Slippery Slope, For Five Hundred

April 8th, 2008

So I got a haircut about a week or so ago.  Some may regard this as a most noteworthy incident in and of itself.  However, my hair was getting into the “hang just far enough down to poke at the edges of my eyes and drive me insane” phase, so it was unavoidable.

I wasn’t exactly expecting to spend almost $500 dollars, though.

You see, there’s only one place I know for sure I can get a haircut in Champaign-Urbana — the mall.  While they are rather close to my previous employer (The Store That Shall Not Be Named), they do a good job and I’d probably spend the same amount of time searching for another place as I do taking the Gold West bus line to the Red North.  My tipping habits did make the haircut itself more expensive than it would be for most other people, but altogether that’s only thirty, thirty-five dollars.  Spread over six months, I can handle it no problem.

It was after I’d arrived at the mall, but before getting the haircut, that I thought to myself that I’d just check in at GameStop and ask them if they had a Wii in stock.  Well, truth be told…I’d thought that ever since it had become clear I needed to go to the mall, but!  I thought it again at that point.  Wii’s are still in high demand, and they’d been sold out at the GameStop on Green Street, Meijer’s, Wal-Mart…they’re just not found at retailers.  So it was all in good fun — I’d ask, they’d say they were out, and I’d be on my merry way to cooler hair (as it applies to temperature, at any rate).

As it turned out, they had three of them.  They’d had five ten minutes previously, but two had already sold by the time I’d asked.  Faced with a retail price of $250 and the prospect of finally being able to play my copy of Super Smash Brothers Brawl, there was little deliberation in the matter.  And of course, I’d need at least another controller, Brawl being multiplayer and all.  And I’d need a change of pace from SSBB at some point, so as long as I was there, I might as well grab a couple other titles.

So there you have it, the $500 question.  And if you ask me, it was worth every cent.  Brawl is crazy awesome like a fox.

To the max.

Lucky Seven

March 13th, 2008

So apparently, I’ve missed my scheduled posting day.  Mother was kind enough to inform me of this fact when I talked with her recently, and rest assured it won’t happen again.

So long as I remember I have one of thems now, at least.

Mostly I want to talk about video games right now, but before I do, something I’d just like to put down into words.  Here are the things that I view myself as being fairly proficient in: singing, playing video games (snuck in there anyway), following directions.

I have been told that I am intelligent, but I don’t really feel comfortable touting myself as such.  I have been told that I write well, but it’s hard for me to believe that when I can’t stand to look at anything work on while I’m writing it, much less when it’s done.  I have been told that I am creative, but lacking any initiative on my part, I don’t think I’ve done much with it.

…Yeeghh.  Anyways.

Super Smash Brothers Brawl.

This is such a fun game.  There’s an interesting story mode — with co-op! — final smashes (huuuuge attacks that are often instant KO’s), and perhaps most fun of all, new characters!  Including Pit and Meta Knight!  Both of which I find fairly easy to use and can fly.  They each hold a nostalgic place in my heart, but especially Pit, as I only ever knew him from my original Game Boy game Kid Icarus.  Which happens to be one of the ones I can’t find anywhere…

And actually, if I had to choose between the two, I’d go with Pit.  Nostalgia aside, he has a lot of decent regular attacks with some decent smashing force behind them.  I would say that having two of his B-moves be purely defensive is a bummer, except that…it’s not, really.  They have valid and useful effects that I appreciate (especially Up-B — I can fly~), and the lack of offensive specials lets me focus on how best to land a hit with regular attacks and smashes.  Throw in arrows with a modifiable trajectory and a multi-hit move that lasts pretty much as long as you want it to, and you have one fun character.  He’s a bit on the fast side too.

Oh and Mr. Game & Watch!  I finally got a chance to use him today and he was awesome!  Still a lightweight, which means a good hit will send him really flying at lower damage percentages than others, but his regular attacks feel as though they’ve been vastly powered up.  Which makes him a viably competetive choice, should I wind up in a situation where that would count.  I just have to get used to the way he moves — it’s all jerky and kinda fast, but with out a little beep each step.  Although maybe I just didn’t hear it.

