Freebies!

Nov. 28th, 2006 08:14 pm
hallerlake: (Default)
This looks like quite a deal - free Office 2007 Pro or Windows Vista Business Edition, in exchange for watching some webcasts.

Ganked from Amit - he says it's Vista Ultimate, which I'm not sure about, but even "just" business edition is a deal...
hallerlake: (Default)
Thanksgiving was pretty quiet - we went down to Portland to visit the folks.

Nasty cold going around, though. Afraid I've managed to catch it. Taking my vitamins and drinking lots of tea in the hopes that it doesn't flatten me.

The neighbors here have wifi, but it's at the very edge of the usable range when the weather is nice (and when it's raining, it's worthless). Ah well, it's free, what am I complaining about. I can always go to Starbucks if I feel up to braving the holiday crowds. (Besides, they have that gingerbread back in stock... one of my favorites.)

I think I'm going to go hide someplace quiet with a scribble pad instead. I'm sure the shopping frenzy will strike everyone soon enough.

Drat!

Nov. 6th, 2006 11:09 pm
hallerlake: (Default)
Pet Shop Boys were in town at the Paramount yesterday. Just found out now. Figures. :-P

LEGO genius

Nov. 6th, 2006 08:56 am
hallerlake: (Default)
Among other lego amusements, a difference engine. (Also, a USB drive, an air conditioner, a harpsichord, a pinball machine, etc.)
hallerlake: (Default)
Here's my mental coffee break entry for the moment.

Movies

Sep. 7th, 2006 10:54 pm
hallerlake: (Default)
Have checked out a few movies from the library lately. Nothing serious, but figured they'd be fun to watch. Also, these pretty much all fall in the "put on the TV and fire up the laptop" category where I can (and/or must) do other things rather than pay much attention.

The Fantastic Four: My expectations for superhero films is pretty low, and I didn't particularly like these guys back when I read comics, so I'd say it was ok-to-good. I think it was too short - not because I wanted to see more of these guys, but because some of the characterization and plot development was obviously left on the cutting room floor. And, like in a lot of comic book movies that aren't Spiderman 2, the major villain (Dr. Doom) was a nitwit... blah. I thought they did a reasonable job updating the team though.

The Forty Year Old Virgin: I felt like this movie was almost supposed to be a sequel to Office Space. Had some of the same vibe at first. Terrible comic timing for a lot of the film. One of those flicks where there's really only one likable character and you spend the rest of the film hoping the others get hit by a bus. Could have used some more editing, but managed to tell the story fairly well anyway.

Aeon Flux: Pure eye candy. Cool costuming, cool FX, some neat moves, but turn your brain off. Differently dystopian future than, say, Chronicles of Riddick, but about on par with that film. In both cases, if you liked the original source material, you might not like this one much. (I liked Pitch Black and hated Chronicles of Riddick; I was vaguely interested in the original Aeon Flux cartoon and ... rightly ... didn't expect much of this one.)
hallerlake: (Default)
I pulled this one from [personal profile] zannah but the rest of you who RPG have got to see it too ;)

http://www.cruisegazing.com/RPG_Motivational/
hallerlake: (Default)
Hm. I'm used to web sites making recommendations between one product and another. But sometimes they don't work so well.

I checked Best Buy's web site for a copy of Alexander Nevsky a few minutes ago.

Now the description is pretty much spot on. And I was not surprised to see Battleship Potemkin on the "related films" list.

But I was quite amused to see that their "related films" tab cited Red Dawn.

(Yes, I know, they're showing Alexander Nevsky in the concentration camp scene in Red Dawn. But really, these two movies belong on the opposite poles of the propaganda scale.)
hallerlake: (Default)
1.Elaborate on your default icon.
Eh, it makes people laugh :)

2. What's your current relationship status?
Happily married.

3. Ever have a near-death experience?
Not yet.

4. Name an obvious quality you have.
Determined.

5. What's the name of the song that's stuck in your head right now?
Moskau, the gawdawful disco version from Dschingis Khan

6. Any celeb you would marry?
I'm taken, sorry :)

7. Has anyone ever said you look like a celebrity?
Yes, but I don't think I've ever had people say the same celebrity twice, so *shrug*

8. Do you wear a watch? What kind?
Nope. I look at the screen, or my cell phone, or a nearby clock (no shortage of those), or failing all that my sense of time is ok.

