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    • CommentTimeMay 20th 2009 edited
    Avast ye!

    Has it really been a month and a half since someone posted here? UNACCEPTABLE!

    Hi, how's it going?

    Saw the new Star Trek. Quite enjoyed it.

    I went through some of my grandmother's old photos today. Old, faded, beat-up black and white prints from the 40s and 50s and a few colour ones from the 60s. They were awesome and so their time. My grandfather was looking a bit bad motherfucker at his wedding. Some funny pictures of my mom and her siblings as they were growing up too.

    Not a lot else going on, I guess. Work is busy, as usual. Might go see St. Vincent next week. I really don't know how to describe her music, but it's great. Lucky for you, in addition to sexual predators, server errors, and stylesheet atrocities, MySpace also provides streaming music: TaDa!
    Other new-ish music (that sounds like nothing like St. Vincent, incidentally) I recommend: blindoldfreak (ambient electronic) and Zoë Keating (one cello becomes many!).

    Your turn!
    • CommentTimeMay 21st 2009
    Has it really been a month and half. Crap, yes, it has. I've been meaning to post. Really, I was. I just haven't gotten around to it. Really.

    Anywho, yeah, I liked Star Trek too. Wolverine sucked ass. That State of Play movie was actually pretty decent (though I'm not sure what those "newspaper" thinks they're talking about are. I gather that they're some sort of blog that is printed on paper.) Looking forward to Terminator. And Brothers Bloom. I'm pretty sure both will disappoint, but whatever.

    I love old vintage photos. You know, the ones where no one smiles. They're kinda funny.

    Is myspace still around? It's sooooo 2006.

    Yeah, so work is busy and shaping up to remain busy for most of the year. Not as bad as a couple years ago, but still pretty rough. Unless things go smoother than expected. But you know how often that happens. Otherwise, I have a pretty boring summer coming up. Not much going on at all. I'll need to take some time off, but I don't really have any vacation plans. Hrmph.

    I've been playing a lot of Fallout 3. I'm on like, hour 35 or something. It's starting to get a bit on my nerves, so I'm following the main quest at this point and should probably be finishing that off soon. After that I have Burnout Paradise and Valkyria Chronicles just sitting on my shelves. I need to read more. Got caught up with video games and movies and don't spend enough time reading. Still on Downtiming the Night Side. It's good, but again, not spending enough time reading...

    • CommentTimeMay 21st 2009
    I just saw Star Trek tonight at the IMAX theater. That was a lot of action and shaky camera to be all up in my face and two stories tall. But I liked it. I've never watched a whole Star Trek episode from any decade, but I got a lot of the references, probably because they're part of pop culture now.

    Wolverine did suck. I really didn't like Gambit. You basically get 5-10 minutes of exposition on Wolverine's origin, which is all you need really, and then it's action, action, more meaningless action. You know you're watching a bad movie when everyone cheers at a 5 second appearance of Professor Xavier at the end. Yay Patrick Stewart!

    I have not read anything memorable lately. I worry that I'm getting too picky about my reading material. I now have a lot of non-fiction lined up to read, but I'm just not in the mood yet. Instead I've been spending too much time watching old TV shows or ones I couldn't get for lack of cable. I've been enjoying The Dick Van Dyke Show and NewsRadio, and just yesterday I started watching Eureka at hulu.com. Eureka's pilot episode was pretty good I thought. It will satisfy my thirst for science-y fiction.

    In other news, I am so ready to have my own house already. I don't have annoying neighbors or anything like that, but I feel like we're in a holding pattern. There are things I want to do, and just being able to get to stuff in the closet would be nice. 980 sq ft is not enough. Charles has a coworker who is selling his house, and it happens to be located right in the neighborhood that's top on our list. We haven't looked at it yet though.

    The coworker has done a lot of renovations to this house, and he's offered to pay for the rest of the rent and fees on our lease if we buy his house. That would be a big help. If we were to buy it soon, then that would mean shelling out more money than we have budgeted since the original plan was to buy a house 6-7 months from now. But we can sell stocks, stop buying as many stocks, or contribute a little bit less to the 401k. And if we bought a house this year, we could get that $7,500 first-time homeowner's credit in 2010. Kind of hard to pass up what is essentially an interest-free loan right?

