Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Old Book, New Book #11: The Gypsy Morph -> The Best of H.P. Lovecraft

The Gypsy Morph

Finished up The Gypsy Morph about a week ago. Yes, it was good. No, it was not the best Shannara book ever. I enjoyed it, but would probably never read the series again. I do like how Terry Brooks has tried to bring the Knight of the Word trilogy together with the Shannara world, I just haven't enjoyed his more recent stuff as much as his older stuff.

Best of H.P. Lovecraft

As for the new book, I put a request on this H.P. Lovecraft book on the library website back at the start of the summer, and despite just being the second person waiting for it took until now for me to get it. Kind of weird for a book that was published (in this edition) in 1983. Anyway, it was so long ago now that I don't remember the exact reason that I wanted to read it at the time. Its a collection of short horror stories from someone who wrote around the turn of the 20th century. I've finished the first couple and I'm definitely interested. I haven't got to any of the Cthulhu stories yet, which is what I think Lovecraft is most known for. In fact I saw a trailer for some Cthulhu story a month or two ago. Anyway, I'll let you know how it goes.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Watch This Wednesday #45: Bears, Beets, Battlestar Galactica

The Office is back for Season 5, starting tomorrow. I'm interested to see how this season shakes out. So far I've thought that Season 2 has been the best, and since then the episodes have suffered from plots that were a little too ridiculous (Michael driving his car into the lake on the advice of the navigation system) or were too much about relationship drama.

I've always felt like the strongest aspect of the show is Jim's interplay with Dwight. When Jim moved to the Hartford branch, this aspect suffered to the point that they started having Jim interact with Dwight over the phone or via fax. From Dwight. From the future. Anyway, someone put together a nice compilation of Jim and Dwight interactions that I'm sharing today. Far from a complete compendium, its definitely a good start, featuring the Conflict Resolution scene with a large list of pranks, and culminating with Jim dressing as Dwight.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Big Digital Hits The Big 3-0

 In search of a new fashion consultant

So...today is my 30th birthday. And it seems like it should be a time for reflection, not that I don't do plenty of that already. Seriously though, how often is it that a person has a 30th birthday? Not very often. Birthdays marking the decades of one's life are pretty big milestones on the journey of life. 10 years ago, I was in the MTC, still about a month away from leaving for Argentina. I didn't even have my first webmail address yet. 20 years ago, I don't really recall where I was, but I was in 4th grade. 30 years ago, well I don't remember much of that.

Definitely this 3rd decade seems to have gone by the quickest, but in retrospect, I still managed to accomplish quite a bit. I finished one degree (Computer Science) and nearly completed another (Biomedical Informatics). I've managed to stay out of debt and even save up a bit of money. I own two computers (and gave away a third). I've made lots and lots of friends. And considering that when I returned to Salt Lake following the mission I knew at most a handful of people. I feel lucky to have been blessed with all the great friends that I've made along the way. For all my work with computers, I definitely still think that people are what make life enjoyable.

I am, of course, still single, a fact of which I am very much aware, and with which I sometimes I think am getting a little too comfortable. I certainly don't spend all my free time scheming of ways to find me a wife. But I do think about it, and I do try to be out there looking, dating, you know, doing the thing that we single people do. Seeing my brother's family, I definitely can see that there is a lot of great things that I'm missing out on. I don't feel like I've had moments where there was someone I could have married and I turned my back on that, so I don't generally feel too guilty about not being married. I just haven't found someone I wanted to marry who wanted to marry me back. Still looking. Hopefully ten years from now I'm not having this same discussion with myself.

In the next ten years, I do also hope to get a job with benefits. I guess I've had things like health insurance during my last four years as a full-time graduate student, but I definitely wouldn't call that a job. Working regular work hours five days a week might be a pretty big shock to my eternal student workdays that are pretty flexible, so long as I get done what needs getting done. But I'm sure there are benefits to the old 9-to-5 grind. Not having to scour the internet for new roommates every couple month would be one of those. I also have a dream of some day driving a car that was built in the same decade in which I'm driving it. Yes I know, my dreams are lofty, but they say that you should aim for the stars.

Anyway, at this milestone in my life, I guess I feel pretty okay about things. My life is far from perfect, but at least I have an idea of where its headed and I feel pretty good about the direction.

Funnel Cake

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Watch This Wednesday #44: I got a hot date tonight. A date. Dinner with friends...

