Road trip

So, on Friday I left for my fiancée’s graduation. Since she was moving in with me, we had to pack all of here stuff into her car and drive up to Colorado Springs. Not really a problem, though Saturday was somewhat hectic from trying to get her room ready for inspection. We didn’t manage to get everything into the car. We ended up having to get two fairly large boxes mailed to us.

While I was down there, my fiancée had me meet all of her friends from college. Ended up going to a bar known as the Bear on Friday night, and went to the Sierra Nevada Brewery Sunday evening. We ended up leaving a bit early on Friday. She doesn’t react well to loud music. At the brewery, we got two of the beer samplers. I ended up trying a sip out of all of the beers, and found, I don’t really like any of them. Beer isn’t for me, I guess.

We also visited with some of her family. We had dinner at Olive Garden on Saturday. Also there were her younger sister, her mom, and her stepfather. While we were there, J received her graduation present from her mom (I should get her one soonish, probably). It was a Canon SD1000 Elph camera. It’s a really nice camera, and it got a lot of use during the car trip. More on the car trip later. We also visited some of her relatives who lived in Chico. They’re all much older than she is. She doesn’t really have any relatives her own age, because both parents are only children.

The graduation itself was fairly boring, but then, most of them are. It was a fairly large commencement ceremony. It took about half an hour for the graduating class to file onto the field, and they had already split the ceremony in half, with half the class having been done on the previous day.

The road trip itself was fairly uneventful for the first section I drove. This was the section from Chico to a little ways from Sacramento. Once we started going up US 50, towards Tahoe, is when it first started going horribly wrong. The first clue was the clouds of smoke coming from the engine compartment. At that point, the only real thing we could do was hope nothing too horrible had gone wrong.

It was a forlorn hope. The car seemed to be going just fine, the rest of the way to Tahoe, and we even stopped at a wedding chapel to talk to the people there. Going downhill from Tahoe was also just fine. I think it was largely because it was downhill though. Once we got back onto the flats of Nevada, we started having problems big time. We think it was the transmission that blew up. Luckily the car mostly gave up the ghost in a decently sized town (Carson City, NV). We had planned on getting farther into Nevada, but quite obviously weren’t. We stayed the night at a Quality Inn, and ended up selling the car to a tow truck driver for $50.

From there, we ended up renting a car (from Hertz). It was a 2007 Ford Taurus. Wasn’t a bad car, though a bit large, and J wasn’t used to driving anything but her own car. It was a good thing she wasn’t driving in a big city, for the most part. Because the car was bigger, it wasn’t hard to fit everything into it that was in the old one.

The next stop on the road was Moab, UT. We stayed at my Aunt’s that night. It was a long drive from Carson City (12 hours or so), so we got in pretty late. The original plan was that we stay there for a day, but because we had a rental at that point, we didn’t really have a choice about staying. Doing so would have cost us $150. Not really an option. I ended up in an argument with my cousin Cat about it, since she wanted us to stay another day. I promised to see her next Thanksgiving.

We got to Colorado Springs that day. When we got in, it was raining. Moving in the stuff wasn’t fun. And then we still have to get everything sorted out. It’s going to take a while.

The Diamond Age

The Diamond Age by Neal Stephenson essentially the story of the growing up of a girl named Nell, after nanotechnology has changed the economic structure of the world. One of the wonders that has resulted from this revolution is a tome called “A Young Lady’s Illustrated Primer”. Essentially, it’s a book that teaches Nell everything she needs to know, including how to read. The copy she has was a stolen bootleg copy of what was supposed to be a one of a kind device for a Duke’s granddaughter. Part of the setup was that voice actors would do the requisite voice work, instead of using a computer generated voice to do so. Thus, Nell gained a mother that she didn’t really have before.

Naturally, it wouldn’t very exciting if all the stuff that happened to her was good. At one point she ends up having to use a sword against a group of men who were fairly intent on killing not only her, but all the rest of the westerners that were in the area.

A good portion of the story is of what her alter ego does in a story the book tells to her. This alter-ego goes from being locked up in a dark citadel, to fighting the Fairy Kings and eventually gaining control over the entire Land Beyond, as the final area is known. Now, since the book is actually a highly advanced computer, the story is more of an RPG that she’s playing at times than what you or I would read in a novel.

Highly Recommended.

Broke dick car

So I get off work today, walk to my car, and start it up. Or rather, I attempt to. The key turns but the engine goes ” “. Nothing to be heard from it. Knowing my battery cable is a bit loose (which is bad, but hasn’t been a problem before), I jiggle it a bit. No dice. I try again. I continue to fail. Eventually a nice lady who works at my building offers to give me a jump. That fails, though different. The engine turns over, but the engine doesn’t catch. It doesn’t even attempt to. A couple tries later, we give it up for dead. So my car’s sitting at work. *sigh* It only had to last a week. Then my fiancée would have been here and I’d at least have another car to use. Ah, well, I’ll fix it after I get back.

