I'm just a guy with a pension of occasional insanity and the occasion for misadventures in airplanes. I also seem to be an aspiring writer, if I can ever get myself to sit down and write, which, by the way, makes it interesting as to how I'm an aspiring writer considering that I'm also an aspiring engineer. The two aren't supposed to be together.
But please enjoy whatever it is that I ramble about whether it be sports, news, or just anything that I decide to blog about.
15May 11Message Received Sometime Around Late Afternoon
So when are you picking me up?
Message Replied Automatically
New Message Received Sometime Later
La Noire releases at 12:01 Tuesday at your local Gamestop. Please show up at 10:00 PM Monday to finalize your purchase.
Message Received A Little Later
Did you pick up the eggs and milk.
10May 11So I have three papers and two presentations due in the next two days. While I should be working diligently on them, instead I've found myself indulging in the marvels of youtube.
I really shouldn't be watching youtube. Or laughing at that.
Or watch keyboard cat.
Edit: Or watch Wizard Rock. Gosh darnit .
Edit Dos: And then there's The Whitest Kids U Know.
7May 11So there's this game called Portal 2. I have a few words to describe it: ****ing brilliant. It is a sequel that's done right. You've got your new challenges, new characters, dynamic character development, the expansion of the game world, and retaining everything that made the first game so enjoyable. The comedy, especially, is back full force. In short, Portal 2 is a pure example of how to make a sequel, and in hindsight, Valve could have easily just given us a game that just had more white-walled test chambers with a few new challenges. Thankfully they didn't. Portal 2 is a must play.
So. Now that that's done. Anyone up for some coop?
5May 11So for two of my courses this year, I have to create posters showcasing what I know on some research projects. Seems like a good idea if you can overlook the fact that in the real world, employers don't make engineers make posters. Trust me. We don't make posters. We're too busy designing ****.
Anyway, after starting a tad bit late, think four days ago and add it to the fact that the posters need to be ready tomorrow, I got my two posters done. I'm also $150 poorer. It's surprising how much money 3'X4' posters cost. Now I could easily have just done a powerpoint, print out the slides individually, and paste them onto cardboard and be done with it all, and more importantly be $150 richer, but I'm a grad student and I have to make things look oh so pretty. The undergrads? Nah. They can just do it the free way and have no repercussions, as one of my professors so eloquently explained last week.
"Why yes. The undergrads in this class don't have to put too much effort into making the posters stand out. Unfortunately for you grad students. You have to."
"It's only fair for the undergrads."
And that's the easier of the two courses. The other is a design course where our research topic is on brand new biomedical devices. So new, that there's barely anything reported on them in journals. I found something for my nifty robotic surgical procedure, although I was tempted to make it up on the grounds that it's so new, there's nothing out yet!
"My device is so new, there are absolutely no documents on it."
"You wrote about a 60-foot giant robot."
"They call it a Gundam."
"Still. I don't see how it can be a medical device."
"I do know, after watching classified video, that it can shield people from radiation completely. Put someone in it and bam! You don't have to worry about radiation."
I get to present my twin posters tomorrow afternoon and I may have pictures up later showcasing the excellence $150 can buy. If you're wondering, that is the cheapest price.
24Apr 11"Wait. Wait. I can barely hear you.," my 90-year old grandmother says in my cell phone before turning to me. "Yagr? How do I turn up the volume on this thing?"
I take it from her and offer her a simple explanation. "You have it upside down. Here," I say as I turn it right side up and hand it back to her.
"Ah. Thanks. Yes I can hear you now," she says as she walks away from me while waving her hand at me as though she knew it was upside down the whole time.
So this past weekend I spent some time with my 90-year old grandmother who isn't exactly the techno-wiz of the family. She still has trouble working her LG LCD TV. I know the answer to that problem as well, which involves changing seats, but she'll have none of that. Why should she move from her favorite seat just to unmute the TV for the fifth time that night? Too much of a hassle her sharp old eyes say.
This Easter weekend actually started a few weeks ago when my grandmother called me up demanding that I visit her for the religious holiday, even though no one in my family is religious besides my Catholic-lite sister (Episcopal for those who don't know). It started with a "You're coming down Easter weekend," and a "I am?" followed by a "Yes you are. Now are you coming down Friday or Saturday?" I've found it's rather hard to say no to a demanding 90-year old grandmother who still walks miles a day for exercise up and down the small roads of Carmel, CA, and climbs onto her roof to clean the gutters of her small log cabin.
So I drove on down this past Friday and watched a multitude of sports from basketball to baseball before retiring to a Best Western at the edge of downtown Carmel. The next day was a little more eventful as one of my cousins joined us and we proceeded to watch hockey for the entire day. It's what happens when the remote is placed in my hands. My parents, who are currently relaxing in Hawaii, later asked me why I put them through all that torture. Either way, they enjoyed it, or did a great job pretending they enjoyed it. Easter came and went with a very good Sunday brunch at this one place in Pacific Grove and both my cousin and I were off heading back to the Bay Area. It may have seemed a quick and uneventful Easter, yet sometimes quick and uneventful is just what we need as a pick me up. I did want to go hunting for Easter Eggs, but alas, I'm too old and too tall. I was thinking about using that one movie with Robin Williams where he plays a kid that's a grown man physically but is in the fifth grade (anyone remember that?) as an excuse.
