Went to Circuit City today to buy a list of needed technology items. First was an ATX power supply for my main workstation. I replaced the PSU of this machine in October when the fan quit working with one from a broken machine that Colleen gave me. Well this month this PSU's fan started making a real ruckus, so it's time to get a brand new ATX power supply since I think I have used up all my spares.
I wasn't really expecting much out of a generic power supply, and I did find it interesting that there was a "turbo" button on it. It brags of being 22 dB, which is way quieter than every other component on the PC that makes noise - even in "turbo" mode. Of course, I was also a bit stunned at the blue LED arrangement when I turned it on.
Another item that has been on my wish list was a trackball mouse. The stores consistently kept carrying exactly one Logitech model, and they had it tonight for $25 so I picked it up. Now I can grab the pointing device and plop it next to me in my futon or bed and surf the internet or play Civilization III or something without having to find a flat surface on the bed.
Thursday, 29th of June, 2006
A 12-year-old died on the Rock'n'Roller coaster in Disney World today. Having been on it several times early this month I'm kind of surprised - it's a pretty normal roller coaster, not violent or unusually fast. According to the news it wasn't even the first time the kid has been on it - the whole incident is still a bit of a mystery.
So now that Subaru is done dealing with GM interests which resulted in a couple of interesting experiments (The Baja car/truck and the luxury Tribeca SUV) Subaru seems to be directing their attention back towards the main lines, and at "what's inside" like before. Here's what's coming up:
Wednesday, 28th of June, 2006
Thursday, 22nd of June, 2006
So I try to pay the ticket online this morning but it doesn't show up on the system, probably because I was doing it so late. So I make my way down to city hall to pay my $65 tariff for living and working in Maryland Heights. The violation was not on the table of violations on the envelope so the police officer just wrote in "No Front Plate $65" on the envelope.
Good thing I didn't just obediently write a check out for $65 and stuff it in the envelope last month. I show up to city hall, the officer there asks if I have corrected the violation, I say yes and show it to him, and he says, "$24.50". I kept my mouth shut, wrote the check, and got a receipt that says I paid it full.
Obviously the unfriendly officer who wrote me this ticket was out to make my life as miserable as possible. Not only does he deceptively write me a ticket for operating a vehicle with no front license plate before I even leave my parking lot, he almost deceived me into overpaying for the violation.
This is after I have a discussion with him about how I was in a front-end collision, there is no place to mount my plate, and I am currently awaiting parts to mount the plate back on again and will do it as soon as possible. The officer then proceeded to tell me that every time I operate the car without a front plate, he will write me a ticket for $65. Of course, this was all way after he demanded to know the exact address of where I was employed. So now that he knows where I live and work, he threatened to write me a $65 ticket every time I went somewhere, even within the same day. When I protested how unreasonable that was and refused to sign the ticket, he threatened to take me in. After wasting some more of each others' time I finally signed it.
I don't think the officer was stupid - he could have just informed me that what I was doing was a violation, he was writing me a ticket, and that I should correct it as soon as possible and then if I go to city hall and show it has been corrected I just pay a court fee. ($24.50 seems to be the standard court fee here, so I'm making that deduction.) But instead he had to get me all riled up and leave another stain on my impression of local law enforcement.
Monday, 19th of June, 2006
Sunday, 18th of June, 2006
Computer animation is in - while we sat there waiting for the movie to start they rolled I think five computer animated movies coming up - everything from the second-place player Dreamworks to Sony. Nothing came even remotely close to the type of beauty that Pixar has produced since Toy Story 1, however. Computer animation seems to be in as a cheap way of replacing traditional animation. Pixar, on the other hand, has created a totally different world and is maintaining that. Good job.
Speaking of good job, the short that usually precedes Pixar movies was one of the best things ever created for cinema. It's called "One Man Band" - and we have here a one man band pitted against a, well, one man orchestra. As you can see already this short is especially humorous for those who have experienced any sort of band vs. orchestra rivalry. So excellent - that short alone made the whole trip to the theatre worthwhile.
But of course the feature presentation of Cars was very well done - in typical awesome Pixar fashion this is not a simple plot of people falling in love with each other. Think back to Toy Story, or the Incredibles - we learn about characters and their strengths and weaknesses, and you experience the emotions they and the characters around them undergo as a result of that.
The implementation of the "car" theme was excellent and very tasteful - I can't think of a single aspect of car culture that was missed. There's even some of the Fast and the Furious in there. I liked how they didn't just make up generic cars either - every single car that I saw in there (even the more minor of crowd characters) really is a depiction of a real car that was actually produced. Playing too much Gran Turismo allowed me to identify the Italian Tire Salesman (or should I say, Sales-car) as an Autobianchi.
This movie kept me engaged in so many ways. The car-humour/culture was excellent, the characters were engaging, and it was just, in general, such a beautifully animated movie. I am anticipating the DVD for this movie more so than any other movie I've ever seen.
Saturday, 17th of June, 2006
So I keep it in 1st gear and I'm trying to practice starting and stopping but unfortunately about the 3rd stop I made was on a steep hill. It's like learning to drive stick all over again as I'm feathering the throttle with my thumb and releasing the clutch with the left hand, messing with the brakes too to prevent myself from sliding back. Let's just say I popped a wheelie. What a totally different animal than any other motorized vehicle I've driven - gobs of fun.
Tonight's the night I went down to see Phantom of the Opera at the Fox Theatre. Can't say I've ever properly thanked Kevin enough for taking me down to see it back in 2002, where I got totally hooked into that musical. They were really good seats down on the floor level too.
This year, I tried the balcony, where there are some extra things to see and hear. It's hard to appreciate the presence of the rear audio channels from the floor, but in the balcony they add a nice sense of extra spookiness. Very well done. Don't know if that makes up for the surprising lack of general audio clarity up there though - I've heard good sound systems in theatres this size and this one seems to be really lacking.
Thursday, 15th of June, 2006
A semi-truck rear-ended a couple cars going east-bound and then went over the median, sending big chunks of concrete smashing through the windshields of several cars in all directions. That's an Oldsmobile Bravada there charred and a white Toyota 4Runner all mangled in the picture. One person has already died and eight others were rushed off to hospitals, some in critical condition.
On the other hand, rehearsal tonight was complete bliss - I can play pops for the rest of my life and be perfectly happy - things like James Bond, Phantom of the Opera...
Tuesday, 13th of June, 2006
Thursday, 8th of June, 2006
Wednesday, 7th of June, 2006
Picture - Group picture after the performance - fortunately we got to play in the nice cool rotunda for the American Adventure exhibit at Epcot, instead of outside.
Tuesday, 6th of June, 2006
Picture - We ended the day with a dark rehearsal outside at the All-Star Music resorts where we were staying. Pretty sub-obtimal lighting for picture taking, as well as having a rehearsal.
Monday, 5th of June, 2006
Picture - One of the highlights of Downtown Disney is the Lego store, complete with a giant robotic T-Rex made of legos.
Saturday, 3rd of June, 2006
Friday, 2nd of June, 2006
Oh here's a good one - apparently Dr. Joseph Nagyvary found the secret to the Stradivarius, back in 2001. Apparently the secret lies in the borax Stradivari used to protect the wood from a woodworm outbreak. Supposedly these violins that Nagyvary are making sound so close to Strads that hardly anyone can tell the difference. Of course, after 25 years of research Nagyvary gets to cash in a little bit on his hard work and create the Nagyvary violin shop. Course, I'm not able to figure out what's going on here with this shop, since there's no physical address anywhere. I go to Texas enough that I'd make a trip and check it out if I knew where to go.
Thursday, 1st of June, 2006