9. Do you have anything pierced?
Nope.

10. Do you have any tattoos?
Nope.

11. Do you like pain?
Nope.

12. Do you like to shop?
Not usually.

13. What was the last thing you paid for with cash?
A slurpee (it's hot today).

14. What was the last thing you paid for with your credit card?
Gasoline.

15. Who was the last person you spoke to on the phone?
Nelson.

16. What is on your desktop background?
Don't use one (flat blue).

17. What is the background on your cell phone?
Don't use one (not even sure my phone supports it, never bothered to look)

18. Do you like redheads?
Often - but not disproportionately to other folks.

19. Do you know any twins?
A few.

20. Do you have any weird relatives?
Everyone does, I think.

21. What was the last movie you watched?
Superman Returns (it's ok, some moments better than others)

22. What was the last book you read?
You Are The Message
hallerlake: (Default)
A couple of times a week I run thru my "junk mail" folder to see if anything legit has slipped in by mistake.

While it turns out that all the items flagged are accurate, I was amused by several of the subject lines.


"Hi pale-face" - Howdy pilgrim! Tighten your shorts and sing like the Duke!

"Status opium-eating" - Ahh, I wondered what sort of altered state would make people think that spamming seems like a good idea...

"Your cash neat-ankled" - Uh... yes... wouldn't want my cash to have dirty feet?

"Bingo like you have never seen" - Not sure if this is "Grandmas Gone Wild" or a rousing chorus of schoolkids singing about the farmer's dog, but either way I think it will remain bingo like I've never seen.
hallerlake: (Default)
I liked this article - and to a certain extent some of the other articles from the same site. Worth a read if you're looking to spend a couple minutes on a "mental coffee break".
hallerlake: (Default)
Like many folks here in the Pacific Northwest, I'm used to the mild weather we have here.

And like many folks who live here, my house is not air conditioned.

So we picked up a portable air conditioner a couple of years ago, and every summer we drag it out and reinstall it. It does ok, though it's loud. Does keep a reasonably-sized room from overheating and that's really all you can ask for.

Discovered that the ceiling fan in the loft was not working because the pull-chain toggleswitch to turn it on and off had somehow become wrapped around the axle. Got that out (much sneezing later) and it now works moderately well again.

Anyway... trying to plan a menu for hot weather. Unsurprisingly this involves a fair bit of grilling outside, plus salads, fruit, sandwiches, and apparently a lot of slurpees. Somehow I ended up baking salmon yesterday anyway. Go figure. At least that didn't require a lot of time in the kitchen.
hallerlake: (Default)
I broke the antenna on my phone (a Kyocera 7135 - early phone/palmpilot combo from 2002 or so) yesterday.

So with some irritation I ordered a new antenna ($3 antenna, $8 shipping and mangling) and hopefully it will be here soon.

But because of that I started looking at other phones.

I don't really need to upgrade - my phone works fine (or will once I replace the antenna).

But I figured I'd see what the current generation of phones looks like.

The "normal" upgrade path seems to be the Treo700p. I looked at a Treo a year or two back but decided it wasn't enough of a step up from the current device. I'm not really sure the 700p is that much better - it's not like I'm away from email that much as it is, and the higher speed broadband seems only vaguely useful as a phone. :)

I hear good things about the RAZR, but haven't actually tried one out. They look sleek and seem to be well regarded, though I confess I rather like having a Palm type gadget.

The Windows Smartphone devices again also look neat but I don't really see what I'd get from them that I wouldn't get from a 700p - and at least if I stay in the Palm hierarchy I would get to keep some of my existing software.

Any one out there have any particular opinion on cell phones?
hallerlake: (Default)
For those of you who remember Steve and wonder what he's up to...

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/05/28/magazine/28artmetal.html

(grab a free login from Bugmenot if you're pestered to sign in)
hallerlake: (Default)
Most folks reading this probably know I was at Amazon.com for a couple of years.

My tenure there overlapped with a lot of other people, most of whom I very much enjoyed meeting and working with. The people were the best part of working at Amazon. A lot of enthusiastic brilliant folks making great things happen. Some of the people I liked best I did not necessarily get along with - there was a girl named Courage who worked there and who had been there for a long time before I joined up. She and I came from decidedly different backgrounds and had a very different perspective on what was best for the company. I thought she was pretty cool - smart, determined, funny, and tenacious - even if she and I didn't exactly see eye to eye as regards Joe Galli. (And for the record, she was right and I was wrong...) Courage left at some point to join the circus... yes, really... and here's hoping she's having a great time there still!

