Archive for May, 2008

WND Cookout

Friday, May 16th, 2008

Wednesday Night Dinner this week was a cookout potluck and Aaron and Amber’s place. There was a better than usual showing owing to the draw of ribs and the coincident celebrations. The cookout coincided with Amber’s complementation of Harvard law school and with Paul’s annual departing to Tallahassee. The cookout lasted much longer than a usual dinner. I wasn’t the last one to go and I left at 11. It was a good time. I didn’t manage to get a picture of the ribs, they didn’t last that long. But I did snap some shots some of the other food:

The French fries were my contribution. They are an old standby for potlucks for me. They are good because the unique, eliminating the primary problem with potlucks being duplicated dishes. I start with potatoes and just use a large pot and cheap-o vegetable oil to fry them. They are, however, not easy to make and offer a very short shelf life. They are best eaten within an hour or two of being made, and they don’t reheat well so you have to make them immediately before leaving. They are also very difficult to cook properly. The primary cause here is the difficult of judging the temperature of the oil and wide variance in the size of fries. I would prefer to make large or normal sized fires, but make smaller Steak and Shake style fires is much more reliable. Of course like actual Steak and Shake fries their small size contributes to the short shelf life.

Also, you must be careful to not allow the oil to boil over the side of the pot as you dump in fries. If this occurs you instantly have a large oil fire on your hands. I have made French fries 4 times (including this one) and this is the first time I’ve managed to avoid an oil fire. The irremovable black charing on my stainless steel pot is an ever present reminder of my past attempts. Avoiding oil fires significantly reduces the time required for preparation, and is therefore recommended. I’m sure my former room mates can attest to other reasons to avoid such fires.

Forgetting Sarah Marshall

Monday, May 12th, 2008

I finally saw Forgetting Sarah Marshall this weekend! I have been wanting to see it very much since it opened a week before ROFLCon, and I finally convinced a co-worker to go see it with me (actually he was just out of town for a while he wanted to see it of his own accord). I must say that is was supremely well written, and hilarious. Its like a Will Farrel movie if it was well written and didn’t rely on being idiotically stupid for laughs.

It was written by Jason Segel, who plays Marshall on easily one of my top 2 tv shows, How I Met Your Mother. (The other one being Lost). Every time I see the title I can’t help but think that he chose for the title to include the name of his HIMYM character on purpose to exploit the obvious synergies. There were a lot of great lines in the movie, similar to the kind of amazing lines that Ted delivers on HIMYM. It made me think that Jason Segel must also have a writing credit on the tv show, but (I just checked and) according to IMDB he does not. Maybe they do a lot of ad libbing on the show, or he stole a lot of ideas from the writers on the show, cause they seemed similar.

The movie also features Mila Kunis, of That ’70s Show fame, who was excellent, as all the reviewers said she would be. It’s good to see her acting again and not, as the voice of Meg on Family Guy, getting marginalized. That show, by the way, is so bad now. It has been on a steady decline since episode 2, and now its on episode 110! The real surprise to me was that Kenneth from 30 Rock (Jack McBrayer) essentially reprised his tv show roll in the movie. It’s such a good character that it never hurts to see more of him.

I have some praise for the plot as well. At one point, I was unable to decide which of two directions the movie would go. I was also unable to decide which direction I wanted it to go. This is a common problem with romantic comedies. It becomes easy to pick sides, and then the movie will either do what you want or not. If it does what you want you call it predictable, and if it doesn’t then you call it bad — a damned if you do damned if you don’t situation. Forgetting Sarah Marshall avoids that completely by creating two, round (in the literary sense) and compelling choices. If you’re looking for something less exciting and more funny than Iron Man, go see this one!

Gas Tax Holiday as a 419 Scam

Monday, May 5th, 2008

Rob sent me a link to his hilariously deadpan letter, which poses the purposed gas tax [1] [2] as a Nigerian 419 scam letter. It has everything:

  • Name drops important heads of state who need your help.
  • Provides a reason why your help is required
  • Offers a sum of money that you will receive for helping said party.
  • Requests that you send money to a foreign nation.

