The Caffeinated Penguin

musings of a crackpot hacker

Found a place

| June 25, 2005

3 bedroom, half duplex, about 1500 sq. ft. with plenty of storage (attic and half the basement). $600 less than what we pay here, and it's in the country near my parents.

w00t!

Everybody say WTF???

| June 23, 2005

Supreme court rules that the governments may sieze any properties by eminent domain in order to sell it to another private corporation for redevelopment “in the public interest”.

Super google link page

Just to be clear; this is NOT going to be used for roads/utilities/military/police/fire/etc. This is going to be sold to a private company which will develop it, providing “greater economic benefits” than the residential properties could provide. As one amicus brief noted, this could be used to target churches and other nonprofits (YMCA?) because they do not provide tax benefits.

I'm seriously disheartened and pissed off by this. It's so not cool.

If I were in their shoes, I'd be “lock and load in defense of property” or “chain myself to the wall in protest” pissed off. I'd advocate the “chain myself to the wall” approach, except that making another court case won't get anywhere. It guess it then falls to how much you have to lose. If all you've got is the house, and you'd be ruined if you were to take the pittance that the state will give you, then maybe it's time to play Alamo.

The state has no right to take my property and sell it to someone else. The fact that some old lady in NYC didn't want to sell her house and Trump had to build around it is what makes this company great.

Now he could just take it by eminent domain.

Moving again

| June 21, 2005

Welp, the apartment complex people are silly, and don't negotiate on price, so we're looking for a new place up by my folks (Smithfield/N. Smithfield/Burrillville/Foster/Scituate/etc). If anyone knows of anything (Ideally a 2-3 bedroom house for something like $1200/month. Half duplexes, townhouses, condos, apartments are also desirable), please feel free to let me know. We're good tenants, don't smoke, and our cats are well behaved.

Anyway, this will put us closer to my family, which works well considering that most people I know have moved out of South County (Simon and Mike are moving to Maine, and just about everyone else is in Providence or East Providence. Liz and I are a bit more country than that, so we're looking a bit West.). This puts us an hour closer to Liz's parents, and a reasonable distance from a bunch of potential grad schools for Liz (everything in Boston, and apparently Brown is very highly rated for CS grad program). New Haven (Yale) would be a stretch, but not out of the question if Liz doesn't mind the long drive.

So, we'll see. Maybe we'll end up moving again in a year or two.

Annoyingly stupid video game design

| June 12, 2005

Okay, so I've gotten all the way to the end of Mercenaries. In general, it was quite a good game. It was well done, lots of fun, and aside from a few bugs in the physics engine (if you drive a tank over the seam where a road meets a bridge, something snags and tends to turn you about 45 degrees, which can send you into a wall, which the tank promptly climbs over, tumbling you into the river), very well implemented.

Then I got to the last level, where you go after the evil Military dictator.

First, you have to get to the prison and question a prisoner. Fine, did that.

Then, you have to get to the big fortress. Fine, did that.

Then you have to stop the end of the world nuclear missile launch. Fine, did that.

Then you have to go catch the guy and arrest him. Fine, did that.

Then you need to call in a helicopter to get him and you airlifted out. Oh, but I got killed before I could pop smoke and call in the UH60.

No problem, right? They have to let me restart at the point where I stopped the missile launch, right? Would make a great fallback point.

Nope. I start back at the beginning. It took me 45 minutes to fight my way up that far. I'm sorry, but I have a life, and playing the same level over and over again is just stupid.

It's annoying because one of the big features of this game was that I could save just about anywhere, unless I was in the middle of a mission (unlike GTA, where you have to go “home”). However, since this was a mission, I can't save, which means that I start from the beginning.

OR I cast the game aside in disgust, stick it back on the shelf, and make myself some breakfast and head out to the range to shoot some real guns.

The kicker is, despite all that, I'd probably buy the next version of the franchise.

Mega update

| June 10, 2005

First, I’ve adopted a radical new diet, or lack thereof. See, I was trying to be reasonably healthy – drinking lots of water, like that. Well, I kept feeling worse and worse. Come to find out, now doctors are saying that drinking too much water is bad for you, because it sucks vital bits out of your body (salt, electrolytes, nutrients, etc.). So, I’ve decided that doctors have no idea, and I’m just going to eat and drink what I like. These past two days I’ve had maybe two cups of water (a week ago I’d have drunk over a gallon in that time). Tonight, I had pork and beans for dinner and beer. You know what? I feel great. Anyway, pics. Coffee Fresh coffee from CoffeeAM. Coffee After BeforeCoffee Grinder After So, the KitchenAid grinder is a little deficient. There is this thingy that stops you from putting your fingers down into the mechanism. Problem is, it impedes the flow of beans as well. Luckily, it’s cast aluminum, which some Dremel cut-off discs made short work of. Liz's Beetles Liz’s Yellow Beetle collection. Liz's new table And her new table. Notice how nicely it goes with the bar. Of course, my metric is that I can cut a steak on it without it wiggling. Mikey's Fort Mikey makes a fort. Or is that a stealth coating? MKB's MoBo Remember when had a problem with his dual celeron? Well, this was it. See, computer boards aren’t supposed to be black and charred. Computer Rack My rack, now with KVM and a Mac Mini. Typhoon Valve This is ony of my projects. It is the valve from one of my paintguns. The problem is that it’s a hollow steel screw (for air) and it screws into this aluminum housing. Eventually, it got stripped out. So, I drilled it out, tapped it, and put in a hollow thread insert. Then I cut it off the bit sticking out (because the insert was about twice as long as it needed to be) and ground down the excess, so it’s nice and smooth. Works great now. Sometimes, I even impress myself. CCG I’ve also rediscovered Collectible Card Games (CCG’s). Of course, I’m buying these by the box off of eBay for like $10 a box. Much better than $3.50 a booster, no? So, Liz and I a re now playing:
  • Star Trek
  • X-Files
  • Illuminati: New World Order (INWO)
The basic X-Files rules are surprisingly fun, beer and pretzels. It’s kind of like Clue, only a little more complex. Basically, each of you picks an X-File, and you try to guess what it is by asking Yes/No questions about it. Of course, you only get to ask a question when you investigate a site. Star Trek is a “fly around and solve missions while blowing things up (unless you’re the Federation)”. INWO is like Illuminati as a CCG. If your don’t know how to play Illuminati, then it’s kind of hard to explain here. Also, Simon and Mike stopped by a couple weekends ago, and we played Zombies!!!. Quite an interesting board game. Especially interesting because you can get glow in the dark Zombies, which appeal to me. I figure I’ll pick them up after my birthday (because people like to get me things and if I buy it before my birthday, people will get annoyed). Anyway, I think I’m going to play some video games and then hit the sack. Night folks.

Food and VW's

| June 7, 2005

Today I got a check from VWofA reimbursing me for the manual I had to purchase for my Golf.

This weekend, we had the Schofields' over for dinner. The menu was as follows:

  • Appetizer = this recipe, sliced thinly and served on a toasted wonton in the stacking order of: wonton, some soy wasabi mayonnaise, the tuna, and a reduction made from the marinade used for the tuna.
  • Then came a green salad
  • Main course = this recipe, served with steamed asparagus, smashed potatoes, and baked beans
  • Dessert = crepes with strawberries, various jellies, whipped cream, and sour cream. I wasn’t too keen on the sour cream, but it matches surprisingly well with the strawberries and the blueberry jam.

A good time was had by all, and I had fun with the cooking.