Since it is Easter, what better time than for a few more tunes courtesy of KYAG?
Yeah, it's J-Rock, but it's good J-Rock. Galileo Galilei with "Natsuzora".
How can I not include Yellowcard? Here they are with "With You Around" from their new album.
The band no longer exists and has only released one full fledged album. Nevertheless, here's Acceptance with their only single "Different."
Finally, here's Poets of the Fall with "War." It should be painfully obvious what video game they worked the soundtrack for as well.
21Apr 11I was rather bored tonight, so I decided to boot up a rather old game, about eight years old, and was pleasantly surprised by one of the machine's features. I'm talking about my trusty Gamecube. I booted this fellow up after three years of it not being plugged in at all, and you know what, it knew the exact time and day. 4/21/2011 Thu. The time was just slightly off by 36 minutes, however. For all the console I own that keep track of the date and time, I haven't had to change it for the Gamecube, and I've had this one since the system launched way back in 2001, unlike my Dreamcast and Xbox, which both need to be updated every time I unplug them. It's not a big deal for some, but I thought it was sort of cool that the Gamecube still new exactly what day it was and didn't need to be adjusted for ten years.
So I had a little fun tonight and played a short shift of Skies of Arcadia, which is a great game in its own rights. For those who own a Gamecube, try turning it on and take a look at the calendar. You may be surprised.
20Apr 11Gah! Finally, I got through my play through of Mass Effect 2 on the hardest difficulty, Insanity. It's definitely not the easiest experience, especially when all the enemies have multiple layers of health to deal with. Not to mention that you can be taken down in mere seconds if you're not careful. Then there are the glitches, which seem more prominent this time through for some odd reason. I can't tell you how many times I glitched into walls or saw a squad mate freeze when they attempted to climb over a barrier. Needless to say, it can be quite the frustrating time.
But that's why the people at Bioware gave us this:
It makes certain situations easier through vaporization of all enemies.
That is the M-920 Cain, a miniature nuclear device that basically vaporizes everything caught in its blast, including you if one of your squad mates just happens to get in the line of fire, leading me to never use Tali ever again. Of course, being such a powerful gun, you can only fire it once it reaches 100% ammo rating, and it does take a little while to get going being launch. It also takes a full quarter of the final bosses life. So whenever a tough situation presents itself, just say **** you and let it rip. That's what I did. It's a good stress relief until you realize you can fire it for two more missions.
Anyway, there we go, Mass Effect 2 is done and I'm good to start a new challenge. Hopefully one that won't give me an aneurism.
Edit: Late addition. It helps to start Mass Effect 2 on Insanity with a fully leveled up character, that way you get to start with all your powers, and more importantly, all your weapons including the Cain.
18Apr 11Anyone remember back in the day a certain improv show by the name of Whose Line Is It Anyway? It's an absolutely fantastic show that ran for well over a decade first in the UK and then in the USA. It starred four comedians and tasked them with coming up with their material right on the spot, with some help of course. The show made up games with certain themes for the four comedians to work with. The video that I'm linking below is an example of a particular game called "Improbable Mission," that has me laughing pretty hard.
14Apr 11On Wednesdays I have my physiology class until 9:00 whereupon I head off towards the dining hall and grab a late dinner. Unfortunately, the dining hall closes down its dinner portion at 9:00 and about fifteen-twenty minutes later, they roll out the late night meal, which is basically pancakes. Not wanting to wait for pancakes, despite the fact that pancakes are ****ing awesome, I grabbed the remaining rice, asparagus, and whatever those square-things were (they smelt of cheese but I wasn't sure) and sat down in front of one of their large flatscreen TVs. This particular one was showing a movie where a bunch of stereotypical outlaws were attacking a circus in the middle of a desert presumably somewhere in the US. It could have been Australia, but after watching Mad Max I realized that Aussie westerns were much cooler.
Anyway, so the scene keeps showing ridiculous looking clowns with guns shooting an army of outlaws until something happens and the circus folk are running through a rather empty prototypical western town where there's a main street and nothing else, there isn't even a water tower, when ninjas come falling out of the sky. Yes. There be ninjas in this movie. That's when I remembered hearing about this movie in the first place. It bombed at the box office, and my sister had wanted to know if I had seen it, because I usually watch weird movies like this. Now I can call her up and let her know how it is (texts: 'Remember that movie you asked if I saw? I totally saw it!').
So the ninjas and everyone else are just sort of staring at each other when someone mutters "Ninjas. Damn." As you can imagine, all hell breaks loose because the one thing you should never ever say when staring at a ninja is "Ninja." I mean, now they know you know who they are, so they're more inclined to cut you into itty-bitty pieces, as if they weren't already going to do that anyway. It's one of those things that speeds up the action when you could have probably made a run for it. But seeing as how they're in the middle of a desert with no water in sight, it probably didn't cross their minds nor did it matter (text received: 'It's ****ing one in the morning. Don't text me at this time again.).
