While I've been slacking off, pretty much the only thing I've spent money on is bills, food, and the drive-in. Generally, the routine is to head to Quik Trip to grab drinks and snacks. Then head to either In-N-Out for some animal style double doubles or McDonald's for $1 double cheeseburgers to 'sneak' into the drive-in. Seen quite a few movies this summer. Indiana Jones 4, Wall-E, Hulk, Hellboy 2, and The Dark Knight. All from separate trips. The local drive-in is usually pretty bad about pairing movies, and on the rare occasions that both movies are good Drea usually claims she is melting by the time the first one is over. I liked all of the above movies, even Indiana Jones with the aliens. Could have been better, but didn't hate it. I put it third in my order of preference among the series(1, 3, 4, 2). I may give a more in depth review at a later date. Finally the trailers included with The Dark Night. I'd already seen the Watchmen trailer, so it wasn't a surprise. But looks good. All the characters look correct, and the trailer is pretty much a spot on flash of the entire movie. The one that did surprise me Terminator Salvation. Yay, finally the movie I've been wanting since I saw Terminator back in '84, the war against the machines. I don't even really care if it's good or not. Now if they'll make a Colonial Space Marines movie, and sequels to Buckaroo Banzai and Sword and the Sorcerer all of my 80s movie wants will be fulfilled.
I've been to the drive-in twice this week. Saw Forbidden Kingdom on Sunday and Ironman last night. Both were good. Forbidden Kingdom was exactly what you'd expect from the trailers. A solid, fun Kung-Fu flick. Michael Angranaro was not terribly annoying as the American kid. Basically, if you're interested in the movie by the trailer, you'll probably like it. Ironman was also good. A solid origin story. Only two complaints really. Not enough action with the Ironman suit as most of the movie is spent either before it's built or in the building and testing of it. And the finale is a bit weak. It'd be a spoiler to say why exactly, but neither of them ruin the experience. They've definitely set things up for sequels and the inclusion of Warmachine. Also, be sure to stay until the end of the credits.
I've been watching movies and anime all weekend. I bought a bunch of DVDs from Amazon this week. On the movie front, watched Gangs of New York, Support Your Local Sherriff, Support Your Local Gunfighter, and Adventures in Babysitting yesterday. Friday I finished off watching Planetes. I liked it quite a bit. A hard science fiction series was refreshing. It starts a bit slow, but around episode 4 or 5, is where I started liking it. I really like the opening them, Dive into the Sky, along with the opening credits which are a nifty montage of the history of rocketry and space flight. Dive in the Sky is also a blast to play on Audiosurf, but more about that later. I've moved on to The Mars Daybreak. Martian submarine pirates. What more could you want? Plus it has mechs, talking cats, and talking Beluga whales in powersuits. About all it's missing is ninjas. It's not brilliant, but plenty entertaining. And they have little, round, worker robots called BALLS. This leads to Drea and I snickering like 12 year olds whenever the mention them in the dialogue.
Now, to Audiosurf. Drea told me about it once it popped up on Steam. It's alot more fun than it should be for such a simple game. It has a variety of little F-Zeroesque racing ships that you pilot along a course made by Audiosurf based on the MP3 you select. Variables such as the tempo of the song determine the layout of the course. Typically fast and loud means the course is downhill and fast, slow and soft means slow and uphill. Along the way you collect colored blocks. You get three touching each other and the clear out and you score addition points, kinda like Tetris. The more blocks connected and cleared, the more bonus points. There's other variables based on the ship used but that's the basic idea. As I said before, more fun than it should be. It's also forced me to ensure all the text data for my MP3s is accurate. It won't upload and compare scores if it can't read the text info.
