Month: April 2006

Moving

We got the keys to the house today. Speaking of which, here are a bunch of pictures of the house. They’re pretty boring. But the house is new and shiny and clean, since no one has lived there before. We started moving our stuff in (man do we have a lot of stuff). It also has nothing living in the back yard. There’s no grass back there. But anyway, we started that. We also bought a dryer today (got a deal on it, too), but now we need to con someone into helping us move it to the new house.

Also, we made a duct-tape dummy of KrisDi. I’m going to mail it to Mom, who I assume will stuff it with something so she can use it as a model on which she can knit a sweater that will, supposedly, fit KrisDi. So that’s the plan. And that’s the update. Later folks.

Posted by snaotheus in Photo updates, 2 comments

Catchup (AND I’M HOUSED)

Okay, so first thing’s first. I have a house to move into when I get back from this trip. Monday we looked at the house, found out the owner had two other applicants who hadn’t actually applied yet. We applied the same night in order to beat out the other applicants. The house was brand new — no one has ever lived there before. The house is new enough that its address doesn’t register on Mapquest yet. It’s also big enough, three bedroom, and decent layout. It’s at the top end of what KrisDi and I wanted to spend. KrisDi and I will be paying more rent than our two roommates (I’m okay with that, because even so, we’re paying less than what I started paying in the old house two promotions ago, and much much less than what I payed when living alone three promotions ago). It’s not too far from where we currently live, and not too far from where we work. So, I have a house. I’ll give out the address when I know my move-in date, and where/how to get mail at the new address, and when I know what the zip code is. Phone number will remain the same.

Old things second. August 11, 2003 is the date I started working here. August 11, 2006 is the date I become ‘vested’. At this point in my career, I’m far past career-conditional (which means they can fire me whenever they want without really specifying a reason) and I actually get to keep all the money they’ve ‘matched’ in my retirement fund. Additionally, it’s rumored that I’m basically guaranteed a job if I ever wan to return to the government. Beyond the documented benefits, three years is a pretty decent amount of time to work for an employer, so my resume won’t make it look like I bailed out too quickly. So that explains why three years was my minimum. Now, why I want to get the hell out of here: I don’t like California. I don’t like the people. They are rude, self-centered, and they don’t have a god damn clue how to drive. I don’t care about the weather (whoop-de-fucking-doo, it’s sunny and warm all the time. I like rain and I like seasons). And most annoyingly, they want to charge OVER $700,000 FOR A HOUSE SO CLOSE TO THE NEIGHBORS THAT THE EAVES OVERLAP. The same house being built in less than a month. And I don’t have any choices in the layout, or the finish. Only interior options. FUCK THAT! If I’m going to indebt myself for the foreseeable future, it’s at LEAST going to be for a house in which I have some god damn choices, and enough of a yard that I can fuck it up noticeably. So those are my feelings on this state.

And finally, one or two reviewish things. I finished reading the third book in the Dark Tower series (The Waste Lands), which I enjoyed. Basically because it’s a continuation of a series I like, in a universe I like, with characters I like. I’m easy to please.

I watched (a long time ago) part of Prime. Here’s all I have to say about it: It’s one of the few movies that was so bad I couldn’t finish it.

Posted by snaotheus, 5 comments

Oblivion

Let’s see, where to begin?

A while ago (just before notification that we were moving out), I agreed to help Alibyte, an Australian Word Racer friend of mine. Her friend was ordering a fancy candle from Holland House Candles. Since they live in Australia, shipping would have been $150. So, they had it shipped to me and I shipped it to them for $45 or so. Anu (Alibyte’s friend) was nice enough to send a box of truffles as thanks, but they didn’t arrive in great condition. Apparently the shipping company blatantly ignored the “Keep out of direct heat” warnings on the box. KrisDi and I scraped up a bit of chocolate and then gave up. It was nice of her to send them, though.

I actually went to church this Easter. It wasn’t too horribly bad. I spent most of my time making faces at the little girl sitting in front of me. Either she was making faces at me first, or she was teething. Either way, I started making faces back, and eventually learned that she’s currently unable to wink, despite her best efforts, and also is rather unskilled at fluttering her eyelids.

