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Valid HTML 4.01!

June 24, 2001

I managed to get Apache 1.3.20, PHP 4, and Oracle 8i talking to each other. This is a good thing because it means (A) I can get stuff working if I decide to and (B) I can play around with Oracle at home now and make this site more dynamic and clever.

A few weeks ago I bought a new guitar at a pawn shop. More details in my musicianship section. I've been learning various songs by Van Halen, Living Colour, etc. using sheet music / guitar tablature from various web sites. I wanted to learn something from the kick-ass new King's X album, Please Come Home... Mr. Bulbous. (Don't ask me about the name, I don't understand either.) Unfortunately it seems that Ty Tabor tuned his guitar down three and a half steps from E to A for this album... that's an old Black Sabbath "make it heavy" trick; I didn't realize that's why this album sounds so chunky. No way am I going to detune my guitar (floating tremelo makes it take ~15 minutes to change tuning!) just for this album... but I really wanted to learn that stuff because it totally rocks. Dammit.

The real estate market is loosening up: rental rates are down 11% in the last 2 months.

Perhaps you've seen the commercials, but Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within opens in theatres on July 11. This movie is interesting because it's at the forefront of Computer Generated Imagery (CGI). Unlike Toy Story, where the toys are made to look like real toys but the humans are caricatures, this movie contains extremely lifelike computer-generated human models. This is the kind of stuff that sci fi writers and technology pundits have been talking about for years, when actors are no longer needed and a movie can consist of 100% fake people. It's kinda scary because Hollywood celebrities are already so different from regular people (ultra thin, or more fit, or have had extensive cosmetic surgery, etc.) that watching films and TV distorts the viewer's idea of what a normal person looks like. Now the technology exists to make perfect, idealized, or even ridiculously exaggerated fake people come to life - what effect is that going to have? Aside from that aspect of it, the folks making the movie (including Hironobu Sakaguchi, who is the creative genius behind all the games and the movie) have a history of making amazingly deep, beautiful fantasy universes and storylines in their Final Fantasy video roleplaying game series. I've played Final Fantasy VII, VIII, and IX (yes it is ironic to have a series of Final Fantasies!) and they are set in wonderful, fascinating, exciting, gorgeous worlds. Of course they are for the PlayStation (1, not PS2) so the graphics are composed of fabulous still images, amazing pre-rendered "cut scenes", and mediocre real-time 3D animation. I have very high hopes for this movie because the plot should be interesting (and bizarre!) and the visuals should be absolutely stunning. I am very excited to see it and you bet I will see it on opening night. Check out the web site (link above), and be sure to look at the Production section if nothing else - it shows off some of the amazing techniques they've had to invent for this movie.

June 17, 2001

My friend Scott is in town for a few days. We saw Rent at the Orpheum. Guess what? It's awful. I can't believe it won a Tony. What were they thinking? The performers were good, but they can't make the script not suck. Gosh, is having AIDS and being homeless in alphabet city in Manhattan that much fun? I had no idea! It's so glamorous. Ugh. I was ready to walk out halfway through the first number. We stayed for the whole thing, for some reason, and it got slightly better in the second half. Whee.

Taqueria Cancun makes fantastic burritos. Seriously. They're really really good. The canteloupe juice is good too, although a bit weird.

I got my Palm V replaced because the Graffiti area was scratched and it wasn't reading the stylus input correctly. Somebody challenged my need to have a Palm at all being that I'm not working, and I had to explain how I'm actually still doing a lot of stuff and have a lot to remember... I just can't keep track of stuff without it. I had a day-timer and that was really lame - my handwriting is bad, and the whole act of scribbling stuff out, erasing and rewriting, tearing pages out, etc. was really bad. I ended up spending a lot of time tidying up, consolidating, hunting all over town for refills... it's ridiculous. Look man, I need this thing, OK!?!?! I have so many to-dos in there, so many little memo notes, so many birthdays and appointments and so on... and I don't have a bunch of little slips of paper with phone numbers on them, no little black book, no wall calendar with stuff scribbled on it, no desk blotter with a calendar, no rolodex. I have this thing. So there.

June 16, 2001

Jason and I went to the Sony Style store at the Metreon today to check out some electronics stuff we are planning to buy (for me, a receiver, and for Jason, a digital camera). Why is it easier to choose a laptop computer than it is to pick a digital camera om just one manufacturer? I mean, there really don't need to be that many features, and why are some of them only present in the mid-range models? If it's a good feature, why not have it all the way up to the high end? These companies do SUCH a bad job of differentiating their own products from one another, and part of that is probably because they are barely different from other products they make... argh. Overly complicated product lines make me an angry consumer. Yeah.

June 10, 2001 rules. Turn up the audio on your computer.

June 5, 2001

I'm attending the JavaOne conference this week. Attendance is clearly down from last year but that's not surprising; lots of tech companies are in trouble and surely conferences and travel expenses are locked down.