't even think it's ever moved outside of his garage.

Anyway.. I was sure my roofer was going to annoy this guy. Let me describe my roofer. BMW driving, body hair shaving, jar headed, bar hopping yuppie. Oh.. did I mention he is a loud guy? Super loud.

Pinto guy on the other hand is married with teenagers. Stuck in the 70's. Barely hangs onto a job. And the love of his life is a Pinto.

I figured it will be perfect. If the one neighbor wants to play loud music, my roofer is more loud, and can take him down a peg.

Well.. what do you suppose happens in this story?

That's right! They become friends.

Monday, August 18, 2008

California tries to squeeze homeowners.

Today, my stomach is all tied in knots. You see last week I got a notice from the county. They wanted to charge me more taxes on the crapshack. Apparently those pesky permits I pulled got them salivating about being able to raise the tax assessment on the property. Despite a market still in decline.

A few things were especially troubling. The first was how heavy handed the notice was. "You must return this notice - and if you lie - it's a misdemeanor".

The second thing was - the notice was completely geared towards getting me to tell them I had done new construction when I hadn't. I.e. There was no area on on the form to explain any work done outside of "new construction". Namely repair or replacement. It was all "we know you've done new construction - you must tell us what you've done".

When I talked to one of my friends about it - he said that sometimes they audit the permits. Which might completely be true. But, I've pulled tons of permits for all the same things I did at the crapshack, and have never once gotten a notice like this. I can only assume it's because the state is in a severe budget crisis and they are trying find more capital. Whatever it is - it made me more nervous than dealing with the IRS. I've dealt with the IRS two years in a row. They have been easy to work with.

I found the notice from the county much more anxiety inducing. The IRS at least has rules plainly laid out. The county is basically saying "tell me everything you've done, and we will tell you if it's taxable".

At any rate... I wouldn't fill anything out on the form they sent, and opted to enclose a letter. I doubt it will be the last I'll hear from them. And that sucks.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Always pursued - but never achieved.

Fried twinkies = 0

I found myself at a rib cook-off this weekend. Secretly hoping to find twinkies.

It was pathetically small. They didn't even have a garlic fry stand. Who invites the public and doesn't even sell garlic fries? I've had bigger BBQ's in my back yard.

There were about 5 stands selling ribs and stuff. Mostly ribs. We chose Tex-ass, and Chicago. Chicago was clearly the winner. Tex-ass was pretty dry and over cooked.

In the Chicago round - we sat next the some really nice older ladies. I called them the BBQ groupies. We were making polite conversation with them about who's ribs they liked best. When they told us the the rib cook-offs go from town to town. They apparently were going to the next one in Sparks Nevada.

Yeah! BBQ groupies. I guess everything has groupies these days.

Anyway.... all I got were these pictures. Hey! It's not great. But it's all I've got.



I'm not sure why this guy was there. It didn't really seem like the basketball crowd. Plus, he was a little far from home. Not to mention he had to be out of his mind! It was only in the high 80's, but everything was on blacktop - which made it feel like 95 degrees. His face was all covered, and he was acting like Disco Stu. He must have dropped 10 pounds in water weight that day.



What else are you gonna wear to a rib-off?

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Folks - I'm done with reality.

I think it started around the time of the writers strike. You basically had nothing to watch but reality shows. Which even by my standards, was way too many reality shows.

The past week however, I can barely stand to watch any reality at all. Bitches lost their minds? Way to loud. Cops shows? Too loud.

So, after watching Children of Men, we had to find something in our Tivo rotation to watch. We have been Tivo'ing a show called Evolve.

(Just as an aside - I would have given you a link. But - f the history channel. They make it hard to find the trailer on their site. Then you have to watch a 30 second commercial to see their commercial for the show. Not even a trailer. The commercial! F them again. Because - they suck.)

Anyway, our choices were jaws or guts. This is where Mr S. and I had the following conversation.

Me - Neither one of those sound very interesting. The eyes. Those are interesting. But jaws are probably all about sharks.

Him - It could be about fish or sharks. It might be about dinosaurs!

Me - yeah.. but I don't like dinosaurs. They are boring.

Him - what do you have against dinosaurs?

Me- they haven't changed in like a billion years!

I win! How can he refute that?

This is so wrong!

I wouldn't call myself an adventurous eater. Not that I would call myself a bland eater either. Put hot peppers and garlic in it.. and I might skirt the line.

Anyway, a while back I got it in my head I wanted to try one of those deep fried twinkies. And, every since - I've been on this twinkie quest. I can't explain why. I actually don't even like twinkies.

As an adult - I've never eaten a twinkie. I've never secretly had a craving for a twinkie. But for some reason making it deep fried seems like something you have got to try. Once. You know.. so you can mark it off the list. Sort of a dare.

I wouldn't even say I'm that into deep fried food. I assure you.

Sure, I love some cheese sticks - but when I went to the Midwest I thought I'd die from some sort of deep fried induced poisoning. Nevertheless, here I am forcing Mr. S into street fairs where I can obtain the secret fried twinkie. The precious. It's disturbing. And, something I might need to seek help for.