Luckily nether Hillary nor McCain will implement their plan this summer. But if they are elected to office we’ll be in for 4 years of awful plans just like this one. You, my non existent Indiana reader, I’m talking to you!

The rest of you are tired of hearing about this I bet. I know I am, but writing vents frustration. I reall like this question and answer from the bottom of an MSNBC article explaining things:

Is it true that oil prices have been purposely manipulated to permit drilling in Alaska (ANWAR) and in other areas of the U.S. that are protected?
– C. J., Canfield, Ohio

LED Throwies

Sunday, May 4th, 2008

Photo by Q-Branch

While reading a random slashdot article about expanding wifi coverage or some such thing — its not important — I came across this wikipeida article on “Throwies.” Apparently a brief piece of internet culture which I’ve missed before. They are LEDs powered by a battery and affixed to a magnet. The goal of the creators was to enable non-destructive graffiti. That seems cool, but I think what they have really done is turn the whole world into a light bright! Awesome! I totally want to make a bunch of these, get a group together and go draw on something! I bet the xkcd crowd would be into this.

Iron Man

Saturday, May 3rd, 2008

I saw Iron Man today with some of my coworkers. It is as good as you have heard that it is! Assuming that you heard that it fucking rocks. I didn’t know anything about the comic book before seeing the movie, but that didn’t matter. It is defiantly in my top 3 super hero movies. That list also includes X-Men 1 and Spiderman 1.

What made it so great? Well, all the acting was very genuine and authentic feeling. This is especially true for Gwyneth Paltrow and Robert Downey Jr. Also, the plot had some great twists and turns. There was good pacing with lots of action, but also plot and character development. Oh oh, and, as one of OSU Paul’s friend’s described it the movie consists of “2+ hours of gadget porn.”

There are some flaws, one glaring that I will call out. In the movie at the start the Iron Man must carry around a 12 volt car battery to power an electromagnet in his chest to keep him from dying. This, as you might imagine, is highly inconvenient. If the magnet is off for too long he will die. That fails to use the switching on/off capabilities unique to electromagnets and opens up the easy option to just use a regular MAGNET! Of course, if he had a regular magnet the iron man might never have been made, so I guess its forgivable? Anyways go see it.

Updates that Suck (and Don’t)

Friday, May 2nd, 2008

I recently bugged Chris about updating this wordpress install, which has been complaining about being out of date for months now. He kindly updated it for me today. I have to say that it has some nifty new features, and is a lot more dynamic working (at least when you’re in the admin area). However, it has a problem. They changed a lot about how the page I spend most of my time on (the write a post page works). They made it suck for instance to preview the post while editing it. They also made it suck to include images.

In news of updates that don’t suck, Mario Kart Wii Rocks! I’m off to play it now.

New Hard Drives

Friday, May 2nd, 2008

Last month Best Buy Online ran a great deal on some 1Terabyte Seagate hard drives. I have been looking for new drives ever since I hit the 90% full level on my current 1Terabyte mirrored setup. 90% full is the magic number where various unreliable internet sources say that file fragmentation can become a performance issue. Not that I need speed out of my huge media storage, but its nice to have. The main problem with 90% full is that you run out of space of course, so I pounced on this deal, but not before they were sold out. So I back-ordered the drives.

The website said to expect 2 weeks, but we all know that’s a bullshit number. I sent them off a nice email at 2 weeks to see what was up, and the response made things seem grim. Like they would much prefer me to cancel my order than them send me the drives. But low and behold yesterday they arrived! It was certainly unexpected. Here’s what I got.

I could just add them to my current setup to get a whopping 2Terbyte partition, but I don’t actually need that much more space. The thought of all those drives (which I have room and connections for) heating up the inside of the case and wasting a bunch of power makes me uneasy. Instead of that, my current setup uses the two new 1Tb drives in place of two old 500Gigabyte drives. This maintains the heat and power usage of the previous setup and still increases my space by 50%. I of course can always re-add those 500Gb drives later if I need to, and I fix up my power and cooling situation.

1.4Terabytes! 60% Free