Housing…we found a nearby one at an acceptable price (more than it’s worth, but nearby and easy and available and nice, and actually big enough). But the owner doesn’t want to rent to us because we don’t want to live there forever and ever. We looked at two other houses, one for $2000 and one for $1900, within a block of each other and *exactly* the same floor plan (too small). A last one, a little older, for $2000 and farther out than we really want to live, is big enough. That’s currently our best bet, if you ask me. I’m sick of this. I just want to sign a friggin lease and move. I’m totally short term anyway. I’m ready to move out of this state. August 11 is the day I start looking for a new job. Speaking of which, I’m going to have to hire my mother to professionalize my resume.

— The rest of this is about the video game, so it probably doesn’t interest most of you —

I broke down and bought the expensive-ass (~$300) video card so I could play Oblivion. That’s what I’ve been spending most of my time on since (aside from looking for houses, but I think the scale is tipping toward Oblivion anyhow). The video card turned out to be a trial. I learned when I opened my computer that my northbridge processor cooling fan had died, and initially I couldn’t physically insert the video card into its slot because the RAM retaining clip things interfered. I replaced the fan with a pretty blue passive cooling device (i.e. heatsink — one of these without a fan), and eventually got the card to fit.

Oh my, that game is pretty. I’m probably not seriously taxing my system, running pretty much at the defaults (1024×768), but it’s so pretty. Character generation is not a matter of choosing a face and a hair style. Appearance is defined by a large set of variables, which are changed through slide bars. These variables include things like forehead height, heaviness of jaw, thinness of lip, width of nose bridge, space between eyes, wideness of eyes, these sorts of things. So you can sit there and slide a bar back and forth as your character morphs from purse-mouthed to pouty and wide- to beady-eyed. It’s freakin’ neat. And that’s just character generation.

As you walk through the fields, the wind blows the grass and trees. You can pick up and toss objects. If you bump into something (like a broom), it’ll fall down, and stay down until someone picks it up. When you shoot your enemies with arrows, the arrows visibly stick out of them. When you walk through a fire (or get shot with fire magic), you burst into flame. When it rains, you can see the ripples on the surface of standing water. When you strike your enemy with a strong blow, he is physically knocked back (or sideways, or down). If you trick an enemy into a trap that was set for you, it will spring on him. Just all kinds of coolness. Just thought I’d share that.

Unfortunately, the game tends to be a bit crashy. Of course, this is just like Morrowind and Daggerfall. Just save a lot and it’s not so bad. It can be pretty frustrating, though.

Anyway, I uploaded some screenshots. Not all the screenshots I took worked (I don’t know why, but I think the naming scheme isn’t perfect, and some got over-written), but here’s where they start. They’re all explained (sort of) in the captions.

Posted by snaotheus, 4 comments

Househunting

I hate to call this househunting, since I’m not buying a house, even though I really, really, really want to. But not in this godforsaken state. Here are a few stories (and at least one illustration).

Realtors here are spoiled. Not only are they used to business coming to them, they’re used to business begging once it gets there. We went to one place (keep in mind, we’re just renting, not buying) to ask for a rental list (MLS basically provides it to the realtors). They wanted to charge us a dollar, for “printing and secretarial services.” I told them I wasn’t going to pay for it, but I’d look through the list while I was in the office.

My refusal to pay wasn’t because I can’t afford it. I assure you, $1 is not an issue on my day-to-day budget. I found the idea of paying a company that wants my business ridiculous. MLS is basically an advertisement for them. “We have this! Please rent it!” Not, “Give us a dollar and we’ll tell you whether or not we have anything for you.” Fuck that. Fuck them. Furthermore, upon my self-righteous refusal, the lady got self-righteous in return, saying something like, “Well, this is a courtesy to people like you who don’t have a place to live,” in a very pointed fashion, seemingly believing I’m homeless and unemployed and at the end of my rope. I wonder how much business condescension earns her? We walked out.

Another place we called and asked a pretty standard question, “What’s the square footage of the house?” The answer: “Why do you want to know?” Well, because we’d like to know how big the fucking house is before we take the time to look at it! Moron. Rude moron.