People are dying on screen and there's something about this baby that's important then its over, things are said and the good-ninja, who was hiding throughout the movie, walks off into the sunset, and appears in a snow-covered place that he burns to the ground. The End.
Not really sure of what I saw, I called up my parents to tell them to see the movie. Hell, Cowboys and Aliens is coming out, why not watch Cowboys and Ninjas. Of course Cowboys and Aliens stars Harrison Ford, Daniel Craig, and Olivia Wilde while Cowboys and Ninjas stars Kate Bosworth and some Korean dude. Oh, and Geoffrey Rush now that I looked.
I do have to say that even though I watched the movie at its end, I was plugged in to my ipod and couldn't really hear a word that was spoken. I know what you're going to say: "But Yagr, how did you know they muttered 'Oh, Ninjas,' at that one part?" To that I answer by saying, I didn't say 'Oh, Ninjas," and go see the trailer to the movie and you'll understand. Getting back to the ipod business, the song I was listening to while all the fast-paced action was unfolded in front of my eyes was a slow-paced tune. So you can imagine the convolution it caused, listening to something half the pace of the action your eyes are processing. It's sort of surreal, which I think helped the movie. I later told my dad all I needed was to be high off of something and it'd be the ****ing movie of the year. What more do you want with a movie that has cowboys, ninjas, clowns, and other circus folk fighting each other in front of a green screen? All for a baby I might add.
The movie, by the way, is actually called The Warrior's Way.
P.S. And that comment about Aussie Westerns? I was just joking. Everyone knows Aussies can't drive.
P.P.S. I should have gotten the pancakes. Would have made the night grand.
P.P.P.S. If you are an Aussie, don't hurt me. Please.
9Apr 11Just this past Friday, I had the opportunity to see 30 Seconds to Mars live here on campus. They were actually supposed to be here way back in the middle of January, when I was busy checking out the totally rad (who uses rad anymore?) Albuquerque Comic Con. I only found out about the shift in dates upon returning to campus after the month long winter break. Knowing that I could now catch them live, I headed out with some friends on a mid-February day and bought a ticket.
Fast forward to today and I'm still having that buzzing sound in my ear, otherwise known as a slight form of tinnitus (or maybe not), and I have a sore throat, which is in no way attributed to the concert itself. I was coming down with something on Thursday, although the atmosphere certainly didn't help.
Enough about the before and after, how was the concert itself I can some of you saying, perhaps, if you care that is.
My friends and I met up at 7:00 for the 7:30 PM start time and worked our way down the line, and down the line, and down the line, and I think you get the picture. I want to draw a picture of the route we took, but seeing as how I am terrible at drawing anything save a stickman and a tornado, I won't bother. Let's just say that I live in one corner of the campus and the library is in the completely opposite corner. We ended up being halfway between the two in the middle of the line. The line began moving about twenty minutes later after the three of us had shivered in the rather cold windy spring day. We made it inside shortly and I grabbed a few hotdogs before heading down to the floor. The San Jose State Event Center can hold probably a decent size crowd, and I think there were about a few thousand of us in there. It wasn't sold out, but it came pretty damn close. The show actually started at 8:20 with the opening act, CB7.
CB7 is a relatively new band now that I've looked them up and are an electro-rock five-piece. They played five songs to open the night.
If you look at the big tall lead guitar guy, all I was thinking of was where Scott Pilgrim was. There's an evil-ex to be fought.
In the above picture, I only caught four of them, the female bass player was sadly out of shot for each picture I got of them. The bass player I have to say is ****ing talented. Not only could she play a mean bass, but she also played keyboards and drums. Something that one of my friends pointed out was that while she was wailing and head banging on the drums during the third song, she broke a stick, tossed it away, and drew out a new one all without missing a beat. I thought they were alright. One of my friends agreed while the other said it was good until they opened their mouths to sing.
They finished after about thirty minutes and left us for about an hour until 30 Seconds came on stage.
As you can see, we were all pretty pumped despite the fact we couldn't see them. Yes, the girl with the feathers has a mohawk.
30 Seconds ran through a set ranging from their last two albums, This is War and A Beautiful Lie, beginning with "Escape" and ending, fittingly, with "Kings and Queens." Jared Leto, the front man and also part time actor, got the audience going with sing-alongs, even when he didn't ask for them. In the least, it was a very interactive concert from an audience point of view.
The show wasn't without its hitches, Leto did come on stage and forgot his mic. He looked around frantically before a stage tech brought him a replacement. Then the drummer got injured near the end, but was able to play through it, and an old lady tried to take the mic from Leto when she got a chance to be on-stage.
I wanna say this was when they were singing "Vox Populi," but I can't remember. I was paying attention to a blond standing just in front of me.
So in the end, it was a pretty awesome concert. My friends and I had a hard time communicating afterwards. All we could hear was a "mow mo mow mo," similar to the adults in Charlie Brown. We ended up using hand signs to get across what we were saying and I can only imagine that we looked pretty ridiculous, but hey, it worked.
Now I'm here watching Return of the Jedi wondering what the **** Lucas was thinking when he inserted that music scene into the special edition.