Finally, Fresh & Easy. These are small grocery stores the British company Tesco has been talking about opening in the US for a couple years now. They're available in California, Nevada, and Arizona so far. Basically a smaller sized grocery store, specializing in fresh and prepackaged meals. They have stuff like lasanga, sandwiches, sushi, burritos, baked potatos, and a variety of other things in small meal sized packages ready for microwave or other type of heating. They're very good too. Fresh, they have a sell by date, usually within three days. Half price if you buy them on the sell by date. Prices in general are very good. I bought a beef lasanga dish, about 1 1/2 pounds, for $4. The first visit was before work, and about 10 minutes before the store was closed, so they were pretty picked over. But the next visit was right at opening when they had a much better selection. Their packaged chicken salad is VERY good. I also bought some pork carnitas that made for some excellent burritos. Just emptied the package in a skillet and heated on medium for ten minutes. Drea bought a fajita package. Beef strips, onions, and a variety of peppers. Again just dump into a skillet with a little oil and cook for 10 minutes. They also have regular groceries, also very competitively priced, but the primary draw is the pre-packed stuff. Either finished meals or ingredients in meal packages. They do the ingredient packages with all sorts of vegetables and meats. Check out is through those automated terminals, which is somewhat fun. I don't think it's gonna replace ordering online from Safeway as my primary grocery source, mainly because their hours a not terribly compatible with my schedule. But once I have purchased a freezer unit, I definitely intend to visit every couple of weeks to stock up on meats and pre-made meals.
In researching motherboards, I found that virtually no current boards have VGA ports. This was a problem as I had 2 21" Trinitrons at the time. And the old one, that I'd relegated to rarely used second, looked like crap with a VGA to DVI adaptor. I HOPED getting a better adaptor and using the newer Trinitron wouldn't have the same problems, but I bought a nice 22" X2gen panel just to be safe. Only $250 or so with a one year replace for any reason warranty. And it looks way nice. A bit TOO bright though. Even tweaked. To get what I consider a good brightness screws up colors. I'm getting used to it. The good new is the Trinitron doesn't look bad with one of the other adaptors I bought. But definitely not as good as with a straight VGA connection. Good enough for a second monitor though.
The new Antec P180B case is very nice. Power supply in the bottom of the case which made cable routing interesting. Came with 3 120mm 3 speed fans and space for 2 more, which I also bought. So with a total of 6 120mm fans(One on the heatsink/fan combo, Tuniq Tower.), it's virtually silent. I have to actively listen for it when the AC is not running, and that's with all 6 on the high setting. It's totally silent on medium or low. I don't like the new panel compared to my trusty old Antec 1040b, but everything else is very nice. The power supply was a bit of a gamble. 575 watt but only cost $25. 90+% of the Newegg reviews said good things and most of the bad were of the 'It was dead in the box' variety so I figured I'd take a change. No problems so far after two weeks, so looks likke the gamble paid off.
I hadn't decided on whether to go with a Core2Duo or an X2 processor, but when looking at pricing there was a combo deal on the X2 3600+ Brisbane core chip and 2GB of nice Corsair memory, so that decided things. This one with modest air cooling, and I have much better than just modest, should do at least 3 ghz from it's stock 1.9. I haven't tried yet, stock the dual core chip is significantly faster than my old Athlon XP at 2ghz. Twice the RAM and it being much faster RAM doesn't hurt either. I went with an Asus Nforce 570 ultra board. I don't see myself ever buying two video cards at once, so I didn't want to waste any cash on an SLI board. I went with an XFX Geforce 7950GT 512MB card. Since I don't plan on buying Vista any time in the forseeable future, getting one of the 8xxx series Geforce cards would have been a waste. This card is plenty. I have Dawn of War Dark Crusade running at the new panel's native 1680x1050 will everything set on max and 4x antialiasing and I've not seen any slowdowns, even when I've filled a map with Waugh! banners and had a full cap of Orkies attack a base. Additionally, the card only warms up about 2 degrees over idle temp. So I am plenty pleased with the performance. No game I've tried so far has had any problems running at the panel's native resolution. I may dig out Fear and see how it does. Finally I grabbed a new Western Digital 320 GB serial ATA2 hard drive. I really didn't need more space. The idea was behind it was two fold: A. It was cheap. B. I wanted to have a complete system without taking the old one down. Makes researching install problems easier and I wanted to have the new system totally functional with all my normal apps before I did something permanent. Problems. I forgot I don't have an extra keyboard. But the install went without a hitch and I did have just about everything running before taking the old system apart. Turns out the only thing I lost this time was a text file on my desktop that I had my movie want list on. Not a major problem.
