August 2004 Archives

calling it quits

Ok, so here's a quick rundown of the first week of my last semester at UT:

Wednesday - I arrive to work at 8am, strangely not feeling sleepy at all despite waking up at 6:15. It felt good to see all my coworkers that didn't work during the Summer. It was also kinda weird sitting at the Laptop Help Desk and not at the regular staff desk where I'm used to working. It was a pretty slow morning so I went online and ran an IDA (Interactive Degree Audit) to make sure I'll be able to graduate this semester. After 15 mins the audit was ready and I checked my results. I start scrolling down the list of YES's indicating that I have met the requirements for that specific part of my degree plan. Just as I was getting to the last bit of YES's, I noticed one NO. All I could think was oh crap. As it turns out, with the three classes I had been registered for (Photography, EvoPsych, and Computers & Writing) I was still 3 hours short on Upper Division credit. Great, that's just what I want to hear. I didn't feel like stressing over finding another class, so I just ignored it for the time being and enjoyed the dead morning at work. It was so dead, in fact, that only one person came to the Help Desk, and all she needed was an airport card, so we sent her to the Campus Computer Store. So after 2 hours of basically sitting there, I went to my first class: Computers & Writing. It was kind of a small class and apparently the focus is on accessibility and websites. I've never cared much about accessibility, so this class may teach me a thing or two. Plus, Minh is in it too, so it won't be too crappy. So after that class I went to see my advisor to make sure there wasn't anything extra I needed to do to graduate. She just told me I need to go by the Main building some time and apply to graduate and I'll be set. It was really weird just talking about graduation. I've been at UT far too long and now I don't want to leave. After that I went to have lunch then went back to work. Soon it was time to go to photography class so Ting and I headed all the way over to the communications building only to find out that there was no class that day since it was a lab and it's the first week of classes. It was pretty hot and humid outside, so that was kind of a lame walk. Anyway, Ting and I headed back to work after stopping by Gregory Gym so she could get a locker for the semester. Once at work I tried to get into cart room to deliver a cart, but for some reason it wouldn't read my ID card. Somehow between Gregory and work my card got demagnetized. It was kinda sad because I've had that ID for the past 5 years and had no problems. Suddenly it dies the first day of my last semester. It was very bizarre and surely must be an omen of some sort. After that the day kinda flew by and I sped home to play round 2 of our TFC match. It was a title match, so I was very eager to play. We (my clan) ended up winning the title for our division, which was pretty awesome. After that I passed out pretty early thanks to my early morning and long day. That was all just Wednesday.

Thursday was rather uneventful. I don't even remember it really. I went to EvoPsych and the professor was this little old man who turned out to be quite funny and I'm sure I'll enjoy his class, even if it is a writing class. 3 6 page papers, 2 take home tests, and a book review are what I have to look forward to in there. After more work, it was time for Photography class. It sounds pretty fun, but in class I came to realize how expensive it will be. $200 to $500 just for the materials. That's not counting the film processing fees. After that I was kinda worried because I'm pretty broke now after the tuition bomb dropped. I'm gonna have to work a lot now to be able to afford stuff. I think I'm gonna stick with the class anyway though. It sounds like a lot of fun despite the robbery. That night I ended up adding another psych class, Perception. That was about all that happened Thusday.

Friday flew by. We talked more about accesibility in C&W class. After that I ran over to my newly added Perception class. It turns out the professor is pretty cool and is big on all kinds of music. I just hope it's an easy class. The strictly multiple choice tests leads me to believe so. After that I hauled ass to the opposite end of campus for work where my day just kinda blew by. After such a crazy week I came home and passed out at around 10:15, the earliest I've gone to sleep in a long, long time. I don't know what this coming week will bring, but given that it's now 1:40am and I have to get up at 6:30, I can guess it's gonna be another exhausting week. I can't wait.