6Apr 11The musical notes of whatever it was I set my ringtone to lifted me from my sleep. I rubbed my eyes and slowly crawled out of bed, shuffling towards the sound of the phone while blinking away the brightness of the new day. "Eurghhh," I moaned as I saw the time. I lifted up the phone and read off an unknown missed number from Michigan. There was no message left, and hypocritically, I decide there's no reason to call this person back - I have a terrible time leaving messages myself. With another "Eurghhh," albeit an f-sounding one, I shuffled back to my bed ignoring the mirror and the fact that my eyes were red. No one wakes me up a mere three hours after I had gone to sleep, despite the fact that it was 8 AM.
Two hours later, I woke with a jolt and felt like I forgot something. Seeing as nothing came to mind I decided to rush through my shower and head towards the dining hall to catch breakfast before it ended. That's when I noticed the first bandana. I had missed the Zombie Apocalypse Event.
As a quick summary of the event, through facebook, students of San Jose State sent out messages about the event weeks in advance. The name of the game of course was the zombie apocalypse, a tag game. At 7:30 AM, the zombies were randomly chosen and unleashed to spread their undeadness throughout the 1000+ players. The goal: Survive until 9:00 PM and reach the bell tower, a large Italian looking structure that looks like it came directly from the game Assassin's Creed II. Unfortunately, the zombies all know this, so you can imagine that at the end of the day, the few survivors trying to make it through a 1000+ strong zombie wall isn't the best idea.
Back to the day at hand, I noticed only a few people with bandanas on their arms, denoting a survivor, and very few, if any, with a bandana on their head, denoting a zombie. This quickly changed as I returned to my apartment and began watching television. The screams of surprised people out in the courtyard told me all I needed to know. The survivors were being cut down quickly, and by 4:00, there weren't many at all alive. One of my friends was caught just after 1:00 and sent a message on facebook. He had the unfortunate luck of being hit right after finishing his workout.
As a note, when you're playing a tag game, don't enter buildings that have a large amount of traffic. Chances are you're going to get caught.
At a little before 4:00, I headed out of my apartment and walked the short distance away towards the student union for some lunch. On my way there, a student with an arm bandana sprinted past me laughing and looking over his shoulder. No one was chasing him, although he was running right into zombie central that had marked the apartment courtyard. Good luck not being spotted by the twenty zombies I saw on my way out. A short time later, I entered my 4:30 bio-transport class and watched with glee as two participants tried to out do the other. My friend was in there as a zombie eyeing a survivor who was trying her best to think of a way to get out of the building once class ended. Her plan, if there was one, was to have me distract the zombie and sneak past him out the door. It didn't quite work out as planned and she was placing her bandana on her head and nursing a sore ankle as the three of us walked out of the building into the cool evening breeze.
On another side note, classrooms and the library were the only safe zones. That meant that dormitories, apartments, dining halls, and the student union were wide open. Not that it would matter. Once you get in, you're going to have a hell of a time getting out.
There were a few questions about why I didn't join in on the fun, and I said simply that I had gotten up late. They said I could still join, but seeing as how I was being flanked by them at the moment, I thought logically that wasn't a fantastic idea. Either way, I spotted a survivor with a yellow arm bandana circling the bell tower begin to cover up his arm with his book bag and change the direction of his walk. I was surprised I was the only one of the three to notice him, seeing as how he was quickly making a beeline away from us, considering I was in the center of the trio. So I had a little fun.
"Hey. You see that guy?" I said.
"What guy?" the two of them replied looking around as they did.
"Oh the guy who just covered up his arm band," I said. All the while I was saying this, I kept my eyes on the guy who I could only imagine was thinking Oh **** you. **** you. **** you.
It did take them a little while until they turned to focus on the guy who took off immediately. They took off in response as did another survivor I didn't see before. I took off myself. Then I realized I was somewhat out of shape and there were now forty zombies around me, a good percentage of which were eyeing me like a hawk eyes a prairie mouse, and decided it might not be best to join now. Especially when the table to pick up a bandana had a number of zombie eyes affixed to it.
Yeah, I missed out on the fun, and I don't think many people actually survived the night. It was great fun and I hope I can wake up on time for it next year.
4Apr 11Yep, that's right, the University of Connecticut (UConn) took the NCAA Men's Basketball championship this night after knocking off eighth seeded Butler University. Behind some very rugged defense and fantastic rebounding, UConn took home a 53-41 victory. For Butler, is was their second consecutive trip to the championship game, and hold the prestige of doing so as the lowest seeds. They arrived last year in their home city of Indianapolis as the fifth seed and lost to Duke by less than an inch. This year as the eighth seed in Houston, they couldn't buy a basket, shooting 18% for the game. If you're wondering, yes that is the worst field goal percentage by any team in the championship game.
The night caps off a very unlikely and highly unpredictable tournament that saw for the third time in its history no number one seed to reach the final four. It is also the first time that no number one or number two seeds made it. Indeed a final four comprising of #3 UConn, #4 Kentucky, #8 Butler, and #11 Virginia Commonwealth (VCU) was the last thing anyone would have picked. I think only two people through ESPN picked it exactly that way out of thousands.