    It's all sort of anxiety-inducing. But that's nothing compared to some friends. They're moving to Seattle in 10 days - driving across the country with their two cats and only some of their stuff. Yikes. They're trying to rent their house here in Austin too.

    I'm going to try to sleep now. *crosses fingers*
    • CommentTimeMay 26th 2009
    People keep mentioning the shaky camera thing with respect to Star Trek, but it's not something I noticed. At least, not something pervasive. It's not like Transformers, where it totally made the action on the screen incomprehensible. Perhaps it was a like a toned down Paul Greengrass/Borne Ultimatum type style, where you can tell exactly what's going on despite the spastic camera. I guess I should watch Trek again.

    And Gambit was essentially useless in Wolverine. Especially the part where he escapes after Logan finds him, then Logan starts fighting his brother in the alley and Gambit decides, hey, I know I was trying to get away from this guy, but instead, I'll run right into the middle of their fight and use my spiffy little power staff thingy to blow them up or something. That was so dumb. Also, I love Patrick Stewart, but what the hell did they do to him? He looked sooooo weird. Stupid CGI. Terminator did something similar to much better effect (I think I liked Terminator more than Wolverine, but that's probably just my bias showing)

    I like Eureka a lot. Back when I was really busy with work, Scifi channel was doing some weeklong marathon and I saw a few episodes which I liked, so I netflixed the first season. It gets a bit formulaic as the series goes on, but it's still a lot of fun. I like the balance of weekly crisis vs season-long arc they have in the show. The season-long arcs aren't too complicated, making it easy to just watch any given episode (or watch them out of order) but they keep things interesting.

    Best of luck with the house! I'm lucky in that most of my friends have not been hit too hard with the whole credit crunch/mortgage crisis, but it's certainly something to worry about. I hope all goes well and you're able to get what you need:) I saw you posted about it on 4k, and it seems like to you like it a lot, right?

    Anywho, I need to take some vacation this summer, but I'm not really sure what to do. The last few summers have had big stuff going on, so I didn't have to worry much, but things are sorta settled this year and most folks aren't in the mood/can't afford for big long trips. Come to think of it, it probably wouldn't be a good idea for me either, but still. I worry sometimes that I have too low a threshold for interest in that I would probably have no problem taking a week off and doing nothing but sit around my house doing the usual stuff (games, movies, books, etc...)

    • CommentTimeMay 26th 2009
    I don't think the shakiness would have bothered me had I been watching it on a normal-sized theater screen, or at home on my TV. I was able to follow most of the action. Transformers is effin ridiculous, and I didn't even try to like the movie because the camera work made it impossible to follow.

    I've only heard negative things about Terminator Salvation. I did like the first two movies, but the general story doesn't interest me very much. My interest in robots/cyborgs/androids/AI extends to the line between object and living being. But mechs bashing stuff up and mindlessly killing humans? Meh.

    Yes, we have found a great house. I am in love with it really. I keep saying it's perfect for us, and it is. (It's not truly without any flaws whatsoever of course. I'm not delusional.)

    A year ago when we first started seriously considering buying our first home, we knew what we wanted. I have a graph of our criteria in Word (lol) and they go from Must Have to Strongly Preferred to Deal Breaker. Since then I've been looking at house listings online pretty frequently. I found a few that would have been strong candidates I think, but nothing that completely fit all the boxes I wanted checked. And I was willing to compromise on some things. But this house that Charles' coworker is selling *is* checking 99.9% of the boxes.
    The only thing it's missing - and it's something that most houses do not have anyway - is an enclosed porch. I think that would be a relatively easy and inexpensive project though. There's no drywall, electrical or plumbing work involved. The most expensive part will be extending the roof over the porch.

    This is the only house for sale we've seen in person. Some people, including the sellers, have told me we should look at other houses to compare, and I know it sounds crazy to not look any further, but I feel 100% confident in our choice here. I think I have good judgment, and I listen to my gut if it tells me things aren't quite right. I won't even buy a blouse anymore if the fit is at all uncomfortable.

