28 Dec 2005 @ 8:07 PM 

AndySocial's Last.fm Weekly Artists Chart

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 01 Jan 2006 @ 05:46 PM

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Categories: Music
 28 Dec 2005 @ 5:57 PM 

From 1up’s Essential 50 Videogames. Italicize the ones you’ve played, bold the ones you’ve beaten (or played to such a sufficiently high level that you could routinely beat the scores of your average joe). Make a note if you didn’t actually play it on its original platform, but instead played it on a MAME emulator or some “Greatest Hits” package.1. Spacewar (1962: PDP-1)
2. Pong (1972: Arcade/Console)
3. Space Invaders (1978: Arcade)
4. Adventure (1979: Atari 2600)
5. Battlezone (1980: Arcade)
6. Pitfall! (1982: Atari 2600)
7. Zork (1977-79: DEC PDP-10)
8. Game & Watch (1980-88)
9. Star Wars (1983: Arcade)
10. Pac-Man (1980: Arcade)
11. Donkey Kong (1981: Arcade)
12. Rogue (1980: VAX/BSD UNIX)
13. E.T. (1982: Atari 2600)
14. Dragon’s Lair (1983: Arcade)
15. King’s Quest (1983: PC)
16. One-on-One (1983: C64)
17. Super Mario Bros. (1985: Arcade/NES)
18. Gauntlet (1985: Arcade)
19. M.U.L.E. (1983: C64)
20. Dragon Warrior (1986: NES)
21. Ultima IV (1985: Apple II/PC)
22. The Macintosh (1984)
23. Tetris (1986: PC/NES/GameBoy)
24. Prince of Persia (1989: PC)
25. FaceBall 2000 (1990: GameBoy)
26. Doom (1993: PC)
27. John Madden NFL Football (1990: Genesis)
28. Sonic the Hedgehog (1991: Genesis)
29. Super Mario Kart (1992: Super NES)
30. Populous (1989: Amiga/PC)
31. Herzog Zwei (1991: Genesis)
32. Street Fighter II (1991: Arcade)
33. Myst (1993: Mac/PC)
34. Mortal Kombat (1992: Arcade/SNES/Genesis)
35. Virtua Fighter (1993: Arcade/32X)
36. Super Mario 64 (1996: Nintendo 64)
37. Tomb Raider (1996: PS/Saturn/PC/Mac)
38. Final Fantasy VII (1997: PS/PC)
39. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater (1999: PS)
40. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (1998: N64)
41. Metal Gear Solid (1998: PS)
42. Half-Life (1998: PC)
43. Gran Turismo (1998: PS)
44. Parappa the Rapper (1997: PS)
45. Ultima Online (1997: PC)
46. Pokémon (1998: GameBoy)
47. The Sims (2000: PC)
48. Jet Grind Radio (2000: Dreamcast)
49. Grand Theft Auto III (2001: PS2/Xbox/PC)
50. Halo (2001: Xbox/PC/Mac)

I’ve seemingly played a lot of games (most of them 15 or more years ago) but don’t beat them. Eh. What can you do?

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 10 Jan 2006 @ 08:17 PM

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Categories: Geek, Memes
 26 Dec 2005 @ 12:03 AM 

The printer naturally arrived in San Angelo while I was in San Antonio, and the FedEx office closed while I was passing through Eden. Checking the web site at the time I was supposed to be across town (near the FedEx office), I saw that it was supposedly not on a truck but was sitting at the FedEx office. Cool, I’ll swing by there. Nope, not there. The web site needed a kickstart, apparently, because the printer was on the truck, as of 7:52 am. This truck usually passes my house around 11 am, based on recent history. It actually showed up closer to 4 pm. Gotta love the holidays for slowing shipping service to a crawl.

Before I even unpacked the printer completely, I checked to see if the power switch worked. Yay! After pulling the fifty pound monster up onto the desk and printing the test page, there was much rejoicing. The thing is even bigger than I envisioned it, but prints pretty. Mission accomplished, finally.

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 26 Dec 2005 @ 12:03 AM

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Categories: Geek, Personal
 20 Dec 2005 @ 6:25 PM 

So, the stupid printer is still in my house. The HP folks will send me a replacement, via next-day air, as soon as I let them know that FedEx has picked this one up. That will be tomorrow afternoon. Yay for taking time off work to wait for the FedEx dude!

Now, with Christmas being this weekend, maybe I can hope to have a printer on … Thursday? Oh, except I’ll be in San Antonio Thursday. Joy. So, maybe by Friday, but certainly before Christmas itself. In the immortal words of Mr. Garrison, Merry Christmas to you (yes, I did omit a word. So?).