The tournament was one rife with controversy, or rather controversy that ESPN would love to create. VCU was deemed "unworthy" and "undeserving" of being in the field. VCU on the other hand showed how much crap the ESPN announcers are, and really they are, by making as far as they did. They were the third eleven seed to ever reach the final four, yet like the two that came before them, were unable to reach the finals. The Big East took a lot of fire for having eleven teams in the tournament field with only two surviving through to the Sweet Sixteen. To make it worse, those two teams, UConn and Marquette, only made it by defeating fellow Big East opponents. Regardless, UConn held the Big East banner high and took home the conferences first title since, well since UConn last won it all back in 2004. UConn, it should be noted, has not lost when playing in tournaments this season. They opened their season by shocking analysts everywhere by winning the Maui Invitational back in November and impressed everyone by winning the Big East Tournament a week before their assault began on the NCAA Tourney. Plus I picked them to win and won my family bracket for the second straight year. Huzzah.
Moving over to the women's side of things, it should be noted that the UConn women's team, winners of a record 90 games in a row, that ended earlier this year against Stanford, were knocked off in the Final Four to fellow Big East member Notre Dame. UConn was hoping they were going to face off against Stanford for a possible revenge matchup, yet Stanford also lost, losing to Texas A&M. Why do I know all of this? My 90 year old grandmother called me last night to tell me about it. She was rather upset that her home team Stanford lost.
So there's the sporting news for tonight April 4th, 2011 (twenty-eleven).
4Apr 11Now that we're a few days into April, I can now look back on the many games I played last month.
For most of the time, I labored through the world of Burnout Paradise and finally obtained 100% rating in the single-player portion of the game. Talk about your rough racing experience. The game gradually gets harder, but there isn't an accurate way of knowing how tough it's actually going to be until you're well into the event. It's not the best part of the game, and a word of warning when completing the Marked Man events. Those black racers can become ****ing accurate in taking you down by hitting you once without you running into a wall/car/anything.
I'll probably spend some time this month going through the online portion of the game.
Earlier, I managed to get through Halo Reach on Legendary solo. It's not a tough experience; the special abilities are a big help. I did learn that I have a rather large hatred of hunters and wraiths. Wraiths by the way become ****ing accurate and are studpidly clairvoyant. There have been numerous times when they can't see you, yet unleash their brilliant blue plasma ball of death raining down upon my unlucky Spartan. **** their coding, and **** the coding of my incompetent ally AI. There's a damn reason why you have a spartan laser. Use it! **** you're dead, and that laser went off the cliff. Hooray.
So with two rather hard games on the list for the month, I thought I'd take the opportunity of an extra 400 Microsoft Points to pick up Raskulls last week. **** me for picking up a hard racing/puzzle game. It may look cute, but boy can it be hard. That's not saying it's not a good game. It is. It does everything pretty well and the story, while cute, is well written. The story driven levels aren't generally tough, but when trying to tame the red colored challenge levels, be ready. I still recommend picking it up, and if I didn't exactly characterize the game well, it's what you would get if you mated Dig Dug/Mr. Driller with Mario Kart. Then of course there were those tours of duty in Borderlands. The Underdome Riot. Gaming's devil. We haven't finished the final arena, mainly due to a rather inconvenient disconnect from our host (cough Chickn ) and schedule conflicts. We'll get it done eventually.
So there you have it. For this month, I'll try to somehow complete Mass Effect 2 on insanity. It took me ten times to get past the first area. God damn those robots and their biotic blocking armor.
31Mar 11Yesterday was the second annual San Jose State Biomedical Conference. It's an event for members of the industry and various schools to come together and share information. While it is a great event for students to head off to, for people like me who helped organize and run the event, it's also rather exhausting.
The day began at 5:40 with my bedside alarm clock blaring some nonsensical cacophony and me slapping around in the dark to turn it off. I was chosen to introduce one of the day's many speakers, and as such, I spent my time in the shower reciting what I was going to say. I'm a pretty good speaker, but I would rather feel more comfortable about what I'm going to say before saying it. It helps to look at the audience to grab their attention and not visibly read the lines. Either way, I headed out and met up with the rest of my group of biomedical students at 7:00 and quickly found out that the building we're using, the Student Union, wasn't open until 7:30. That threw a monkey wrench into our early plans as people started arriving for the conference before we were fully set up and had signs and extra volunteers to help direct people. The SNAFU lasted shortly once we all started to wake up a little more, and at 8:45 the conference began.
I spent most of the time walking back and forth from watching a few speakers and attending the registration desk. Lunch came mercifully at noon and I spent my time getting to know a trio of employees from the FDA before I had to excuse myself so I could somehow wake myself up. I sort of hit a brick wall and needed help somewhere to stay awake and alert for the remainder of the day. My speaker, luckily, was one of the last to go for the day, and this was mainly to be presentable to the many companies who placed exhibits up in the union. My remedy? Calling my mother and telling her I'm not doing so well.