Perhaps it is a good thing I don’t have a Wii, because this would have a very high chance of taking up a goooood deal of my time.  Then again, I already own the game so it just…sits there.  Taunting me.  Which is my own fault, really.  Friggin’ tournament…that I lost…and it wasn’t even a dramatic loss, just…just bad…sudden death…first round…and I’d been doing so well…

…Not that I’m bitter or anything.

Private Parking

February 7th, 2008

Something I found interesting about these two words: the 4th, 6th, and 7th letters in both are the ones that neither of them share.

Also, pictures.

Please to be pretending that you are upside-down-like in your seeingness until I am more knowingful of image-fu.

Bouncy!

Tasty!

Swirly!

My Day

January 7th, 2008

I can’t believe I’ve spent all of “today” organizing my iTunes.  And it’s still not perfect.  I mean, some of the songs don’t play all the way through, or have stutters, or static-y noises.  And Yes apparently doesn’t deserve the title of artist, according to my iPod.

…Frigging…imperfect material existence…

Packing

December 7th, 2007

For me, it seems to function in two ways: 1. I underestimate the amount of time I’ll need to pack everything, and finish either just in time, or a bit late; 2. I forego sleep, only to find that not only is half of what I need to put in a suitcase stuff I can’t put away until I’ve used them the next day anyway, but also that I have way more room than I thought I would have.

One guess for which one it is now.

Of course, it is not uncommon for both to happen, and, “Whoa, extra space,” can very easily slide into, “Criminy, I’m brining a lot of stuff!”  It’s a little aggravating to not have my pilgrimage clothes here — having nothing but undergarments and socks in one’s suitcase isn’t exactly condusive to feeling prepared.  But really, it’s just me being paranoid.  Although there’s that other shirt that I haven’t been able to find…

So.  Pilgrimage.  Really, actually happening.  No foolin’.  This is not a test.  I would know, having taken three in the past two days.

But yeah, I don’t know what to say, or even what I’m thinking.  I mean, Mom’s been on pilgrimage before, Layli’s made a prayer list, and I…am on my computer at 4:30 in the morning listening to music on my iPod.  I should be doing something, like making my own list, or saying those prayers I forgot to say yesterday, or looking for those receipts that Dad called me about, or…I dunno.

I guess I feel a bit self-conscious about what all technology I’m planning on bringing.  I have my iPod for sharing my They Might Be Giants tunes, and for listening to on the flights.  I have my DS for something to do at x-thousand feet above sea level as well.  And then my cell phone, for just in case and whatnot.  Should I really be bringing stuff like that to Haifa, though?  I mean, I would love to be able to serve mankind by working with video games, and I guess they’d have some residual blessing from having traveled to Haifa, but…is it sacriligeous to even have them there?  That’s kind of what it feels like.  Maybe that’s society talking, though.

Hmmm…I could be doing very-very last minute laundry, but I don’t want to wake anyone up.  To err on the side of caution…

A lot of other thoughts I could expound on, but in the face of what’s to come, they seem fairly insignificant.  Oh, except!  My Japanese teacher wants to hear about the Baha’i Faith from me when I get back.  Just the thought of that makes me really, incredibly nervous.  I don’t know that I’ve ever really explained the Baha’i Faith to anyone with any great amount of clarity, and I can barely even explain things to myself.  He wants to hear about it from me??  I feel totally underqualified.  Where the “der” is what my mind does when I think about it.

Oh when the Skullivan walks in the moonlit night…

Who Needs Titles? Not Me!

November 14th, 2007

So let’s see. Stuff, stuff, stuff that’s been happening…

…Go-go Gadget List!