One house we looked at belonged in the Alpines. It looked like this. We’re in California. Do you really think it’s going to snow? Let alone snow enough that you need a steep slope on the roof to allow the snow to slide off without collapsing the home? It was a decent sized home, but with slanted walls, it would have been nearly impossible to put anything like an entertainment center or a bookshelf against the wall. Plus the master bedroom didn’t have a door. It was open to the rest of the house. I doubt the roommates would have appreciated that. I wouldn’t have either. That one was about forty years old, I think. At least it had personality. It was also a block and a half from the beach.

Since then, we’ve seen a few other places. Some are nice, but expensive and/or far from work. Some are cheap, but shitty. Bad. Smelly, stained, and falling apart, with no plans for repairs. By “cheap”, we mean less than $1900 a month.

This will give you a general idea of what “nice” houses out here are like. You see here two Californian ‘houses’. These two are actually remarkably dissimilar for two houses in one subdivision. As you can see, the two houses are both touching the property line, and their eaves actually hang over the other yard. You might think, “Well, these are small and cramped lots. They’re probably not very expensive.” If you thought that, you’re not from California. My guess is these two houses are each “worth” (note the quotation marks) over $700,000. They build houses on lots less than a tenth of an acre, and still have the balls to advertise “big yards”. Also note, that a subdivision containing over 120 houses is usually built in a year. How well do you think they’re constructed?

On the bright side, our enforced relocation caused us to recycle our beer bottles. The place we took them goes by pound instead of by number of bottles (which is a good thing, considering how many bottles we would have had to count, but also not as lucrative as it could have been). I was guessing we’d have about 75 pounds of glass. We got $30.72, at $0.081/pound, that comes out to 379.3 pounds. So I was a little off. At one point, KrisDi and I found out that four empty bottles are approximately one pound, which makes for about 1500 bottles. This is somewhat inaccurate, since it assumes 100% beer bottles, when we had a fairly small number of liquor and wine bottles in there too.

Also, Oblivion arrived at my house today. This presents a large monetary issue, since my computer does not have the hardware to support it.

My original plan was to take this current computer (which is pretty much a top-of-the-line 32-bit single-core pre-PCI-Express computer) and turn it into a web server, mail server, network drive server, and MythTV box. I had (and have) all sorts of elaborate plans for it. And then I was going to spend a lot of money building a new, genuinely top-of-the-line computer to use. After some research, I discovered that I was only a video card short of exceeding all the recommended hardware for Oblivion, and that building a new computer would have been more expensive than I thought. So I bought a new video card (*sigh*), and will (eventually) dual boot my current machine while figuring out how to configure it for all the fun stuff. Once I make this machine do everything I want it to do, *then* I’ll start to build the new machine so that this one can be dedicated. I’ll move this website to it, and upgrade my internet service so that home web-serving is feasible. And that’s the plan.

Posted by snaotheus, 3 comments

Yeah, sure

Okay, so I just found this. That’s almost as frightening as this. Wow. That’s all I have to say.

So let’s see, last night I think I had a dream that I thought was about Scientoligists or something. Or at least it was about some weird cult/religion thing. The cool thing about this cult is that they were based in a playground, not unlike the one near my old home (all wood, with little pea gravel all around, like this but without the weirdo). Everyone had weird arrowhead type amulets, and there were broken amulets laid out on cloths dispersed around the Holy Playgroundish thing. It was very strange, and more than twelve hours ago, so I don’t remember a whole lot more than that. I’m pretty sure I pissed that religion off, though, just I would probably piss most religions off were their founders/leaders ever to meet me.

Concerning my less than pleasant house-hunting, I am constantly reminded: I hate house-hunting. Four people, with four different ideals, trying to find one place. *sigh* It’ll be over sooner or later. Hopefully sooner, so KrisDi doesn’t have to move herself.

On the bright side, I got to physically restrain my little Chinese roommate so Oleo could take a picture of her foot (for some reason she was quite violently opposed to this). Once I have it, I’ll post the picture up on my faithful website.

Posted by snaotheus in Dreams, Odd Links, 4 comments