Anyway.. earlier this week I ran across something even more horrifying.

Oh.... yes.... I.... did!

Chocolate covered bacon. Yep. You heard me.

I'm just glad I don't get out to Santa Cruz that often. I'm not sure I could resist the gravitational pull. I like chocolate.. and I like bacon. I'm not sure I like them together. But, it does sound better than deep fried twinkies.

What's the worst thing you wanted to try?

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Saturday, August 09, 2008

The carriage to hell.

This is something that has been building up for a while. For some reason lately, it has gotten worse. I can't quite place my finger on why.

It is people with baby strollers. Well - not just any strollers. Ginormous tank strollers that hold 2 or three children. Never mind that one of those children is normally old enough to walk on their own.

Old timey rant added for emphasis. Why.. when I was a kid - after you learned to walk. You walked. And you learned to keep up. No matter how tiny your legs were.

But my friends, this isn't the worst of it. More often than not, lately - the people pushing these strollers around are often tanks themselves. And, this is where my problem lies.

Listen - I don't care if you are fat. Don't care. Don't care. Don't care. What I do care about is an impenetrable wall of human air bags and children tanks that I have to navigate around like a game of tetris. And, I'm a super fast walker.

Take today for example. I was at the mall. Oh yes - the mall.

I know.. who goes to the mall anymore? The the mall used to have a Discovery Store. And I needed to get some Mythbusters gear. Sadly, the store is gone. But, I digress.

Anyway.

Up pops one of these rolling obstacle courses. Baby stroller with two babies. So, they get somewhat of a pass. But the dad - I swear to you weights 400 pounds. I'm not being mean or spiteful. I'm being factual. Mom isn't quite as heavy.

In your minds people. Imagine how much real estate that is.

Let me help you. From one side of dad to the other side of mom was about 8 feet. Given the two way traffic malls have - you can imagine how difficult it is to get around these people. You can't really break the chain between the parents and the stroller. So, your only choice is to go around. And none of these people are walking at a rate that gives any indication they care if someone wants to pass them.

It wasn't only today. Last weekend, I was at a street fair. Everyone had strollers. People must have been doing nothing but fucking for the last year. There are babies everywhere. Which means... tons of strollers. And, these people are o-bli-vi-ous to any other foot traffic.

Sometimes I was on a sidewalk and two strollers would meet and just stop. Totally blocking traffic in both directions. Since it is a stroller and a person, and you can't break the seal between parent and child - you either have to wait or make a 90 degree detour. After doing this about 50 times in an hour period - it tends to piss you off. At least it does me.

Just as an aside. I have actually become shocked at how many people in the 400 pound rage there are these days. It used to be pretty uncommon, but now on a daily basis I see people who are in that range. It is somewhat alarming. And I'm not prone to care anything about what you do to your body.

I just don't want to be trapped and unable to get around them. Is that too much to ask?

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Almost.

It has been really hard to find interesting stuff to post about. Don't get me wrong - there is lots of stuff going on. Just none of it seems interesting. I spent the better part of a month wanting to evict my new tenant. No shocker. Not interesting. The election? Fully saturated. A pox on all their houses. The housing market and economy? Whatever.

I did make a meager attempt at planning for a new project. But so far - no news. It feels like a quarter of the bloggers fell off the ride. Can people not afford the Internet anymore? Or is this just normal seasonality?

I do have a few things coming up this month. Normally, I'm not into teasing my stories, but.. what are you gonna do?



A somewhat interesting thing happened a couple of days ago. We got some cast off from the Texas hurricane. Mr S. And I were up on the deck watching in relative excitement at the rain in the upper atmosphere. I know it is too dry for anything to reach the ground. But a girl can hope can't she?

Anyway.. as the sun was setting I could barely see this rainbow. You couldn't make out any of the colors. Just that it existed. I really had to crank my fstops to capture it. So the colors are slightly exaggerated. However - once the sun fully set the sky became a brilliant orange.



These colors are photo realistic.

Anyway.. it was kind of interesting because I didn't really think you could get a rainbow at sunset. I figured the sun was too low in the sky. But apparently you can.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Old meets new.

Seen at Fry's Electronics. I only wish I could have gotten them in a Mac area. It could have been a commercial moment.

I wasn't even sure I should be taking pictures of them at all out of religious respect. But honestly, how often do you see this? The older gentleman seemed fine with it - the younger one was clearly uncomfortable.



Saturday, August 02, 2008

I guess we know how much the market will bear.



Gas prices have come down about 30 cents in the Bay Area. When I first left this morning I filled up at 4.17 a gallon. This apparently is the difference between empty freeways, and - this freeway is miserable.

I thought there would be some gradual ramping up to normal. But, there isn't. Proving once again there are no happy mediums in life.

I'm also surprised by my own reaction to the traffic. Two weeks ago I became suddenly fearful of the economy. Panicky in fact. It was clear gas prices had put halt on the economy. Like popping your emergency brake while doing 50.

I couldn't even enjoy the lack of crowds because the things that put a roof over my head are dependant on people spending money. Well...now I feel better about the economy - but I oh so hate the crowds.
 
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