  • I went to an X-Chords concert the other night, with Jon Shinabarger and Emily Howe.  It was a lot of fun, and we heard some gooood a capella music.
  • I’m signed up for Spring classes at Parkland.  Going to try out Music Fundamentals (an online course), Photography, and Beginning Japanese II.  Of course, this is nowhere near set in stone.  I mean, photography?  Now I’m stretching it.
  • My bike was stolen a few days ago.  Which is not so fun.  I mean, I lost my own wallet, someone stole my bike…what’s next, am I going to find my PS2 for sale on eBay?
  • I’ve been having a lot of thoughts recently about the way elements are organized in video games.  And although there’s quite a lot of interesting systems out there, Fire vs. Water/Wind vs. Earth/Holy vs. Dark seems the most common, from my recollections of various games.  But that really bothers me, because then you generally have Lightning lumped in with wind, and sometimes Ice and Water are split into separate sections, and Earth tends to be pretty bland with just a bunch of rocks (except for when there’s plants too!), and don’t even get me started on Light/Dark/Good/Evil.  I’ve been thinking about drawing out the diagram I’ve devised in my head as an attempt at incorporating everything, but we’ll see how far I get with that.
  • Watakushi ha “blanket” de nihongo shirimasen.
  • I am eagerly anticipating some They Might Be Giants music that is on its way to me in the mail.  I think I’ve been needing something new to revitalize my music library.  Something like Whistling in the Dark.  (Aaaaaaaaaaaaaah.)
  • Omigoshlaundrychange–

Moment After the Moment

September 29th, 2007

So I went to the Weird Al concert that was here in Chambana on the 28th. It was awesome. For some details, I refer to a description I gave to some online buddies over mIRC (edited for brevity):

[00:20] [Me] I just got back from a Weird Al concert!
[00:21] [Me] And he played Albuquerque!!
[00:22] [Me] I sang along with about 90-95% of it. ^_^
[00:24] [Me] Man…the one song I wanted to hear live most, and he plays it the first concert I go to.

[02:17] [Tao||postrun] Wierd Al concert, eh? Was it good?
[02:18] [Me] It was…man. Just…yeah. So great.
[02:19] [Me] For The Saga Begins, he started with purple lights on the pianist, who was dressed in an Emperor Palpatine-style robe.
[02:19] [Tao||postrun] :D
[02:19] [Me] And there were Storm Troopers and a Darth Vader on stage, too.
[02:20] [Me] And the pianist played some creepy-organ type music, and right at the end of it, Al pops around Vader and starts the song.
[02:20] [Me] The Storm Troopers danced! ^_^
[02:21] [Tao||postrun] !
[02:21] [Tao||postrun] I knew I should have fought my way into the concert when he last came through here.
[02:21] [Me] And the man kept changing outfits! All About the Pentiums, Eat It, Fat, White & Nerdy…
[02:23] [Tao||postrun] A chameleon!
[02:23] [Me] And everytime he had to go backstage to change, they’d put up some clips on the screen. He made a bunch of fake interviews with people he’d parodied, and called it Al TV.
[02:23] [Me] With the actual people.
[02:24] [Tao||postrun] That sounds pretty brilliant.
[02:24] [Luo] Oh yeah. Al TV has been a long running gag :)
[02:25] [Me] Ooh, and they also showed pretty much all the clips from cartoons where Al gets a cameo. ^_^
[02:27] [Luo] Wonder if they showed any clips from Safety Patrol.
[02:27] [Me] …Safety Patrol…?
[02:28] [Luo] One of those made-for-TV movies by Disney.
[02:28] [Luo] He had a small role in it, where he played himself :)
[02:28] [Me] Oh. Maybe…did it have the Naked Gun guy in it?
[02:28] [Luo] Yeah!
[02:28] [Me] Then yes, they did!
[02:28] [Luo] Woot!
[02:29] [Me] The one where the guy is ranting to the newspeople, and then Al gets off the plane. XD
[02:29] [Luo] Hee :)
[02:30] [Me] Oh! And he did a new verse of Headline News with actual current news. About a girl going to prison for a DUI, and then talking about it on Larry King.
[02:30] [Luo] Nice!
[02:31] [Me] Oh-oh! And him and the band did this *spectacular* vocal/rhythm interlude in Yoda! Oh man…I can’t remember any of the words they used, but it was so cool!
[02:33] [Me] Strobe light dancing Al in Pentiums…and in a new song, about suing companies for really dumb stuff, he sat down in front of a red light while saying a part of the “I’ll sue! I’ll even sue you!” chorus.
[02:34] [Me] He looked eeeevil.