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 20 Dec 2005 @ 06:25 PM

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Categories: Geek, Personal
 20 Dec 2005 @ 12:29 AM 

Hewlett Packard is having a sale on their entry-level color laser printer, the 2600N. This printer has won awards and accolades when it was selling for 400 bucks. Now, it’s on sale for $319, with free shipping. Since my inkjet is old and ink is only available via mailorder and it is spitting and sputtering, I ordered a nice shiny laser printer. It showed up today.

I spent over an hour waiting at the FedEx center, after being told the package would be there at the time I arrived. OK, nothing to be done about it. Get it home, unpack the fifty pound beast, pull all the tabs, place it just so, install software, plug it in, flip the switch. And the switch. . . fell off in my hand. That can’t be right.

I tried to reassemble the switch, to no avail. So, I’ve got a fifty pound paperweight on my desk. Joy. I’m betting I won’t print anything until New Years. Ho ho ho.

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 20 Dec 2005 @ 12:31 AM

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Categories: Geek
 18 Dec 2005 @ 11:28 AM 

USSID 18 and the new interpretation of it.

No comment needed.

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 18 Dec 2005 @ 11:28 AM

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Categories: News
 16 Dec 2005 @ 1:08 AM 

According to the Official Kwanzaa Web Site, Kwanzaa isn’t just an artificial holiday invented by an American in order to have a “Black holiday” that explicitly excludes anyone of any other ethnicity.

As an African American and Pan-African holiday celebrated by millions throughout the world African community, Kwanzaa brings a cultural message which speaks to the best of what it means to be African and human in the fullest sense.

Of course, they neglect to mention that nobody in Africa celebrates Kwanzaa. Why? Because they have enough traditional holidays as it is, they didn’t need to invent one that sounded like a traditional holiday but isn’t.

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 16 Dec 2005 @ 01:10 AM

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Categories: Random Thoughts
 15 Dec 2005 @ 9:51 PM 

For decades, the liberals have been professionally offended. “You said Oriental instead of Asian! Shame!” and all that rot. Now, the conservatives (or at least those who watch too much Fox News) are professionally offended. The target, of course, is the wholly mythical campaign against Christmas.

When I was a kid, I sold greeting cards for a while (a year or so, I don’t remember – it’s been a long time!). Many of those cards said “Happy Holidays” (which of course is a contraction from Holy Days in case you forgot) or “Season’s Greetings.” Never once did I hear someone put on a show of being offended that not every card said “Christmas” on it. Not a single time. I guess back then we didn’t have the benefit of a 24-hour news channel which needs ratings so badly that they can tell us exactly when and at whom we should be offended or outraged. Ah, those old days when we had to form our own opinions about things, instead of being spoonfed by Bill O’Reilly and his ilk.

There is plenty of documentation out there about the total lack of ethics practiced by Mr. O’Reilly, particularly in the craven nature of his lies about the anti-Christmas contingent. Every story I’ve seen that O’Reilly has touted as an example of people banning Christmas has been completely debunked. Have fun with your non-controversy, Right Wing Nuts.

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 12 Oct 2007 @ 07:13 AM

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Categories: News, Political
 15 Dec 2005 @ 9:39 PM 

After a completely pointless resolution was introduced to protect the symbols of Christmas, the longest-serving member of the House had something to say.

Rep. John Dingell (D-MI): “Madam Speaker, I have a little poem.

‘Twas the week before Christmas and all through the House,
no bills were passed `bout which Fox News could grouse.
Tax cuts for the wealthy were passed with great cheer,
so vacations in St. Barts soon should be near.

Katrina kids were all nestled snug in motel beds,
while visions of school and home danced in their heads.
In Iraq, our soldiers need supplies and a plan,
and nuclear weapons are being built in Iran.

Gas prices shot up, consumer confidence fell.
Americans feared we were in a fast track to ….. well.
Wait, we need a distraction, something divisive and wily,
a fabrication straight from the mouth of O’Reilly.

We will pretend Christmas is under attack,
hold a vote to save it, then pat ourselves on the back.
Silent Night, First Noel, Away in the Manger,
Wake up Congress, they’re in no danger.

This time of year, we see Christmas everywhere we go,
From churches to homes to schools and, yes, even Costco.
What we have is an attempt to divide and destroy
when this is the season to unite us with joy.

At Christmastime, we’re taught to unite.
We don’t need a made-up reason to fight.
So on O’Reilly, on Hannity, on Coulter and those right-wing blogs.
You should sit back and relax, have a few egg nogs.

‘Tis the holiday season; enjoy it a pinch.
With all our real problems, do we really need another Grinch?
So to my friends and my colleagues, I say with delight,
a Merry Christmas to all, and to Bill O’Reilly, happy holidays.
Ho, ho, ho. Merry Christmas.”