So, to sum up new system:
AMD A64 X2 3600+ 1.9ghz soon to be 3+ghz
2 x 1GB CORSAIR TWIN2X2048-6400 RAM
ASUS M2N-E NForce 570 ULTRA AM2 motherboard
XFX GF7950GT 512MB video card
Western Digital 320GB ATA2 hard drive.
2x Western Digital 250GB ATA2 hard drives from old system
Pioneer DVR111D Dual layer burner from old system.
Sony 3 1/2" floppy drive(Just because some driver companies are stupid about their utilities.) from old system.
Tuniq Tower HSF
X2gen 22" LCD.
Price for parts not counting LCD was just a bit under $900. And the LCD was around $250. The free $850 from work pretty much covered the system. And I bought the LCD out of the extra paycheck. I like the LCD enough I may get a second some time this year. While I have a ton of deskspace, you can always use more. The downside is, you can't stand toys on an LCD. Currently I have a Tachikoma, 'Alphonse' from Patlabor, a Microsoft Sidewinder joystick, and a Viking Kitten plushy on top of mine.
Another year has passed, and again, things are pretty much the same. Again November is an extra paycheck month, so I've bought some new toys and stuffs. Bought a bunch of DVDs on Ebay last week in preparation of days off. Most of them have arrived. Didn't go out for food as I normally do, didn't feel like leaving the house today. Will probably do so tomorrow, and maybe hit the drive in.
I also bought Neverwinter Nights 2. So far it's been a disappointment. Really limited character appearance options. The camera is really clunky. Enough so I'm not gonna play it anymore until a few weeks goes by and some fixes are released. There was already a major patch released by the time I installed it, and I preordered it with overnight shipping. From what I've seen and from other comments it's REALLY linear, two encounters into the tutorial, they throw enough XP at you to get to level 2. That and the forced companions for the early part of the game is annoying. The interface is seriously clunky as well, the didn't use any of the radial menu of the original. Not to mention no, or awkward remapping of keys and buttons. Very disappointing, I expect better of obsidian, especially considering how much more polished KOTOR 2 was.
1. Pizza, delivery 7+ place last count.
2. Knife Salesman(Bleeding during an in home demo = guilt sale.).
3. Laborer in a steel mill.
4. Tech support in 4+ places.
B) Four movies you would watch over and over: (I do this for way more than four movies. So in no particular order or importance.)
2. Master and Commander
3. Big Trouble in Little China
4. The Right Stuff
C) Four places you have lived:
1. Capistrano Beach, CA
2. Herndon, VA
3. Pittsburgh, PA
4. Mesa, AZ
D) Four TV shows you love to watch: (I pretty much don't watch TV anymore, haven't had TV cable in over a year.)
1. Just about anything on the History Channel.
2. Azumanga Daioh
3. Probe(Let's go for the totally obscure.)
4. Deadwood (One of the few things I miss from cable.)
E) Four places you have been on vacation:
1. The Grand Canyon
2. Washington, DC
3. Catalina Island, CA
4. Various backwoods in PA and CA.
F) Websites you visit daily:
4. Google(It is my friend.)
G) Four of my favourite foods:
1. Medium rare Ribeyes.
2. My home cooked 1 lb. burgers.
3. My home cooked pulled pork BBQ sandwiches.
4. Pork Lo Mein.
H) Four places I would rather be right now: (I LOVE my apartment. I have spent lots of money and effort making it my favorite place.
I) Four friends I think will respond: (Beats me, they are an unpredicatable lot.)