Perspiration...errr Inspiration Strikes!

So, I was just sitting here, looking at the daily websites here at school and a thought came to me. I have the problem of not knowing what businesses are in and around the Tri-Cities. I'm sure there's a lot otherwise there'd be no reason to live here. If I don't know who sells products here, how can I know who I can work for? For jobseekers (like me), it's a big pain. But suddenly, I realized that I could look at the chamber of commerce for the area! Brilliant!

So, now I have this new avenue to look for CS type jobs. I've only been looking at PNNL and IT based places in the Hanford area. These jobs, of course, will disappear as soon as the cleanup ends or less people are needed. PNNL might last longer cause they are a big national research facility. Anywho, I've just scratched the surface of the commerce site. Hopefully there are other companies out there that actually do software and not just IT. It's not a catch-all solution cause a company that I applied to was not on the list. But a good portion of Tri-City area businesses will be in there.

So, there you have it. Now it's time to look in the commerce website and find a company that's looking for me!


Just a reminder

There will be no DDR today due to illness and evil neighbors. But if you all want to just bring us food and then leave, that will be ok. :)


Thanks to Tania

She gave me the rest of her birthday goodies! :) The green stuff was really yummy. A must buy the next time I'm in that neighborhood.


The tallies are in...

I passed bio with a 2.9 (way higher than I was hoping) and in math I got a 2.5 (just about right where I thought it would be). So this officially means I have only two classes left to finish my 10 year 4 year degree!! I start Animal Bio on Monday at a bright and early 8am at the Pasco CBC campus. That will be 5 days a week with a two hour lab on Fridays. This will last until the 2nd week of June. My other remaining class, Intro to AI, I struggle to not fall asleep in. The instructor drones on about stuff and he's not fully prepared to answer questions thus wasting huge amounts of time I could be sleeping. AI lasts until the first week of May. I can't wait for it to be done with. It's soooo boring!

While I don't actually finish school until June, they had said that I would be able to walk at the graduation ceremony mid-May. Which would be cool cause I am the first of my siblings to have graduated college with a 4 year degree. And I am the next in my family to do so since my Dad got his 4 year back in the 70's. Thus I break a huge dry spell of no degrees. It will be weird. I won't have summer school this summer. I probably won't have classes next fall (If I want to continue with my Masters degree, I have to take two more classes which are offered in the fall). All I will know (hopefully) is a 40 hour work week. I will become one of the many working slobs of the world.

So, on that note, anybody want to hire a newly graduated drone for your workforce? :)


The gods of Uno

Today, me and Dawn, and sometimes Dave, been playing Uno. We've been playing since a little after 11am. We typically play to 500 points each time we play. Most of the time it takes several days of playing before we get that far. Today, we managed to play to 500 twice. Here's the weird part. Dawn would call it the part where I cheat. I won both time. That's not weird though. It was the ratio of wins each time that was weird. I won twice as many games as Dawn each time. David was the "judge" for some games and he was taking Dawn's said that I was cheating. The reason was I was shuffling all the time so they both suspected I had altered the deck in some fahsion. Obviously that wasn't the case cause I was shuffling right in front of them each time. Probability just managed to shift in my favor for a few hands...that's it...nothing more!

The first game to 500 included almost every hand that I dealt to myself having at least 2 wild/draw 4's plus a selection of skips and draw 2's. It was crazy. The first game, needless to say, didn't last very long. I was over 500 points to Dawn's 84 points. In the first hand that Dawn won of the next game, she managed to get 90+ points alone! It was crazy!

I just want to say that I am not in league with the demonic gods of Uno. I do not make sacrifices of goat cheese or similar dairy products. I can only say I have decent luck playing Uno. Though I wish it would rub off onto one of my lotto tickets.


