tempest in a teacup

the pointless musings of a strange recluse

Archive for the 'Real life stuff' Category

The teacup lies dormant

Oh hey, I forgot about this thing. Again.

Here’s what’s changed in my life since… December 24th 2014? Really? It’s been that long?

  • I got married (this might be amusing to people who remember my IRC rants of old)
  • Ten days after returning from the wedding we got in a car accident and totaled my car
  • A month after that our water heater failed in spectacular fashion and forced us out of our home for six weeks
  • I bought an Xbox One, a Wii U and a PS4 Pro
  • I enrolled in and started attending an accelerated part-time MBA program
  • My free time evaporated (might be related to the previous point)

So yeah, I’ve been busy.

Does this mean a return to regular updates? I don’t know. I should start putting thoughts down somewhere, although I don’t know what topics I should really be writing about. I do think that I could benefit from a sounding board for the thoughts bouncing around in my head that’s not limited to 140 characters, particularly since Twitter is not a platform well-suited to profundity or nuance. Not that I claim to demonstrate either attribute, mind you.

Oh well, I’ll see you all in three years!

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Tonight on IRC

[18:57] <SonicTempest> so anyway
[18:57] <SonicTempest> something funny happened to me today
[18:57] <SonicTempest> I went to a bakery to get a sandwich for lunch and they gave me a sandwich with sausage in it even though I asked for a vegetarian one
[18:57] <SonicTempest> I made a snarky comment about it on Twitter
[18:57] <SonicTempest> and within a few minutes they found me on Twitter and offered me a gift card
[18:57] <SonicTempest> I was like lol wtf
[19:00] <bonta> lolz
[19:00] <bonta> how the fuck did they know it was you
[19:05] <SonicTempest> I mentioned the name of the place in my Tweet
[19:05] <SonicTempest>
http://twitter.com/sonictempest/status/22830612889
[19:06] <SonicTempest> http://twitter.com/GrandCentralSEA/status/22831925439
[19:07] <bonta> hahaha
[19:08] <SonicTempest> WEB 2.0 HAS CHANGED THE WORLD

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It’s their line, and they’re awesome at it

Went to see Whose Live Anyway this past weekend. I’m a big fan of Whose Line is it Anyway? (both the British and American versions, before you ask) so being able to watch this show was a real treat for me. It’s hard for me to pin down what my favourite part of the show was, so here’s a quick list of greatest hits (no pun intended):

  • Drew Carey being a secret guest performer (although I should have guessed he’d show up, given that he’s the part owner of Seattle Sounders FC)
  • Ryan Stiles and Greg Proops making a reference to the ‘Africa’s a continent’ incident from Whose Line
  • Chip Esten and Jeff Davis taking the song title ‘Home Alone’ and turning it into a song about a prostitute called Malone
  • Chip playing ‘The Ghost of Billy Mays’ during Celebrity Improv Jeopardy
  • Jeff doing his Christopher Walken impression during the same game
  • Ryan’s ‘WTF?’ face after someone in the audience suggested ‘Bangkok’ for the category ‘Names of places in China’

Actually, I don’t think I can remember all of them…it was generally a good time all around. Now I just need to hope that the Colin and Brad Show makes a stop around here sometime soon…

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Does that mean I stop getting older?

I’m not sure at what point I stopped celebrating my birthday. It might have been when I started college and realised that it occurred smack bang in the middle of Fall midterms. Whatever it is, at some point in the last…seven years or so I just lost interest in celebrating my birthday.

To anyone wondering what the relevance of my above statement is, I turned 25 on Sunday. And to mark the occasion, I, uh, worked on some slides for a presentation I have to give at work, and ordered some Chinese food.

Yeah…I’m not sure what’s up with me either.

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Broadcasting from a new location

Finished my move last week, and I’ve been at the new place for just over a week now. It’s a great apartment, and the location is pretty convenient. For instance, if I feel like eating out, I no longer need to take a bus anywhere. I still need to go back to the old place and finish cleaning up before doing the final walkthrough with my former landlord – I’ll probably be doing that this weekend.

What else have I been up to? WelI, I tried out the Crysis demo on my PC, and I was surprised to find out that it was perfectly playable at my monitor’s native resolution with everything turned up to High. Sure, I had to leave AA turned off, but the game still looked stunning, and it played pretty well too. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to get it, but now that I’ve tried it out, it’s most definitely on my buy list.

Also, a lot of people bitch about Comcast, but the immediate payoff for me has been

  1. Being able to watch Discovery Channel again
  2. Not having three-digit ping to TF2 servers outside Seattle

So yeah, I’m pretty happy.

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The last thing I wanted to hear…

…from my aunt, when I called to congratulate my cousin on her wedding:

“It’s going to be your turn next!”

As if I wasn’t aware of the guillotine blade on its downward trajectory already…

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Incoherent rambling

About time for one of these posts, I think.

I’ve found a new place in downtown Seattle that I’ll be moving to next month. My current complex is honestly not that bad except for two problems:

  1. The ISP choices are terrible (I currently have 1.5Mbps DSL, which is the highest speed available)
  2. There isn’t really much of anything within reasonable walking distance

The new place has a supermarket on the ground floor (yay) and a few restaurants within walking distance. The ISP is Comcast, which may be dubious to some but I’m willing to go through the annoying setup process if it means I get a download rate from this century. The only downside is that I’ll either need to take a bus or a company shuttle to work, but eh, I need to start getting up earlier anyway. Getting all my stuff moved over is going to be a pain though…the number of my possessions has increased considerably since I moved to Seattle.