Some of you may think that that's rather childish, but I know my mom, and just by saying that phrase in the right tone of voice will get her riled up enough to kick my ass. She doesn't know I did it for that purpose, but it worked. I walked around outside and got some much needed fresh air and reentered the union feeling better than before. Then I realized that my speaker hadn't shown up. It was 3:00 and she was on in an hour.
I found the faculty adviser of the event, told him what's up, and he quickly found a backup speaker and got me in touch with her. I spent the next twenty to twenty-five minutes writing up a new introduction before my speaker finally showed up with thirty minutes to spare. I walked in, sat down near the front and gave my intro. It went pretty well and watched as my speaker got up to the podium and found out that she forgot to hand in her slides to the projection man. Thus a change in the schedule was made as my speaker went to get her slides uploaded while another speaker began his presentation.
On a side note, I should mention that this speaker got into an altercation with the police during the event. Apparently he hit another car while parking. He denied the event, even though there was enough evidence to refute his claim. Don't know what happened later, but a police report was filed.
Anyway, getting back to the events at hand, the new speaker was visibly agitated and cursed as he tried to get his laptop set up and get his presentation ready while at the podium. I should mention that no matter how much you try to whisper, when you're in front of a live mic, everyone's going to hear it.
He finishes over time and I'm back up there reintroducing my speaker. I stumble a little and in hindsight I really should have added more to it, such as addressing the technical issues and informing the new arrivals to the room about the change in schedule. I was also thinking about adding in a joke concerning The Big Bang Theory's "preveing." Anyway, my speaker, who I think was one of the better speakers of the day, finished and I have a glass of wine in my hand as I'm making my way among the employers during the wine and cheese social. Don't worry, I don't get drunk that easily, and I managed to meet quite a lot of people and exchanged business cards with a number of them.
On another side note, for those who are looking for jobs and go to large events similar to this, make and bring business cards. Handing someone a business card is immensely better than handing them a resume, although if you can bring resumes, which I couldn't for this event, don't not hand out your resume as well as your business card. These cards are like gold; I've had so many people say how much they prefer receiving them.
Heading back to the event, it's about 7 PM and most of the people are leaving and thanking us for hosting another great conference when we begin to clean up the large union. Forty minutes later, after much shouting to get things cleaned, we're walking the short distance away to P.F. Changs. I sat across from a speaker, one of the only ones I actually stayed to listen to, and had an amazing time chatting with him. He is a professor from the University of Utah and after a few drills on my intellect, we shared life stories and practically became drinking buddies. I seemed to be one of the only brave ones to engage with one of the speakers as a girl who initially sat next to me shifted away to avoid been quizzed. I kidded her about that shortly thereafter.
The hour stuck 11 when I finally entered my apartment building where I thankfully took off my dress shoes. My feet, especially my heels had been in agonizing pain for most of the day, and after careful inspection I found two large blisters. I'm going to need to work on breaking them in next time.
So yeah, it was sixteen hours of grueling work but you know what, I had fun and made a whole crap load of contacts. I'm also still exhausted.
On yet another note. If you know anything about sports, they can be an icebreaker during a conversation.
23Mar 11If anyone's been paying attention to the achievements that roll in on my profile, you'd have noticed that I've been playing some Burnout Paradise as of late. It's a very good action racing game that fits in rather well with the rest of the series. I'm just three years late to the party. Nevertheless, I'm having a rather pleasant time trying to smash all those damned billboards.
How the **** do I get to that one?
Burnout Paradise, unlike the other Burnout games, is an open world game. Also unlike the other entries in the series, there are a ****load of things to smash, jump, or set best times. I think I totaled over 800 items, with half of them being yellow chain link fences that need to be plowed through, not to mention the 120 billboards to take down. It takes quite a lot of driving skill to get to all those out of reach items.
Speaking of driving skills.
Yes. The wheels are not touching the ground.
I should get a medal for doing the above. I'm still not sure how it happened. It was a combination of backing up, moving forward, and I think a flip or two. Reminded me of Austin Powers.
19Mar 11Each year around this time of year, the entire country goes into a frenzy over the NCAA tournament. 68 teams enter, only one leaves unscathed. As such, it's a yearly tradition to fill out brackets and guess the outcomes of each game in friendly competitions. Unfortunately, correctly picking the outcomes of each game is to the order of 32!:1. No one's done it.
Today's 3rd round (previously the 2nd round) match ups featured only one upset, that being the downing of #1 seeded Pittsburgh. The 8th seed Butler Bulldogs, last years national runner up, knocked off the Pitt Panthers in one of the weirdest series of plays to end a game 71-70. After being down 69-68, Butler inbounded the ball and pulled off a well made play that resulted in a layup with 2.2 seconds remaining taking a 70-69 lead. Then came the weirdness. Needing a miracle, Pitt inbounded the ball and quickly moved up the court to halfcourt when the Pitt player was fouled and awarded two shots from the free throw stripe. The Pitt player made the first tying the game up 70 apiece before missing the second. Butler grabbed the rebound and was almost immediately fouled with eight tenths of a second left. Butler went to the line to win the game. The first shot rattled in, and the second shot was purposely missed. That was it. 71-70 and Butler is on to the Sweet Sixteen. It's the second straight year that a #1 seed had been knocked out by an 8/9 seed. Last year Northern Iowa knocked off Kansas. For Pitt, it marked a terrible night for the Big East conference who only had one team make it through, albeit in a cheap way; Uconn defeated fellow Big East member Cincinnati for the last game of the night. Of the eleven Big East teams to make the tournament, only four remain, and due to there being another match up featuring two Big East teams tomorrow, a maximum of three will make the Sweet Sixteen. Of the seven that have lost, four were due to upsets: #1 Pitt, #4 Louisville, #6 Georgetown, and #6 St. Johns. Tomorrow will be interesting.