A stack of envelopes on my desk

Tomorrow is the last day of the winter quarter over at good ol CBC. This really only means one thing: I have only 1 quarter left before I finally finish my 4 year degree. Yeah, I finally managed to get to the end of the long and ragged road that some people call college. But grades don't officially come out till the 24th. So I live in this limbo land until I officially find out my grades. In that bio class, I slacked a little in the lab portion. As we all know, lab is an easy 100%. That was the case more or less last quarter. Not so this quarter. While I could blame how the class was ran, I'll just say that bad management is to blame. Doing some calculations, I found I can pass the class with about a 80% on the final test. But considering how well I did on the test (I perhaps missed about 20 out of 156 and I did all the extra credit which is another 21 points) I fell very confident I'll get enough to move on and take the final class.

My math test is tomorrow. Doing the calculations there provided with a 65% to pass the class with a 2.0. And that's just fine with me. These last couple of sections are killers. The problems take too long to do. I feel like I can do better than a 65% but I'll take whatever.

After getting back my third Bio test last week, I really felt like I should have done better considering the amount of time I had over the course of the year. This led to the stack of envelopes currently on my desk. There's also a juniper branch here as well. I had some crazy idea that I could up my lab grade by actually doing the required work. I went out last Friday and collected a bunch of biological samples: mosses, hornworts, lichens, fuzzy plant, seeds, and some unknown plant material. Of the stuff I collected, I had to identify what it was, take pictures, and submit it. On Monday, I had a chance to identify the crap. However, it soon became apparent it would take far longer to ident what I had than the time left I had to do it in. The resources was not present in good enough form to give me quick searching. In the end, nothing was done. The envelopes remain my on desk, asking for the big bio heap in the sky. So, before I head off to my last math class (for a while I hope), I will set the poor souls free and give them to the large grey bucket of trash outside. Maybe I'll even say a few words. Maybe a hymm. But whatever I do, it will be a relief to see plant biology behind me.


Making games of the future

So, the other day I was thinking about all the types of games out on the market right now. I could not think of a current release that didn't involve destroying something. The Sims came to mind but it's not really current any more and there are cases where you could put your sim in a room with no doors (Evil, you should try it sometime. It's liberating). Doing a quick check of the most popular games on Gamespot.com revealed two games that don't involve destroying things: WWE and MVP Baseball 2004. Both could be regarded sports games (WWE is more of a sport in video game form than in it's TV farce form). 1up.com has a similar list of top 5 games, all of which are games with some sort of destruction.

Some games has unrealistic destruction such as Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker and Mario Kart Double Dash. In the Wind Waker, the player controlled hero runs around swinging his mighty sword at goblins and other baddies, which disappear in wisps of smoke when destroyed. Double Dash has somewhat tamer destruction where as instead of non-player characters wisping aware, balloons are popped, the shine is stolen, or the vehicle is simply blown up in the air creating a delay for that character to return to the action. Of course there is the totally opposite side of destruction with ultra-gore, ultra-realistic chaos. The recent game Ninja Gaiden has the player spinning around, running along the walls, slicing the bad ninjas in half. This is of course with gratuitous amounts of delightful squeamish stuff. You know, blood, guts, arms flying off, heads rolling on the ground, etc...I think you get the point. Of course my favorite right now, Unreal Tournament 2003 where players run around "gibbing" each other. I can only hope that UT2004 will be just as much fun.

Now before you all get up in a huff about how right I am and those games should be banned, you need to hear my main point. I like to play fun games. All the games in the 2nd paragraph are all fun. All are engaging breaks from the real world. All I am saying is that there's a whole bunch of games based on the destruction of stuff. There just has to be something more out there. A new genre that hasn't come of age or a dying one that needs a giant restart. Of course the latter I'm talking about is the adventure game. The former...well, hasn't come of age yet so it hasn't been heard of yet.

In the past, I could not stand adventure games. They require too much thinking and as young boy, thinking was not high on my list of things to do that day. Playing games like Kings Quest, while entertaining with it's witty dialogue and somewhat "killer" graphics of it's day, was an exercise in futility. I could never beat the damn games. I preferred games like Super Mario Bros. and Castlevania, precusors to the current trend of "twitch" games. Now, I almost yearn for the days of a plot that's interesting and a game that requires thinking. It would at least be something different. However, getting new adventure games will be a huge challenge as the major companies of the past great adventure games like Monkey Island and Sam and Max are killing the new games in production cause of the list found on Gamespot.com.