I forgot to mention that he sang I wanna B ur lovr, and walked around the floor of the Assembly Hall, pointing out different lady-types. One was really embarrassed, and another gave him a kiss. And then towards the end, there were a couple people who were leaving, and he started dancing with one of them! Spontaneity is awesome.

Yes, he wore the fatsuit for Fat. Yes, he did Amish Paradise. And yes, he sang Albuquerque. I got to hear it live.

Still not over that. My first Weird Al concert, and he sings Albuquerque…

T Minus 3…2…1…

August 17th, 2007

So I am going to be attending college, as it turns out.  But not at Lake County College (oh sure, now I remember what it’s called).  No, I am staying here in Urbana to attend Parkland, with a schedule composed of Drawing I, Japanese I, and Financial Accounting.

…Yeah, no, that last one’s supposed to be there.  I mean, I’m experimenting in fields, I might as well experiment, eh?  And I like adding numbers, and single, generally repetetive tasks…get into a rhythm, with a system…so yeah.  Accounting.  We’ll see how that goes.

Also, in similar-but-not-quite-similar financial topics, I have a job!  At the Courier Cafe, working the salad bar.  And today was my first day of training.  There’s a lot of different things to do, a lot more than I might have initially thought.  I mean, there’s setting up and maintaining the salad bar, yes, but there’s also preparing a ready stock of salad bar items, and tallying tickets, and ice.  Oh my goodness is there ever ICE.  I mean, the initial bar requires about 4 buckets of ice alone, never mind the re-icings you have to do periodically over the day, since the stuff, y’know, melts.

Everyone seems nice there so far, so that’s certainly a plus.  And the time-tracker thingy?  Way  better than at JCPenney, lemme tell ‘ya.  Here, there’s no punching of buttons, or correcting of times, or nothin’.  Just take your card, slip it in the top, and put it back.  So.  Easy.  But there was one…snag.  That being, the aromas of the back area made me feel sick.  Like, went to sit down for a few minutes sick.  Does that even make sense?  I mean, you walk in the freezer and you nose is assaulted with CHEESE!  Mixed with a kind of mystery vegetable scent.  And then I would periodically burp (not necessarily strange, this being me), and I could smell the freezer again.

I apologize if that’s kinda gross — I mean, it feels gross to me just typing it — but it’s true.  I eventually…normalized?  Something like that, since I stopped feeling queasy eventually.  I suspect my not-breathing-through-my-nose technique is once again what aided me.  That and making sure to expel the air in my lungs when I accidentally sniffed anything not out by the salad bar.  But yeah, hopefully my body will adjust, and it will become a nonissue.  (Could even feel my kidneys reacting…)

But!  I was shown how to do a lot of stuff, and cut up some romaine lettuce, cantaloupes, and pineapples, as well as ‘prepared’ iceburg lettuce.  Which involves slamming them on the counter.  Y’know, to get rid of the core.  Doesn’t everybody know that?

Anywho, another big thing that happened was that Dad visited!  Of course, I had forgotten to call him the day before to warn him of my impending job training today (9AM to 3PM), so he ended up waiting around town for 2 hours.  Aiyee.  Thankfully I caught him, and we went out for lunch, followed by a walk around Parkland and going to see The Simpsons’ Movie.  Which was excellent, in my opinion. 

 …I am going to be sooooo freaking busy…

Time - The Heart of Matter?

July 23rd, 2007

Wow, has it almost been two weeks since I rode the bus up here to Lindenhurst to visit mom? Man…

Time.  It flies, it flows; it speeds and slows.  There are so many comparisons between time and the physical realm– maybe there’s more relation between matter and time than the space they occupy.  I mean, matter appears to us as solid, liquid, and gas.  We divide time into past, present, and future.  That seems significant.  We can no more change what has happened than we can shatter a mountain by kicking it.  As water changes its form to match its container, so too does the present acquire different appearances depending on how any one individual chooses to interpret it.  And surely I’m not the first to notice the parallels of the often-invisible, ever-changing substance of gas to the ephemeral future.