As for the rest of the night, all the other higher seeded teams moved on. The two remaining Mountain West members, San Diego St. and BYU, moved on, albeit in two different ways. San Diego St. need double overtime to upend Temple and BYU cruised past Gonzaga with relative ease. The SEC will be sending two representatives into the Sweet Sixteen with Kentucky and Florida. Kentucky started the day off by taking out West Virginia in a well fought game while Florida knocked off UCLA in a messy game. The lone Big Ten team, Wisconsin, took out Kansas St. in a tight match and Richmond is the last remaining A-10 member after they took out #13 Morehead St. in a rare 12/13 match up.
Tomorrow will feature the other half of the 3rd Round games and with it the remaining three #1 seeds will take the floor. There will be a little extra emphasis given to the Duke-Michigan game, considering that the last time those teams met was in 1992 in the National Championship game. Michigan had the Fab Five back then and Duke won that game. ESPN is pushing this match up the most considering they just ran a documentary on the infamous Fab Five. Despite that, I think the key match up to see is #11 VCU and #3 Purdue along with the lone 4/5 match up between Texas and Arizona. Either way, here's to another great day of college basketball.
My bracket's broken by the way.
16Mar 11Here's yet another installment to Online With the Mods. This week the team took on more of the rigorous grind that is the Underdome Riot.
Yagr Logs Online
"Hey guys what's up?" = Yagr
"It's Yagr!" = Chickn and Drac
"I can't quite seem to get into the Underdome with my lower character," = Chickn
"Well I don't want to burst your bubble of warm feelings, but you're going to have to use your original character for that one other achievement," = Yagr
"Oh that's right," = Chickn
"But you leveled up!" = Drac
"You leveled up?" = Yagr
"Sorry. Yes I leveled up," = Chickn
Yagr curses. "Well by how much?"
"Just two levels," = Chickn
"Well thankfully you didn't go up ten or there'd be hell to pay," = Yagr. Chickn laughs.
"Well let's get started. CG said she'd be late," = Drac
And so the party sighs and has trouble selecting which of the two remaining tournaments to begin. Apparently a few of them had forgotten which tournament they had already done, and after a few minutes delay, the party heads into Hell-Burbia.
30 Minutes Later
CodingGenius Logs Online
"Hey guys. Sorry about the delay. I'll be right there. Did I miss anything?" = CodingGenius
"We're on round four. So no, you didn't miss anything," = Chickn
"You do get to join us for sixteen more rounds though!" = Drac a little too happily
"Yeah, cause that's a riot," = Yagr
So the group, now at four members, moves on through the waves of ever increasing enemies wishing every so often that low gravity would turn on so everyone can jump around the map and giggle like mad.
Round 7 Horde Wave
"This took you three hours last time?" = CodingGenius surprised after she blew up many an axe-wielding enemy into itty-bitty parts.
"No, trust us. It does take that long," = Chickn
"It's already been an hour," = Yagr
"Heh, it's Raining Men," = Drac
Round 11 Gun Wave
"Gah. It's been ninety minutes already," = Yagr
"At least I haven't died yet," = Chickn
"Please do. It's the only way for me to gain experience doing this," = Yagr
"Ah so that's why I died so much last time," = Chickn
"Exactly," = Drac
"Damnit. I've had that stupid song "It's Raining Men" stuck in my head all this time," = CodingGenius
The group moves on until they hit a near scare in the seventeenth round.
"Be careful. There's a guy who's using his rocket launcher quite liberally," = Chickn who is currently dead
"Don't worry, we'll get you back up," = CodingGenius and Yagr
"Ack!" = CodingGenius
"Are you serious?" = Yagr
"I had full health!" = CodingGenius
"One rocket took the two of us out, and he's sure firing that rocket launcher as though it were semi-automatic," = Yagr
"Told you he was using it rather liberally," = Chickn
"I'll save you!" = Drac
"Get the guy first!" = CodingGenius
"Great. We're all dead," = Yagr
"You better kill him! I do not want to restart two rounds," = Chickn
Drac Has Second Wind
"Got him!" = Drac
"That was close," = Chickn
"I still have that song stuck in my head," = Chickn
And finally, after another three hours, the group finishes off Hell-Burbia. The group rejoices and quickly agrees to do this again at another time. CodingGenius leaves after both Chickn and Yagr keep saying "It's Raining Men" dooming her to have it stuck in her head for the remainder of the night and possibly the next morning.
If you're wondering, no matter how many people are in your group, each of these tournaments will take three hours. It would help, however, to have someone in your group that's at the very low level of 12 or 14. It might go faster that way.