Now, as a game designer wannabe, I'm really curious where the next generation of genre will come from. Does it exist already but needs some spit shine on it? Or does the technology that will spawn it years off down the road? One game that I really like, and I can't seem to stop talking about, is Dance Dance Revolution. It's basically a rhythm game where the player hits specific combos on a dance mat instead of a standard game controller. This is innovation on two levels: It's doesn't involve killing/destroying anything and it makes the player get in shape if he/she wants to be good at the game. The only draw back is that the first DDR was first released 6 years ago. It's still fun. Subsequent versions just include some new feature and new songs. Both are pretty good. Though because it's one of those games that's simple to learn, impossible to master, it's still an enjoyable time. Something I would enjoy looking into is combining the use of the dance mat and the new Eye toy to make a super dance game where you have to use your arms as well to hit markers on the screen through your imported body movements from the cam. Another direction I would love to see the dance mat move to is a game requiring movements like in DDR but translating them to a character on a screen having to hop around moving platforms. The simple mechanics would remain, it would be just mixing it up a little.

And there's always new technology that's pushing the direction of computer/video games that comes out every so many months. Our game world is always in dynamic flux. It's almost always a wait and see type of situation. I have other ideas I would love to pursue as well. But the night draws to a close and sleep is overcoming me. So, with that, I say goodnight.


The life and times in a duplex

I want to hate my landlord...really I do...but I can't. Right now they are playing loud music, loud enough to where I can clearly make out what's playing. I'd be more angry if they were playing crap music. But they aren't, so I'm only partially not mad at them. Now I present the reasons why I can't be mad at them.

  • The man side mows the lawn. That's a big plus cause I don't have the time....read...lazy.

  • The woman side is...umm..hot? Yes, that would be the term for it

  • They are both really nice. They don't normally play loud music...maybe once a month.

  • They cut us a deal on the rent and one month we were late and they were cool with it...I think.

Other things came to light just in the minutes while writing this entry about the LAN party event I went to this morning. I'm not happy camper right now. So, with that I will imagine I have a punch bowl of Romulan blood ale in front of me.


Games, sweet games

Today I was kind of unmotivated. Today is my long day for school. It should have been 11:30 bio, 12:40 math, 1:50 bio lab, 5:45 AI. But what actually happened was I played Return to Castle Wolfenstien for XBox from about 1 or so to 7. Yes, I know that I shouldn't be slacking at the end of the quarter. But really, I only slacked in one class, math. Bio wasn't required to be there. AI was simply putting me to sleep for the current topic. As for Math, as long as I get around a 70 on the last test, I'll be fine. Though that means some cramming between now and a week from Thursday. I guess I'm still in a funk about the current job market that I have waiting for me. Also our mod project probably won't have anything to show other than concept stuff. *sigh*

ok, well, perhaps tomorrow will be better. So, until next time.


Flash! ooohhh ooohhhhhhh

While looking at my daily news site, I came across this silly little flash animation. It apparently came from Korea, somewhere. The animation style is very anime though. The story line reminds me of the Peppy Le Pue cartoons where he's always running after some cat. Anyway, I thought it was "cute". Enjoy!


Update, Redux

It would appear I was in haste when I said DDR was on for this weekend. I have to retract and say DDR is not on for this weekend. I'm sorry for any umm...problems this might have caused. Please leave your hate mail on the comments. Thanks.


Thank the maker!

I know that we, the government and me, don't see eye to eye on every issue. But when it comes to giving money when it counts...I'm all for it! I just finished our taxes and we get to live for another month an a half. So, expect less whine and more cheese. Also, tomorrow I will make the trek to Kadlec to apply for a database analyst job. My chances of getting it are slim. I'm surprised it's still open considering how long it's been open and taken the job market. But I'm not being picky here. heh

So, because of this good news, DDR on Saturday will be a go! Though I haven't played for almost a week now. I've been busy moping around. lol So, that's it! Until next time.