 

It's kinda bizarre that my ID died the first day of my last semester. It has to be some sort of sign. I guess someone is trying to tell me it's time I moved along. When I was in 7th grade I got this stylish calculator watch. Over the years the band broke and I kept replacing it, but finally it broke to where it could no longer hold a band, so I would keep it in my pocket. I used it from 7th grade all the way through high school. For 5 years it worked without fail (aside from the bands breaking). Then on graduation day I was in the parking lot at Burger Center (the place where our graduation was held) and I pulled out my watch to check the time. Sadly, it was dead. It had kept time for me (and phone numbers) loyally for 5 years, only to die on graduation day. It was really kinda weird. So when my ID stopped working Wednesday, it was really a bizarre feeling. Strange coincidence perhaps, but weird nonetheless.

Anyway... the Olympic closing ceremony just ended so I should probably get to bed. I was a little disappointed with the Olympics this time around. Not nearly enough Japan coverage. About the only cool part was having the shotput at the original Olympic site as well as I think some relays. The Winter Olympics are where it's at anyway. That's what I'm waiting for. The next Olympic games will be held in Beijing, as is being balatantly advertised by all the Chinese dancing and singing in this particular portion of the closing ceremony. I can't wait for that. It's gonna be hot! RED HOT!

the beginning of the end

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Well, Summer is officially over. Tomorrow is the first day of the Fall semester which also marks the beginning of my last semester at UT. Thanks to work, Summer flew by incredibly fast. Looking back, I didn't accomplish any of my goals I set for myself for the Summer. It's kinda sad. My summer can be summed up with one word: work. I don't think I had a single day off this summer except for one day last week and that was hardly a day off because I had to get up really early for a dentist appointment which kinda ruined the rest of my day. So tomorrow is the first day of classes and already I'm dreading it, not because of class, but because of work. We have a lot of new people working, and coupled with a really jacked up schedule, I may have to skip a class or something to be able to cover the holes. One cool thing though is I'll be working for the iBook support desk at work for a few hours and I'll get my own personal iBook to use for the semester. Kinda sucks though because I have to work at 8am for that and I am very much not a morning person. I'm not even an early afternoon person. As far as classes go, I'm gonna be taking Evolutionary Psychology which sounds interesting and cool, even though it's a writing component. I needed a lower division writing component too, so I signed up for some class called Computers & Writing, which I'm sure will be quite retarded. I really wish they hadn't removed the writing component status of that web design class I had originally registered for. The only other class I'm taking is a photography class, although it has crappy times so I'm considering dropping it. It'll save me some money and time if I do, but it could be pretty fun. I'll probably decide on that tomorrow. Who knows what this final semester holds in store for me. Whatever happens, I gotta make the most of it. My college days are running low.

a pirate's life for me

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Well, my weekend was officially crap. I should have known it was going to be bad when I woke up Friday morning to find an email regarding the Intro to Web Dev class I am slated to take this coming semester. It went a little something like this:

"Good morning, David, Charles, Blake, Cynthia, Alicia, Naveed, Alex, Jeremy, Krishna, Kristen, Anthony, Priyesh, Rachel, Stephen, and Steven:

Thank you for interest in this very popular class. We understand that you mostly likely enrolled in order to learn important skills in web design. Due to a clerical error, this has been listed as a writing component class. Because of the nature of this class, assignments will not be in essay form, therefore, we regret to inform you that the writing component designation has been removed from this course. You do not need to do anything if you wish to remain in this web design class. However, you will not receive writing component credit.