12Mar 11Okamiden. The long awaited sequel to Okami. It's been five years since the series last came out, and coincidentally, Okamiden, like Okami, will be released during the final years of its respective console. Yet I couldn't help but wonder. Isn't it a bit early for Okamiden to have been released?
I'm typing Okamiden into google and the wiki page pops up first. Release date: March 15th, 2011. I head on over to Amazon. Release date: March 15th, 2011. Even IGN has it listed as March 15th, 2011. So why do I have it in my hands right now?
There it is on my pile of mail and magazines.
In answering the above question, I don't know. Today is the 12th of March, and after hearing CodingGenius talk about it a couple of days beforehand. So why did it come out early? No, CodingGenius and I don't live in the same area, so that crosses out a rogue shipment. This also isn't a pre-order release. Pre-orders are usually given to customers the day before around 5 PM. I should know. I've only made one pre-order: Majora's Mask.
Yes it's a gold cartridge with a hologram!
I still remember that Tuesday in 2000. I walked into school that day trying my best not to talk about the great time I had with the game the night before. I didn't last long, and when I mentioned "I played Majora's Mask, and it is awesome" it started a conversation akin to a group of schoolgirls talking about the cutest boy in school.
Anyway, getting back to the topic at hand, Okamiden. Why it's out so early, I don't know, other than someone at Capcom decided to release it before anyone could get a review out. I think our very own Gamespot is one of the few places to have the updated release date listed. Yet it's still an anomaly in itself. So if you want to take a look at the game before any review comes out, then go grab it before Monday.
11Mar 11So last week I took three exams within three days. The first of which was a nice exam where the professor gave us the answers beforehand and the second was a nasty one with poor question writing. They were both blogged about. The third, the one I didn't blog about, was for my graduate design course. Unlike the other two courses, which were undergraduate level, the design course was the only one that made me feel somewhat overwhelmed. The professor, a large burly Russian with a thick accent, would more often then not go through lecture material that I wouldn't have too much of a clue as to what was going on. It also didn't help that a majority of the other grad students knew a lot of what was going on due to how many questions they asked and how far they went with their explanations to the few questions the professor asked in return. Needless to say, I was rather hesitant about the first exam, even if it was open book.
The first exam included a few questions from the notes and a large essay-like main problem that required you to design an entire surgical procedure for a patient with a particular set of problems. While it may sound complex, it wasn't as such. The professor did leave a set of questions to help guide the design process and simplify it as well. We had sixty minutes to complete the exam, and I only gave this last section twenty minutes, despite it being weighed the most.
So now we come up to today when we got our exams back, and the professor wasn't all too pleased by the results. He spent a good 90 minutes talking about the exam in length and what he expected for each answer (our class is three hours long). Now whenever a teacher does this, I tend to forget exactly what I did and begin to get worried, especially when the professor was as negative as this guy was. He had stated more often than not how terribly everyone did by not even reading the problem statement that gave a large number of hints as to how he wanted it. A few minutes later, while he was describing another problem, he burst into laughter about how one person in the class classified a synthetic wound (think bandaids) as an implantable device. So imagine a big large man who was a wrestler in his youth with a thick Russian accent booming laughter throughout a silent classroom about this one student's answer, ending with "That is ridiculous," before moving on the next problem. I don't really have to tell you how silent everyone was and how many people were thinking "I hope it's not me. I hope it's not me. I sure ****ing hope it's not me." Finally he ends and calls for a fifteen minute break before handing back our exams.
If you're thinking this is a diabolical man, he's not really. He's just extremely disappointed and isn't accustomed to seeing so many people do poorly. He reminded me of my Physical Chemistry professor, who was Polish, who basically told a student "what the **** are you doing?" when the student got up in the middle of class and left the room. Of course it's a different situation and the student in this example stated he was in the wrong class twenty minutes after the fact before he left. This was followed by the professor going on a rather humorous rant about the kid afterwards.
Anyway, getting back to the matter at hand, the professor begins to hand back the exams with the best scores first. We knew this was the case as the first few people he called up he congratulated and said it was a pleasure to read their papers. Now you can only imagine how stressful the class became as he began reading off names knowing that as he went through the roster, the longer it took for your name to be called, the worse you did, and I'm being serious here. The person who was called last practically walked up there with a gait that a mixture of a dead-man walking and a furious person. If you're wondering, I got called up early (thank God) and got one of the last "Good jobs" from the big man. Although he also asked me while I was up there, what went wrong with a certain question that didn't cost much. I just replied "I had a brain fart," shook the man's hand and walked away feeling rather great. My grade was high enough that I had the opportunity to choose how I wanted to present my term paper, and I chose to do it orally to the class and not to a jury of faculty members.
So there we go. Apparently I'm a little better at this engineering stuff than I first thought. For those who want to know, the design problem dealt with minimally invasive surgery (MIS) in the abdominal region to remove a cancerous organ of an extremely overweight person who also had high blood pressure and pulmonary (heart) problems. I had twenty minutes and used one page to get it all sorted out and emailed.
Now I just need to find a term paper topic.