But then I still don’t know what it is that I’m comparing.  Matter is something I can breathe, eat, walk on; it’s atoms and electrons and quarks.  I can detect and change matter.  But what of time?  I can sense it, though not through any definite means.  And no matter how far back I set my (metaphorical) watch, the day will refuse to reverse.

I cannot define time by directly identifying it.  So, logically, I should try to define what it isn’t.  Space comes to mind, but that is perhaps a pitfall.  After all, if matter can be converted into energy, who’s to say that the same can’t be said of time and space?  There are pieces of art that are called ‘timeless’, transcendent above time.  This is perhaps exaggeration — the physical embodiments certainly must decay at some point, and though there are many long-lived ideas and emotions, their continuation doesn’t prove a possession of immortality.  So what, then, is immortal, transcendent?

God.  He is above all things.  In this simple comparison then, time is in direct opposition to the nature of God, and so too then, to a certain extent, are our souls.  So, if God is immortal (and thus not mortal), and time is (for the purposes of this exercise) opposite of God, then time must be mortality.

Mortality as a measurable, physical substance.  It would certainly explain why we can’t fully comprehend that mysterious fourth dimension tentatively labeled ‘time’.

…Huh.

Ace’s wedding was grand.  My first wedding attendance of one of my peers.  The fact’s had time to sink in, so it’s not quite so astounding now.  But yesterday, it managed to hit me at a fair clip.  The…priest?  Executor?  The…guy joining Ace and Allison, pastor Neil, was wonderful and funny.  The cake was cut with a katana (totally called it), and everyone was served crabcakes…OF DOOM!!  And, perhaps best of all, it was a dry wedding.  Fun for the whole family!

Hmmm…I see the dentist today.  Oh!  And it turns out the community college over here by mom has a class for game design.  And lots of art and music classes for anyone to take.  Things that I need to think about, and talk to people about.  Uhy.

Also, Ratatouille and The Last Mimsy are both good movies.  I think I enjoyed Ratatouille more, but I love just about everything Pixar puts out there, so bias may exist…

When in Blog…

June 19th, 2007

I suppose I could do that 7-random-things thing that Bahiyyih tagged me with, but how random can I really be? I mean, at best I’ll probably come up with 7 things that have some sort of relation to each other, either directly or because they’re on opposite ends of the spectrum, and even computers aren’t totally random, altho–

1. I’ve been told before that I don’t really care what people think of me.  This is…not true.

2. Soggy Rice Krispies (or crispy rice, what-have-you) tastes good, but soggy Corn Flakes not so much.

3. My favorite characters in video games tend to be female.  In fact, just looking at the Final Fantasy series, there’s: Rydia (IV), Faris (V), Terra (VI), Aeris (VII), Beatrix (IX), Yuna (X), Penelo (XII), Paine (X-2), Ritz (Tactics Advance).  Aauron and Kimahri give Yuna a good run for her money though.

4. I get receipts for just about everything, and I don’t throw them away.  Wallets can actually get cumbersome, given enough padding.  However, I don’t tend to ask for a balance when depositing money at the bank.

5. I don’t actually have every Homestar Runner soundbyte memorized.  Shocking, I know.  I do find that I’ve adopted a kind of Strong-Bad-esque voice at times though.  Usually when I’m trying to be facetious or somesuch.

6. I’ve had a tiny bit of experience with written music theory, courtesy of my honors choir class senoir year of high school.  I don’t remember enjoying it very much, unfortunately.

7. I very much like the idea of shoulder bags.

So…there you go.  Seven “random” things about myself.  As for passing on the listy-ness…I suppose there are no tagbacks, eh?  Hmmm…well, if Heidi, Nathan (Bishop), Katie (also Bishop), Sam, and Husayn want to, they’re more than welcome to continue the trend.  As are…two other people?…I may have to go tell Husayn that I picked him…

In other news: DDR feels like a viable exercise practice so far; I finally — finally! — beat Final Fantasy VII, and subsequently watched Advent Children (which, if you ask me, was totally superfluous…); I really need to build up a repotoire of things I can cook so I can feed myself.

Like, really.