Thank you very much for your interest in our web design course. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at the above email address. Thanks, ks"

So in case you're wondering why that was such bad news, the whole reason I signed up for that class is because it was a writing component. I have 3 classes left to take at UT, and 2 of them are writing components. This would have been the easiest writing component known to man and I was excited because it meant a nice, easy last semester. As you can see, my dreams are no more. So now one week before classes start I have to find another writing component, which I can't do until the first day of classes (meaning it'll be a pain to get in). What's worse is no matter what class I do find, it's guaranteed to be lame and a lot of work. So much for my easy last semester. I could probably do fine with just one writing class, but I have to take two. Here's me dead come December: o-|-<

So that's the start of my ruined weekend. It continued on Saturday when I drank nothing but water while playing Rallisport online the entire day with my Rallisport friends whom I met online playing so much. Come night time, I had the worst headache imaginable. I took a shower and it didn't help and I figured it couldn't be due to lack of sleep because I slept a good 12 hours. I finally determined that my headache was probably due to caffeine withdrawal. I guess water is bad for you. So I went downstairs to make some iced tea only to find out that we were out of sugar so I couldn't make any. What's worse is we didn't have any sodas or anything with caffeine in the house. Feeling miserable and upset at our lack of caffeine fixes, I decided to drive to the nearest gas station to get me a Dr. Pepper. I chugged that sucker down and waited for the caffeine to do its magic. An hour went by and nothing happened. Still feeling miserable, I admitted defeat and decided to just go to sleep. Just as I was about to get in bed, I realized that my headache was gone. I was going to get up and enjoy what was left of the night, but decided to just sleep instead. And sleep I did. I just wish I had figured out what the problem was earlier in the day. I missed out on some hot Rallisport action thanks to that stupid headache. So what's the moral of the story, you ask? What's the point, you say? It's really quite simple.
-I like Dr. Pepper. A lot.

Last weekend I bought Tenchu: Return From Darkness, which is a really awesome ninja game which focuses a lot on stealth and Silent Killing™. If you own an Xbox I highly recommend it. (It is also available for the inferior PS2.) It's a nice departure from killing zombies and monsters in Ninja Gaiden. Tenchu has a little more realistic setting. I played a lot of Ninja Gaiden this past week too. I don't know how far along in the game I am, but it seems to go on forever. I love it! I just beat this huge dinosaur skeleton thing which was pretty sweet. The funny thing is after I beat it I realized I can upgrade my sword. I didn't even know you could do that in the game. My sword should have been level 3 by now and here I am with a level 1 sword. I guess I should get props for making it this far with a weak sword. I felt dumb but also elated that I now have a level 3 sword. No wonder the game has been so hard..

I didn't buy any game this weekend, which effectively ends my game a week streak. There's always next weekend though ;) I suppose I could return DoA Extreme Beach Volleyball and rent something else, but how can I part with such a gem of a game? You'd all do the same if you were in my shoes. Don't even lie.

Once I finally stopped playing Rallisport online, I decided to fire up WinMX and do a little trading; something I haven't done a long time. I spent about 12 hours Saturday trading like mad. I got some cool stuff and uploaded a ton. (This was all during my insane caffeine withdrawal headache btw.) So when it came bedtime I left WinMX running so I could let my queues progress to get some files I wanted. Well when I got up in the morning I noticed I had some IMs in WinMX from other users. I laughed because I knew they were from people begging to be moved up in the queue so they could dl stuff from me. Too bad I was asleep. While 2 of them were of that nature, one was not. Rather it was small paragraph in Japanese from someone named 'air_snake.' It was a lot of text and I didn't feel like reading it all so I quickly skimmed it, as it seemed unusual. It contained a link to a page on the RIAJ's (Recording Industry Association of Japan, the Japanese version of the RIAA) website about piracy. It was at this point that I thought to myself, 'oh crap.' The page contained a ton of Japanese and I was too groggy to bother trying to translate it. I ran it through my Rikai extension in Firefox and quickly skimmed the page to get the gist of what it was saying. Basically it was a cease and desist message. I don't know if the RIAJ can sue me or anything given that I'm in the US, but rather than risk it, I unshared all my stuff (although I'm still on WinMX now leeching like crazy). I did a little research earlier to try and find out if they can or cannot sue me, but the results were inconclusive. As such I have to be a stupid leecher for the time being until I find some good info on the matter. During my research, however, I did find out that lots of other people got these messages. They all came from someone with snake in their name, usually with a color or some sort of element/state, such as red_snake, solid_snake, water_snake, or in my case, air_snake. So, as I've come to find out, Japan is launching a similar campaign to the one started by the RIAA. They may have won in the short run, but I do plan on sharing again once I'm better informed. As I've always said, if it wasn't for filesharing, I wouldn't own most of the CDs I have. I was exposed to Japanese music thanks to Napster and now own about $500 worth of Japanese CDs. I have online friends I met through WinMX that I talk to on a regular basis. As you can see, filesharing is one of the few things I feel strongly about. It just kinda pisses me off that I get in trouble for sharing a few thousand mp3s and music videos, meanwhile a guy downloads off me and has tons of rape porn and 12 year old girl porn vids. God forbid you share some music. I thought the problem was mostly localized to the US thanks to the greedy RIAA. I guess greed spans the planet. What an age we live in.