The non-binding, totally ceremonial resolution passed, of course – 401 to 22.

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 12 Oct 2007 @ 07:13 AM

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Categories: Political, Religion
 15 Dec 2005 @ 9:29 PM 

Whenever someone asks what I want for $GIFTGIVINGDAY, I point them to my registry on Amazon. Yet, they continually do one of two things: don’t buy me anything at all, or say, “what do you really want?” Yeah, that’s why I have the wish list. I actually use the wish list myself more frequently than is probably wise. It’s pretty much ended up as a “hey that looks cool but I’m not going to buy it today” holding area.

Still, I have to wonder why someone would ask what I want, and then assume that I was just yanking their chain by telling them. Must be a lot of duplicitious people in the world, making folks that untrusting.

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 15 Dec 2005 @ 09:29 PM

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Categories: Personal
 11 Dec 2005 @ 10:12 PM 

During the cruise, I brought along the new digital camera, the newish MiniDV camcorder, and a Jimi wallet. Here’s my impressions of how they fared.

Canon A610 digital camera

This 5 megapixel compact camera continues to impress me. I’m still on the original pack of four AA batteries that came packed with the camera. Considering that you usually assume the batteries that come with a device are half dead to begin with, this is very impressive. I’ve taken over four hundred photos on one set of batteries, plus a few short videos just to test it out.
I tried out the whole gamut of options on this bad boy last week. The series of cameras of which the A610 is part is the first group of consumer-level cameras equipped with the Digic II chip. The difference in speed from the Digic processor is amazing. I had a high-speed 1 gigabyte SD card and hit the “motor drive” mode to shoot still images continuously in full resolution (2,592 x 1,944). It never hiccuped, even after a series of 30 images in a row. Of course, this is without flash. Flash recycle times are the norm you expect.
Anyway, if you want to see the images, just go to the gallery and check ’em out. I didn’t do any retouching of the cruise photos before uploading them.


The camcorder is pretty much what you expect from a $300 miniDV camcorder. It works well, but it’s nothing magical. The low-light exposure is not very good, but no worse than any other in its class. Fortunately, Adobe Premiere is great at post-production – I use the level processing frequently. I picked up a 3 hour battery for under fifty bucks at the post-Thanksgiving sales, and it didn’t need to be recharged during the trip. I used the viewfinder more than the external LCD, so that affects battery life a lot. I’m getting footage together for a year-end “Best of Alex” DVD. Yes, I’m a geek.

Jimi Wallet

I got one of these in teal, to keep my cards and money out of my pocket when I was on the beach and such. It’s not waterproof, just splash-resistant. It was perfect for a cashless week, but I can see a major problem if I tried to carry more than a few bills in it. The Jimi fits in the front pocket of your pants, not the rear – some folks would probably have issues with that. For the cruise, it was much better than a normal wallet. Now, to get a replacement for the worn 8 year-old eelskin wallet I bought in Korea. Anyone have any of those lying around? 🙂

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 11 Dec 2005 @ 10:18 PM

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Categories: Reviews
 10 Dec 2005 @ 11:20 PM 

Richard Pryor has passed on. Coincidentally, I recently started listening to the box set of his albums.

Think I’ll head over to Netflix and update my queue. A little Stir Crazy seems about right.

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 10 Dec 2005 @ 11:23 PM

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Categories: News
 10 Dec 2005 @ 8:38 PM 

As promised, I’ve posted about 30 photos from the cruise. One example:


Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 16 Sep 2007 @ 12:10 PM

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Categories: Personal, The Boy
 09 Dec 2005 @ 8:48 AM 

Why would you get a Treadmill Bike instead of just…oh, say – running on the streets? Bizarre.

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 09 Dec 2005 @ 08:48 AM

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Categories: Entertainment
 09 Dec 2005 @ 8:41 AM 

After five days of cruising, the last one in some fairly choppy seas, it now feels like my house is swaying.

We’re back, safe and sound; photos and videos and all that are awaiting my attention. Feel free to talk amongst yourselves.

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 09 Dec 2005 @ 08:41 AM

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Categories: Personal, Site News, The Boy
 02 Dec 2005 @ 4:48 PM 

OK, you little deviants. I’m taking off for a week, cruising with my son and assorted family members to the Yucatan. It was supposed to be Cozumel, but I’m told that island is kind of hosed right now, so it sounds like we’ll be hitting Progreso and Veracruz. I promise to take a bajillion photos and videos – gotta justify the new memory cards and batteries, after all. 🙂

Try not to blow anything up while I’m away, k?

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 02 Dec 2005 @ 04:48 PM

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Categories: Personal, Site News, The Boy

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