Some more Simpsons goodness courtesy of Hulu:

Perhaps the most humorous use of a lie detector ever. And yes, I've seen Meet the Parents. Not even close.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Old Book, New Book #10: Brave New World -> The Gypsy Morph

Finished Brave New World the other day...I have to say that I was definitely impressed by how prescient some of the aspects of the (dystopian?) future depicted therein. Obviously we aren't yet to the point of embryonic conditioning and relegating people even before birth to specific roles within society, but I could definitely see a lot of points that related to our current world. Things like the push to make everyone a consumer, and a densensitization toward all things immoral. Also there was a moment when Bernard and Lenina were in a helicopter looking at the ocean, alone with their thoughts, and Lenina could hardly stand the silence and lack of external stimulation. I would guess that few people (myself included) take much time to meditate, and feel much more comfortable with something else going on, be it television, music, or for the younger generation, a constant stream of text messages. Not sure this book will find its way into my all-time favorites, but I'm glad I finally got around to reading it.

Anyway, I've moved on to the final installment of the latest Terry Brooks trilogy, The Gypsy Morph. Once again, very pleased with the Salt Lake County Library network's hold request system. I added this before the book was even published, and eventually I worked my way to the top of the list, at which point I got an email and just had to drive over to my local branch to pick it up. Kind of like Netflix for books, except that I have to drive a few blocks, and that its totally free.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Big Digital goes on the defensive

Sorry for no video yesterday. But I did finally find a date on which to defend my dissertation which works for all five of my committee members, and even my department chair, after some schedule wrangling on the part of her admin. Mark your calendars for October 27, 2008. It could quite possibly be a really big day in my life. (Let's hope so.)

Monday, September 08, 2008

FSS: Fun & Stress Edition

This past weekend was pretty full. Friday night started out slow, but did include a viewing of Hellboy and a moment where someone yelled "Psst" at me, but I thought it was the surround sound, which then resulted in that someone climbing in through the window.

Saturday I went boating with my ward up at Jordanelle and had fun riding a tube. Then I came back to Salt Lake and went to the Utah-UNLV football game. It was kind of stressful for a half, and then Utah came out in the 2nd half and put things out of reach early.

Also on Saturday, I found out that my newest roommate is going to be moving out at the end of the month, leading to some stressing about what's going to happen next, given that at one point our apartment manager had said that if that happened, we'd either have to move out or just pay the full rent with less than a full house. I talked with her about things today and she was much more positive about our chances of being allowed to find someone to move in to replace him. Guess we'll see what the big boss has to say when he gets back on Thursday.

Sunday was a typical full slate of meetings, but also I got a new 2nd counselor to replace the one who is getting married this coming Saturday. I'm excited about the new guy, and will definitely miss the old one.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

So Long, Rong Jon Silver

Camp Tracy Activity 066

Today my good friend Jon is leaving for Seattle to go get his PhD in Chemistry. I've known him for just about two years and I would say we've been good friends for about a year and a half of that time. Even though he's a little younger than I am, I feel like I really found a kindred spirit in Jon. We don't see eye to eye on certain things (music from the 90s, for example), but somehow that hasn't seemed to matter. Jon is that rare friend who can call you on crap that you probably shouldn't be doing (wasting time at work, hanging out with girls who are only going to break your heart, etc.).

Jon and Jake Times Square

Things that will remind me of Jon:
  • The word "emo"

  • Our trip to NYC

  • Whitecastle

  • Coheed & Cambria

  • Motion City Soundtrack

  • Huzzah!

  • Rock Band/Guitar Hero

  • "Throw your diamonds in the sky if you feel the vibe!"

  • All the Murray people that I now know through Jon

  • Stomp the Yard

  • and of course..."Smooth Criminal" by Alien Ant Farm

Jon & Jake White Castle

So long, Jonny-Cakes. I'm gonna miss you.

Duncan Donuts

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Watch This Wednesday #43: I'm Wearing Boots of Escaping!

This week's video comes to you from Comedy Central's website. Its an older clip from Reno 911 in which two guys have been playing some live action Dungeons & Dragons. Featuring Patton Oswald. I'm pretty sure Geo told me to check this out one time, so kudos to him.

P.S. I totally got this ready this morning thinking that tomorrow was Wednesday, but as I looked at the calendar I realized that today is actually Wednesday. Not sure why this week has been so confusing for me. Its not like I've never had a Monday off before.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

FSS: September is Here

September is my favorite month for many reasons: Cooler, fall temperatures. Football season (Go Utes!). My birthday (Big 3-0 coming up!). Back when I had classes, September was a month when school was still exciting and not just full of homework.

This past weekend, I went to my little brother's football game (at least until it got seriously out of hand), watched Utah beat Michigan, hung out with my good friend Jon several times in preparation for his moving to Seattle this week, played a couple hours of indoor volleyball, played some Rock Band (got a flawless 100% playing lead guitar on "Are You Gonna Be My Girl?" on Hard), bought a new pillow, and finally found some slides that I could live with to replace my old holey ones, and found a new counselor to replace the one who is getting married on the 13th.