And thus, that's how my weekend was ruined.

Forgive me Lord, for I have sinned

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Two days for a weekend just isn't enough. These past 2 days have been quite relaxing since I don't have to get up early or work. Unfortunately it's already time to go back to work, and maybe attend a few days of the Max II DMA course. The scary thing is I only have something like 3 weeks left before school starts again. Yikes.

Saturday I saw this Japanese movie called Samehada Otoko to Momojiri Onna (Shark Skin Man and Peach Hip Girl). It sounded cool from what I read about it, and considering it was a twisted, Yakuza movie, I figured it'd be good. It was interesting to say the least, but I didn't really get it so by the end I was like ok wth. If any of you have seen it and made sense of it, maybe you can help me out, because it was lost on me.

Yesterday I had planned on renting Turok Evolution, but when I got to Blockbuster I noticed they had removed it from the shelf and filled its spot with Unreal 2. I was rather disappointed since I had been really looking forward to trying that game. Seeing how Turok was gone, there was only one other game worth renting: Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball. There's only one word to describe that game... fanservice. As soon as the intro came on, I immediately felt bad for even renting this game. They waste no time in reminding you why the game was made, that's for sure. It sure is a weird game though. It's more of a dating sim than a volleyball game. In order to actually play volleyball, you have to find a partner. In order to get a partner, you have to get the girls to like you and agree to be your partner. In order to do that, you have to buy stuff and give it to them as gifts like outfits, accessories, or random items. If they like it, they're nice to you and they'll join you for some vball. If not, you get the cold shoulder, and those girls are mean. Now I know what girls must have to go through in high school or middle school. So when I first started the game, one of the girls shows you around and you play a game of volleyball. Since I didn't know the controls, I didn't hit the ball once and ended up losing hardcore. As a result, all the other girls immediately hated me and I couldn't get a partner again for the entire 2 weeks the game takes place over except for one time toward the end. So I basically played 2 games in 2 weeks. Once I got the hang of the game and figured out how it works, it became a lot more fun (and no not for the obvious reasons you pervs). Just by virtue of how the game works, you spend less time playing vball than you do buying gifts, but it's pretty cool regardless. At nights in the game you can go to a casino to play games like poker, slot machines, blackjack, or roulette. So anyway, DoA Xtreme Beach Vball is an odd, but kinda fun game. Since it uses the analog buttons, I find myself slamming the buttons pretty hard so I can hit the ball hard. As a result, the pad of my thumb is kinda sore. I should probably lay off that game for a few days. Luckily I bought Rallisport Challenge 2 today since I had to return it yesterday and was already experiencing withdrawal symptoms. If you like rally racing and have an Xbox, you should definitely get this game.

Ok, seeing how New Jack City just ended (which was pretty good, btw), I think I should go to sleep. I have to get back to work tomorrow morning. Bah. Maybe just one quick DoA Vball game...