    We got lucky. I like that we're buying from people we know and that they're really nice people we already liked a lot. They didn't originally intend to move out of this house, but they were looking at investment properties and found a place they fell in love with. They were already in the process of renovations to improve the look of the house as they wanted it, and they're going to complete all those projects before selling it. Their words were "polished." Their tastes align with mine, so the things they've already done, like the kitchen, are a perfect fit for us. I won't list all the things they're doing to the house, but it's very long and I was very surprised at all the details they're going to address.

    The house is in the exact neighborhood we wanted and has the features we require plus our preferences - in great condition (not a "fixer-upper"), hardwood floors, low-maintenance landscaping, older neighborhood, accessible to Charles' dad in his wheelchair...

    I can't deny that I'm very excited and have already taken ownership of the house in my mind. I know that's not smart since we haven't even negotiated a contract. They're waiting to get a final dollar amount on the cost of the renovations from their contractor, then they can tell us how much they want for the house, and we can go from there. Their desired amount, which includes the cost of renovations, is in our price range. I feel positive about the situation. I mean, if I believed in destiny, then I'd probably think this was meant to happen.

    For your vacation, you should come visit me in Austin. You can finally see Master Pancake Theater. There's plenty of stuff to keep an out-of-towner busy for a long time. But if you're interested in something like a film festival, that's not until October. Oh, and of course summer here is hot.

    What do you enjoy doing most on a vacation? I like doing things and being active but with a few days of rest before going back to the ol' routine. Whenever Charles uses short bursts of vacation time, he just plays video games. Why do what you already do?
    • CommentTimeMay 28th 2009
    Yes, best of luck with the house, Spence. Sounds like you really love it.

    Didn't see Wolverine but played the now-obligatory tie-in video game and... it was actually fun. I thought movie tie-in games were supposed to suck...? (At least, when released in a timely fashion. Deadlines or marketing gimmicks or whatever. That Scarface game that came out a few years ago, decades after the film, is pretty cool.)

    I need a good vacation. I'm thinking the Moon, though it's expensive in the summer. Not really BUT THAT WOULD BE AWESOME. Am going to Vegas for a weekend in a month but that's hardly what I was thinking. It's more like going to a really big, expensive club for three days. Nevertheless, I'm looking forward to it.
    • CommentTimeMay 29th 2009
    I have a very soft spot for the first Terminator movie, which I consider to be one of the best films of all time, or at least, one of my favorites. A good portion of that is because it was among the first movies I saw and that it totally blew me away, causing me to watch it on an almost daily basis for quite a long time. It just never gets old to me. So there's a part of me that actually enjoys the sequels, even the third and yes, this latest one. I am disappointed because they obviously won't stand the test of time. In essense, the only reason I like them is because they are associated with the original, which lends them unearned gravitas (the same could be said for the Indiana Jones sequels or some of the Star Wars films).

    Again, best of luck with the house. It sounds perfect!

    Austin is where Fantasic Fest is held, correct? I heard a lot of awesome things about that festival last year and would love to attend sometime... alas, I don't think that will happen this year. The timing of the festival is pretty bad for me. It always will be because September/October is the beginning of 4th quarter, which is when things heat up for retail companies like the one I work for. But this year in particular will be extra special bad. Next year, perhaps not as much. We'll see.

    Quite frankly, I don't have a great answer for what I enjoy doing most on a vacation. My favorite vacation of all time was the cruise I took a few years ago. The things I liked the most about it was that it was an all-inclusive package, so I didn't have to worry about pretty much anything (the only thing that really cost money were drinks and gambling) and that about 90% of my core group of friends were able to go on the trip (such coordination is getting more and more difficult with time and families, etc...). Also, the cruise setting provides numerous options for activities or places to just go and relax (i.e. good for the introvert who can sneak away and chill on a beach or by the pool, etc...) When it comes to stuff I already do, like movies, books, and video games, there's something to be said for doing those things on vacation as well. I find them relaxing and fun, and during a regular workweek, each activity gets cramped or driven out altogether.

    I would love to go to the moon. Or vegas for that matter. But both wouldn't be fun without other people, and it seems that most people are settling for simple trips to the beach this year. Not that there's anything wrong with the beach, but still...