My computer

I’ve done a bit of upgrading of my computer in the past couple weeks. Added more RAM (at 4GB now), installed Vista Home Premium x64 (to fully take advantage of the 4GB of RAM, amongst other things). I bought a 24in widescreen monitor from Dell. It’s quite sweet, BTW. I’ve also snagged a copy of Office 2k7 Enterprise (one of the perks of working where I do).

One of the cool things that Word 2k7 added was the ability to write and post blog entries directly, no copy and pasting necessary. So, unlike my first two posts, this one is written in Word.

One of the annoying things about the Vista upgrade is that drivers aren’t very stable, or for that matter, existent. My original webcam doesn’t work, because Creative hasn’t released 64-bit drivers yet, and aren’t currently planning on doing so either. Games are generally a bit slower, but not so much that I can tell. The exception to this is Guild Wars, which runs excruciatingly slowly when I have certain options turned on. In comparison, in XP, those same options allowed 80+ FPS framerates. I hope Arenanet gets around to updating to full Vista compatibility soon. For comparison, it’s about 80fps with those options turned on in XP, versus about 20 in Vista.

The Last Colony

The Last Colony is the sequel to John Scalzi’s Old Man’s War and The Ghost Brigades. It continues the life of John Perry (from Old Man’s War) and Jane (from The Ghost Brigades), along with their daughter Zoe, as they go to administer Humanity’s newest (and quite possibly last) colony, Roanoke. For those who aren’t as well read up on history, the original Roanoke colony disappeared shortly after founding, with none of them ever seen again. Luckily for our protagonists, that isn’t quite the fate that awaits them. Rather, the organization that the Colonial Union tried to set up against the Conclave has collapsed, and the Conclave has begun a ban on colonization not under it’s own auspices.

Since this book focuses more on their life as civilians, much less action is seen compared to the previous two books. However, there is still some (the biggest of which is the destruction of a fleet of over 400 ships). If you like the previous two books in the series, you’ll probably like this one, though you’ll have to wait a while for the fourth.

Recommended.

101 things

101 things to do in 1001 days The Mission: Complete 101 preset tasks in a period of 1001 days. The Criteria: Tasks must be specific (i.e. no ambiguity in the wording) with a result that is either measurable or clearly defined. Tasks must also be realistic and stretching (i.e. represent some amount of work on my part).

  1. start a blog (completed 7 May 2007)
  2. post at least once a week for a year on said blog (ongoing)
  3. write 10 chapters of a story, at least 5k words per chapter
  4. post chapters for review on DS
  5. go to the top of Pike’s Peak
  6. climb the Incline (completed 27 Apr 2007)
  7. buy only necessities for a month
  8. call everyone in my family at least once a month for a year
  9. get a library card
  10. get married
  11. contribute to an open source project with code
  12. archive all completed anime series to DVD
  13. clean and jerk (lifting) 110 pounds
  14. start practicing playing a musical instrument
  15. learn 5 new dinner entree recipes
  16. start IRA (complete 7 May 2007)
  17. invest $2k per year in IRA (ongoing)
  18. save at least $100/month separate from IRA (ongoing)
  19. see Trans Siberian Orchestra in concert
  20. eat “hot” food at Bhan Thai
  21. post 101 things list on blog (complete 7 May 2007)
  22. buy a target pistol
  23. shoot at least a 600 on the NRA rim fire course (slow, timed, rapid fire, 30 shots each)
  24. send birthday presents to female family members such that they show up on time
  25. eat only food I bought from a grocery store for a month
  26. mentor a FIRST team
  27. review every book I read in a year
  28. score above a 90 on the fitness test
  29. learn how to make sushi
  30. ski a black diamond run
  31. do 10 pull-ups or chin-ups in a row
  32. complete a 5K
  33. build a media server
  34. go camping with Jen
  35. buy bedroom furniture
  36. go on a vacation that doesn’t visit family members
  37. clean inside of car
  38. get fireproof safe box
  39. write at least one blog entry about every anime series I watch
  40. learn a new computer language (such as Ruby, Python, etc)
  41. rate all the music in iTunes
  42. keep room clean for a month
  43. Drink a beer
  44. meet someone I know online in person
  45. get my CCAF
  46. get regular optometry exams (1 a year, 3 times)
  47. bake a cake
  48. play or GM a game of Dungeons & Dragons
  49. be on time to work every day for a week
  50. read The Children of Húrin
  51. contact all my friends I haven’t talked to in the past year
  52. watch 10 of the top 100 movies on IMDB
  53. do a random act of kindness
  54. compete in a programming contest (complete 27 April 07) (recompleted 10 May 07)
  55. create a 101 things list for after I finish this one
  56. create a new theme for my blog
  57. Sign up for Amazon Associates (complete 7 May 2007).
  58. Get a newer car.

Yes, I realize the list is about half as long as it should be. I’ve been slow at adding to it. Start date: 21 Apr 2007 (yup, my birthday).