Speaking of Internet, I braved uTorrent a while back to watch some fansubbed anime, namely the first two episodes of K-On! I like it, but I probably won’t be able to watch the rest of it since BitTorrent basically nukes my connection (for reasons I haven’t figured out yet).

Still waiting for Sony to patch in PS2 support for the Madcatz SF4 sticks…I figure if it doesn’t come within another few patches I may just sell this to buy a HRAP3 (which does work for PS2 games). As it stands I need to use my old Tekken 5 stick over an adapter, and going from the awesome Sanwa joystick + buttons to the decent-ish Hori stick and buttons is…well, it’s like owning a Ferrari and driving a Honda instead, if you get my drift.

Installed iPhone OS 3.0 last week. My phone seems to be a lot more responsive now, so it’s obvious they’ve put some work into performance. I don’t use copy/paste much, but the push notifications have been very handy – I finally installed an IM client (Beejive) on my phone thanks to this new feature. Of course, if the damn thing supported background tasks in the first place this wouldn’t be an issue…

That said, I kind of wish AT&T didn’t want $400 from me for the 3GS. That new camera and faster CPU are really enticing.

I took out my guitar for the first time in months today, and all I can say for now is ‘wtf I suck.’ Hopefully this will change.

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Writers’ block, yet again

Once again I’m finding myself casting around for something to write about. I’ve got a few ideas, but I honestly don’t think that I could do any of the subjects justice.

So I figure I’ll just start writing stuff and see where it goes from here.

Work has been pretty hectic lately – the project that I’ve been working on for about 4 months now had its first production milestone last week and my team was involved in a last-minute scramble to get everything in place. The first milestone is now done, in that my team’s contribution is more or less over, and after my week oncall I’ve shifted over to working on our next milestone. The last few weeks have been pretty hellish because of some mistakes we made early in the project, and I’m doing my best to ensure that we don’t run into the same problems on our second milestone.

As for what sort of project it is, I’m not sure I’m at liberty to say – suffice it to say that it’s a company-wide initiative that will have a pretty big impact on how all the teams in my organization do their jobs.

I actually had a dream last week where I was interviewing with some other team within the company, although for some reason the team worked in an indoor playground. Not going to bother trying to interpret that one…

I’ve started looking at apartment listings, for a number of reasons. Most importantly, Amazon is going to be moving to a new campus downtown, and I’d like to move somewhere closer to the new campus, even if it means I have to commute to work by bus for a few months. On top of that, while my current apartment is really close to work, it’s not particularly close to anything else, meaning that I have to take a bus to do pretty much anything important. And let’s not forget that the effective duopoly on Internet providers in my neighbourhood means that I get to choose between crappy cable and crappy DSL. I currently use the latter, and it’s the #1 reason why I haven’t watched any of the new anime that’s come out in the last…2 years or so. 1.5 Mbps means that even Youtube ends up being a bandwidth hog. Not to mention my pings in TF2 and L4D are awful, even to servers that are relatively close by.

My dad suggested buying an apartment, which is probably not a bad idea seeing how prices seem to be heading lower every day, but I haven’t contacted any realtors yet. Part of me is wondering if buying a property when I’m on a visa that might not be renewed in 2011 is a really good idea or not.

I guess I’ll think about it some more.

On a side note, the CEO of the OnLive service that I talked about in my previous entry has apparently been on the PR warpath, offering interviews to a lot of big gaming sites about why all the naysayers are wrong. Apparently they’ve spent seven years developing a video compression algorithm that can get frame data down to very small sizes, which is great, but that also means the stream is going to have compression artifacts, reducing image quality overall. On top of that you’re apparently locked to 720p or 480p, so if your monitor’s native resolution is something else, you can’t play in full screen mode without blurring the image.

So yeah, it’s not for me. Or for anyone with taste, I’d say.

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Water, water everywhere

The snow stopped just around the time I returned, but instead now it’s raining all the time. This would not normally be an issue (this is Seattle after all) but this rain is accompanied by some pretty strong wind, making walking to and from work a bit of a chore.

Oh well, I suppose I need the exercise.

Somehow it slipped my mind throughout the entire return flight that I was to be on call this week. I literally realised this the day before I returned to work. No matter, though – I find my on call weeks to be a decent break between the usually hectic (and sometimes tedious) pace of everyday development work. Although I am looking forward to what I’ll get to work on next week.

My new laptop is plugged into a power socket right in front of the TV. I’m not sure what I want to use it for just yet, although a Media Center PC seems most likely since it runs Vista and has a convenient HDMI output for my TV. Said HDMI output also lets me play stuff like Outrun 2006 in 1360×768 on a nice big screen. Quite nice, I have to say…pity the graphics card seems to have some issues rendering the game at its proper speed.

Speaking of computer issues, this news has me interested a fair bit. I’m not usually one to install pre-release versions of operating systems, but I’ve heard almost nothing but positive impressions about Windows 7 (as opposed to Vista which was sending mixed signals even when it was in alpha). Kagura is about due for a format anyway, so I think I’ll delete my unused Linux partition and create one for trying out Windows 7.

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Waiting in the San Francisco departure lounge

Second leg of my flight was much worse than the first – we ran into a jetstream which caused the plane to get jerked about like crazy while I was trying to sleep. I did watch a couple of episodes of House and Fawlty Towers though. Hugh Laurie and John Cleese are made of win.

I got dragged into a detailed inspection of my checked baggage upon arrival because I was carrying food (the usual assortment of Indian provisions, microwaveables and most importantly INSTANT NOODLES) and I had an item (cumin seeds) confiscated for the first time ever! Good thing I have a spare at home.

My iPhone tells me that it’s still snowing in Seattle. Not happy…

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