Drunk...on Mars

I know there's a whole bunch of you wondering what I would look like if I was drunk...on Mars. Well, here you you go. Me, kneeling down, drunk...on Mars. Oh yeah, there's Mike and Beth in the background.


The joy of Anime

I like anime. I've liked anime since my early days in the early 80's when I was watching Star Blazers and naming our cats after the characters. Back then, I didn't know it was from Japan. It was just a great cartoon show that was on early in the morning before school. Or was it the afternoon? Really, all I cared was that it was way cool. The mid-80's brought the joy of Robotech to my bright young eyes. That show had it all! Action, big robots (they are actually termed Mechs, but what did I care back then?), and a story that mattered from one episode to the next. The third season, also known as the third generation, presented me and the youth of the United States the best piece of science fiction based machinery: the Veritech Cyclone motorcycle. This mech has been in many a dream since I saw that season. It's just soo cool! I thought so then and I still think so today.

I have been hooked on anime since then, watching whatever I can that is broadcast on the US channels. There are exceptions to my rule like I don't care for the kids anime that they play now. Stuff like Pokemon, Yu-Gi-Oh!, Beyblade, and Kirby (my least liked kids anime ever, it's worse than Barney) I rather not watch. Kids anime movies I tend to like such as Castle In The Sky, My Neighbor Totoro, and Kiki's Delivery Service are all fun to watch. The animation is superb to watch which is a major reason why I tend to go for dubbed movies. Until I learn enough Japanese to keep me going through the story, I'll have to stick with the dubbs.

Besides the great animation of series, there's one other characteristic that keeps me coming back for more. This characteristic is the music. A vast majority of the series I have seen include J-Pop songs as their themes. Now, as some of you know already, I'm a pop whore. Meaning I'll listen to most whatever is on the radio. And like it. The J-pop songs are just Japanese pop songs and well, I whore for them too. Songs that are featured at the beginning of Evangelion, Escaflowne, Record of Lodoss War, Inuyasha, Ranma 1/2, and Cowboy Bebop are almost always can be found in my playlists. I keep on hearing more great J-pop tunes in every new anime series/movie I watch. In the past couple of days, I have sought out more j-pop music and tuned my mp3 player to the streaming bits of a couple of anime music stations which you can find on Shoutcast.com. Though I don't understand any of the lyrics, it's very entertaining nonetheless.

I tend to like the anime that has some sort of sci-fi flair to it, be it a setting in the future or having huge mechs running around. As I mentioned in my previous post, I have been watching the Neon Genesis Evangelion series over the last month or so. That story is based in the near future and it has huge mechs running around. Vision of Escaflowne is/was another favorite of mine, if I don't try to think about the last several episodes of it. There are mechs, but the setting is kind of mediaeval times. Though actually it's an alternate reality filled with magic and technology.

Once again, there are exceptions to the rule of mechs in the future. Ranma 1/2 is a great comedy with the main character switching from male to female at the drop of some cold water on himself. Now, how can you not find that hilarious? Inuyasha, from the same person who did Ranma, is another anime series (I actually haven't seen in about a year!) that doesn't revolve around future technologies. Inuyasha is a half-human, half-dog demon wanting this one magical jewel which will allow him to be a full demon. The setting is mediaeval Japan. A lot of the same elements can be found in Inuyasha and Ranma, which only seems natural. A movie that comes to mind that is based on real events that occurred during World War II is Grave of the Fireflies. That was a really sad story and could really compete with traditional films for content. Sadly, anime is still considered a cartoon for many an American.

There's still tons and tons of anime I have never heard of. There's tons still only available in Japan. They seem to only trickle over here. There are several more series that I do know about which I would love to watch, but those series are long and each DVD costs a good chunk of change. So, along with watching the rest of Evangelion, it will be a while before I get to view the joy that is Anime.