Archive for October, 2007

Mario Kart Double Dash

Tuesday, October 9th, 2007

Mario Kart Double Dash Remember, my room mate Sririam got a Wii not too long ago. Now, my primary interest in the Wii is as a 250% more expensive than it should be Game Cube, so that I can once again play the aforementioned game. Mario Kart is my game, so much as I have one. Last time I seriously played Double Dash was when I was living in Morrill Tower with Chris, which was sophomore year of college…. 2004. Its been 3 years; I’m not as rusty and I expected to be. I was pretty bored over the long weekend (I got Columbus Day off) so in addition to starting Arrested Development (now in season 2), I unlocked everything you can with the 4 non-all-cup-tour cups on 50, 100, and 150cc cups. I’ve never actually unlocked anything on the game before, as Chris came to me with everything already unlocked, so that was fun.

Mario Kart + Wavebirds

Wavebirds, thats what you call those wireless game cube controllers. They are ridiculously difficult to acquire. It seems Nintendo stopped producing them, and demand is way up because no one wants to use the plain old wired controllers with the wii (that just seems wrong). The only place I could find any is ebay, and the go for ~$45 a pop on there regularly. I got lucky though, so I thought. I found someone selling the game and 2 wavebrids (all separate auctions but the same seller), and I won all of the auctions. That saved me ~$12 in shipping, which made things more reasonable, and the game went for way less than retail. Anyways one of them was missing a part that was clearly pictured in the image. The seller has agreed to let me return that one, and 2 pristine controllers arrived today from another auction. I’m only 1 short now, and then, once my room mates get up to speed, the tournaments will commence.

Erik’s Deck Party

Monday, October 8th, 2007

Because of the unseasonably warm, wonderful weather on Friday one of my coworkers, Erik, had an impromptu dinner party on the roof deck of his apartment, which is at the base of beacon hill. I had never been to his place before, because he only hosts board gaming when I am unable to do so, which usually means that I am out of town. I don’t think I’ve ever been to a dinner party where the dinner was delivered Thai food before, but it worked. I got there just in time to provide input into what to get for dinner, but I didn’t, as I’m a Thai food novice still. I was late because there was a fire in the park street T station, which well, that just screws with everything. Being late also means I missed the last bit of daylight with which to get some nice skyline photos from a new vantage point. The view from his roof deck is pretty unique. The images are situated clockwise from left to right:

Looking Up the Hill The Back Bay The Fenway Lights Cambridge Charles T Stop.

The party was a lot of fun. There were only a few people from work there, most of the people where from Community Boating. Erik is always telling us stories about these people so it was interesting to meet them. It was pretty dark up on the deck, so dark I’ve no idea what Thai dishes I actually ate, or what was in them, but they were yummy. We were also, very surprisingly, able to see 3 shooting stars. Yes, in the city, so they must have been amazingly bright. I only saw 2 of them. One went from north to south right over the middle, and darkest, part of the sky. The other a few hours later, went from north to the south west, directly into the lights at Fenway, but we were still able to see its last bright explosion through all the light pollution.

Beauty & the Geek Rankings

Thursday, October 4th, 2007

Beauty and the Geek actually airs on Tuesday, not Thursday as my blog would make it seem. Not much to report here, Jesse was almost eliminated, but survived. Luke was hardly in the show at all. Thats sort of a good thing, in that they will include you in the show more if you are more likely to be eliminated. I found a site, an ad laden annoying scummy site, but they are doing weekly rankings. In the first ranking Luke had the top spot, but hes slipped a little, down to number 3 and Jesse jumped to number 2, although the reasoning there is more wishful than scientific.

Of Mashups, Podcasts, and Cat Macros

Thursday, October 4th, 2007

Check out this great Google maps mashup I found: Zip code mashup. I found it because a packaged arrived yesterday and the delivery confirmation claimed it was sent to my address in zip code 02143, which I thought wrong. So I wanted to check and make sure that I’m actually in 02144 and not 02143, because I could easily have memorized the wrong zip code. Turns out 02144 is correct, like I thought, but I was surprised to learn that Somerville has 3 whole zip codes to itself. That seems like a lot to me, but then, it is the northeast. Oh, apparently, we’re calling these things special google maps overlays “mashups” now. A “mashup” really is just the result of open access to information; people put together information from different sources. Thats just an awful name for something so common. Its also kind of misleading like the term Podcast.

A podcast, is just an audio file (often in MP3 format). It is nothing else. Podcasts are often delivered via RSS, which is nothing more than an attempt to turn the “user pulls the content” nature of the world wide web on its head. That would be, into a “users have content pushed to them” medium, such as television. RSS does this by wasting a ton of resources polling for updates. Any well seasoned programmer will tell you the polling is an awful idea unless you have no other way, and if you have to do it, maybe you should rethink why you need to do it in the first place. I tend to think that making the internet more like TV is also an awful idea, so that even this friggen blog automatically offers an RSS feed irks me. Right, so a podcast is an audio file that is pushed to the user, its simple, the only software you need is an audio playing program and a web browser. The web browser will display the XML that implements the RSS feed, and you can easily find the link to the audio file, download it and play it. But the name podcast makes people think that there is something special about this audio file, and that they need to have special software like iTunes which combines and audio player and an RSS reader, when in fact, neither are needed. I know it sounds cool, but nomenclature should make things as simple as they are, not more complex.

On the subject of names for things I don’t like: “lolcats” for pictures of cats with words on them. Well I don’t like pictures of cats with words on them much in general because most of them aren’t very creative and the shorthand English doesn’t make them funnier. Now, really creative ones I’ve got nothing against, but I would prefer to call them Cat Macros, which is an accepted alternative term. The worst part about lolcats is that I’ve heard (not heard of) people use the term when talking about images in the same style but without actual cats in them. If you add a humorous caption to an image of a turtle it should be a Turtle Macro, not an lolcat.

Basta Pasta

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2007

Basta Pasta This week Caroline picked Basta Pasta for Wednesday Night Dinner. It is this tiny Italian place near central square specializing in lots of pasta for not much money. I got there early, as I am prone to do so I walked down to the river and took in the sights. It was a little hard to find, as it is not nearly as well marked underneath that overhanging awning as it is on the pictured side. We had 12 people this time, which is possibly the most since I’ve been with the group. That left exactly 8 seats remaining in the place. I got the Meatballs Pomodoro because home made meatballs sounded good; as it turns out, they weren’t so good, but the pasta was excellent. Everyone seemed to agree about the pasta. And there definitely was enough (Basta) pasta.

There was a bit of drama between a foreign friend of Jed’s and some locals occupying 4 of those seats. This was the kind of place where you stand in line, order, and then wait for your food’s name to be called out by a difficult to understand Italian. I’m not sure what the term is for that kind of restaurant, other than difficult. It seems that Jed’s friend and one of the locals order the same thing, Chicken Cacciatore (if memory serves), and the food did not come out in the same order in which the orders were placed, which is confusing enough. Jed’s friend ended up with what the local thought was his food. However, it took the local about 25 minutes to notice, well, maybe not to notice but to come over and yell at our poor friend. I, at the time, was clueless, and his yelling didn’t clue me in, and I speak English, so I don’t think the local was satisfied with the quite huh, he got, but he went away and continued eating the food he had received.

The last word on this place, and last week’s Italian place is that if you want really good Italian food you should goto the North End, even if it is more expensive.