Anyway. Shortly after I left Amazon, I went to see a performance by an ex-Amazonian who had taken up comedy. Mike Daisey did a sketch called "21 Dog Years" wherein he lampooned some of the excesses of Amazon. It was in the back room of the Speakeasy (a locale I miss - it burned down not long thereafter) and many of us crowded in to hear his monologue.

I thought it was hilarious. Mike did a passable Chris Farley sort of hyperkinetic chunky guy, wildy enthusiastic and very much attempting to be the puppy-with-the-Amazon-bone-in-his-mouth. Even at the time, I recognized his entire sketch to be basically Amazon in-jokes or at very least dot-com in-jokes. His audience clearly "got it". But I wondered when I heard he was taking the show on the road ... how many people would actually enjoy it or get it? I wasn't sure how well it would carry.

I bought the book "21 Dog Years: Doing Time At Amazon.com" a few months thereafter. And it kinda sat in my "to read" pile. I actually just picked it up and read it today. The humor is still there, and the enthusiasm still comes through to a point, but Mike is so much better in person. I was reminded of his stage show at a number of points while reading the book. But I confess I would not have enjoyed the book if I hadn't seen him perform it. Mike comes across very well - and very funny - in person. I'm not sure what the appropriate comparison is - but given his brand of kinesthetic humor, I would say that it's roughly the same difference between watching a Three Stooges film or reading a novelization of the same. If you like slapstick humor, you may enjoy watching the Stooges. If you don't, you won't like watching them. But reading about their antics isn't likely to be nearly as fun, even if that's your brand of humor.

I found this a little strange. Usually I like the book a lot better than the movie (or the play, etc.) regardless of whether I've read the book first or seen the movie first. I chalk it up to the particular aspect of humor. Maybe the book would have been better as a graphic novel? I don't know... somehow I don't think so, but it could have at least been interestingly quirky and reflected the sort of distorted-world-view that being inside the Great Amazon Whirlwind was like. Somewhere between rose-colored-glasses and Alice in Wonderland or psychedelia, depending on which phase of the book or the company...

BTW, Mike is at http://www.mikedaisey.com/ and is still an interesting iconoclast.
hallerlake: (Default)
A lot of folks are obsessing about next generation video game consoles. I understand Nintendo has renamed their next gen product from Nintendo Revolution to Nintendo Whee (cutesy, if inane). The XBox 360 is out and looks appropriately whizzy. And the PS3 is now targeted for release at $600 or so.

I figure I'll worry about this once I learn what games are available and thus how much my wife wants any of these three consoles. She's the video gamer in the family. I'm not sure I've ever used our PS2 - it was her Xmas present a few years ago. I have played the X-Box, but it's only been playing multiplayer Xbox games with her - also her Xmas present a year or two later.

So far she doesn't really want a Xbox360 - another "content is king" story, and there's nothing there she's especially enthused about.

I do play more RTS games than she, I think, but those are basically PC-based.

Never played an MMORPG either. She used to play a bunch of them at one time or another. I'm sure they'd be interesting, at least to a point, but I'm also sure I don't need the timesink.
hallerlake: (Default)
OK, OK. I'm in. Let's see what the playlist gives me.

If nothing else, I bet we get a few songs that make everyone snicker.

Step 1: Put your MP3 player or whatever on random.
Step 2: Post the first line(s) from the first 30 songs that play, no matter how embarrassing the song.
Step 3: Post and let everyone you know guess what song and artist the lines come from.
Step 4: Bold out the songs when someone guesses correctly.
Step 5: Looking them up on Google or any other search engine is CHEATING!

hallerlake: (Default)
One of these days life will get easier.

Most of you reading this will probably say "Yeah, if you're in a padded room."

Hi everyone - sorry for the radio silence.

Lance and Selena got married recently. Beautiful ceremony. They seem really happy. Funny to see people at the wedding that I hadn't seen since Selena's last wedding. And who I hadn't seen before that since high school.

Time flies :)
hallerlake: (Default)
It's pretty rare that I watch team sports (and rarer still that I watch them on TV). I always seem to find myself watching at least part of the Olympics, though.

Which at least to me seems strange. I have no particular connection to anyone competing; generally, that seems to be a prime motivator for people to watch a given team or athlete. I'm not watching sports that I used to play (well, not during the winter Olympics anyway), and I'm not planning on picking any of them up.

For some reason the Olympics just seem more interesting. Go figure.
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