:: ln m ::

the natural log of m
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:: Tuesday, December 31, 2002 ::

Fox Trot does the Two Towers.

Last New Year's Day, I made the following resolutions:
To do some traveling -- Japan, Chicago, Europe, Hawaii, they're all possibilities.
I made it to Tokyo at the begining of June.

To exercise on a regular basis again.
I run about two miles every morning now. Considering joining one of those fitness clubs.

To take some classes for fun.
This didn't happen. It stays on the list for 2003.

To play games less, to read books more.
Hate games. Aside from socially interactive games, most pc and console games do not provide any redeeming value. It's like popcorn -- it fills you up but has little nutritional value. I've read a thick stack of books this year, some of it fluff, some of it not. Books are not a good substitution for games though, because they are both still solitary hobbies.

To laugh and smile more. (I seem to have forgotten how to do these things)
I don't know. If this past year has taught me anything at all, it's to not take things for granted. I started exercising, bam, got hit by a car the next week...limped around for a few weeks and missed being able to walk, run and dance for months. I still don't laugh or smile enough. I try.

To live for the sake of life, and not live for the sake of work.
I hate work. Work exists for purpose of paying my bills, not much else. Hobbies should not become work, as you begin to hate the hobby as you hate the work. Am I living life, rather than going through the motions of life?


:: m 12/31/2002 08:40:00 AM [+] :: [..::::..]
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last to sleep and first to awake, I wish these restless nights would go away....

:: m 12/31/2002 07:15:00 AM [+] :: [..::::..]
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Phrase of the day: Si man i yulma nin enquantuva. (who will buy me a drink?)

When Three Worlds Collide...

So, I have all my plans laid out for the evening... going to see The Towers at the Irvine Spectrum on the big IMAX screen. Supposed to be there at Calvin's apartment by 8:00/8:30, Movie is supposedly at 10:40, giving us plenty of time to eat. Phone rings at 6 pm. I'm at home. It's Heiberg, who has just set up an impromptu gathering of people in my old EQ guild at 7pm at the Irvine Spectrum. Well, since I'm headed there anyways, might as well say hello to them. I tell him I'll meet him out there and we might be able to do some quick drinks together. It's 6:45 and I'm halfway to Irvine when the phone rings again. It's Peter. Him, Rafe and Lin are headed to Irvine Spectrum to meet up with Vahnsy at 7pm. Rafe is leaving for Chicago tomorrow morning, so it's his last night here, but since I spent time with him yesterday, I don't feel quite so guilty. Vahnsy, though, I haven't seen in almost ten years, so I feel obligated to spend a little time there as well... and then I don't want to not meet the old EQ crew... As soon as I hung up the phone, I let out a long sustained scream... 30 seconds at least, maybe a minute. But, every moment is precious... life is finite... people go away.... I am saved by the circumstance of latecomers to the EQ crowd, so I can chat it up with the old HS buds, who I managed to shove into the same restaurant... and then I switch, and I'm off..anyways, it's a tiring day, with me having meal one at 9am, and meal two at 930pm...

Memories echo through time too. Tami, I think still has a guilt complex over what she did to me in HS... and I keep telling her, we were stupid kids then... but I think she still blames herself... It's ok, really.

I hate this question: how are you doing? I always answer with alright, even if it is out of reflex.

Second most hated question: are you okay? if I was ok, you wouldn't be asking...


:: m 12/31/2002 04:02:00 AM [+] :: [..::::..]
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:: Monday, December 30, 2002 ::
Tonight was a reunion of sorts between the old group.

Going to the dinner, I was a bit apprehensive at first, since I was worried that Jack and Aileen might still not be on good terms with Marina (Rafe). It turns out that the implied slight, was simply a misunderstanding. Jack and Aileen have a beautiful baby boy -- he's very quiet and well behaved. Parenthood seems natural to them. Seeing everyone again, makes the passage of time seem slower -- life after high school doesn't seem to change people so radically.


:: m 12/30/2002 05:42:00 AM [+] :: [..::::..]
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:: Sunday, December 29, 2002 ::
"Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn't stop to think if they should." -Dr. Ian Malcolm, Jurassic Park

Truth is stranger than fiction: First Human Clone. I knew when Dolly was created that inevitably, there would be human clones. Just a matter of time. In science fiction, there's long been talk of clones and genetic engineering. I never would have suspected that the first people to do it would have been alien worshipping cultists though. I would have thought it would have been some megacorp somewhere, more akin to what we see in Jurassic Park or Blade Runner. Blade Runner interestingly enough is about genetically engineered humans who are trying to escape their genetic destiny (since they have built in expiration dates) and because they are denied some human rights due to the fact that they were constructed.


:: m 12/29/2002 04:15:00 AM [+] :: [..::::..]
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:: Wednesday, December 25, 2002 ::
Merry Christmas everyone!

:: m 12/25/2002 08:49:00 AM [+] :: [..::::..]
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:: Tuesday, December 24, 2002 ::
Christmas Eve always begins the same way in my parent's house, with my mother busily wrapping presents for my father to bring to work. Invariably, they get into an argument about something such as the procrastination of my mother in waiting until the morning to wrap the gifts ("It's almost eight o'clock! Why did you wait until now to wrap the gifts?") or the appropriateness of certain gifts("We can't give them that, it's made in China!") or something completely minor ("Where are the gift tags?"). Every year, like a well-oiled machine. It's our family tradition.

:: m 12/24/2002 09:52:00 AM [+] :: [..::::..]
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:: Sunday, December 22, 2002 ::
The Very Secret Diaries of the Fellowship

:: m 12/22/2002 07:03:00 PM [+] :: [..::::..]
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Every year at Christmas, at least one person gives me a bottle of wine. For the last two years, from two different people who don't know each other, these bottles have been bottles of 1998 Cabernet Sauvignon. I don't know if that's just what they've been selling in the stores for the last two years or if it's just some great cosmic joke the universe is playing on me. I strongly suspect the latter. I'm not complaining. I think it's funny.

:: m 12/22/2002 06:54:00 PM [+] :: [..::::..]
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Tales from the Restaurant

Went to California Pizza Kitchen on Bay Street after church. Tried the Dulce de Leche Cheesecake. It's supposed to be "A rich and creamy New York style cheesecake with a delicious combination of caramel and sweet cream on a Graham cracker crust." Sounds pretty good doesn't it? Yet, for some reason it tasted like more like pumpkin cheesecake than a caramel cheesecake. But they don't have Pumpkin cheesecake at CPK, so it must have been right. The waitress came around and asked if everything was alright, and we just nodded our heads, even though we were all thinking "This doesn't taste like Dulce de Leche... it tastes like Pumpkin."

A few months ago, I went to the Cheesecake Factory in San Francisco with some friends. Since Cheesecake Factory doesn't take reservations, and we had a large group (8) on a Friday evening, they made us wait for nearly 3 hours. Now, we should have just gone someplace else, but there were 3 others who were supposed to come who bailed on us after we had been waiting almost an hour and a half, so we stuck around. Anyways, we were seated at about 10:00, and it was another 15 minutes before they took our order. . The waiter told us the soups were french onion and Clam Chowder. Several of us were starving, myself included, and ordered the Clam Chowder. Clam Chowder is one of my fatal weaknesses. If they have it, I will order it. I lapped up the soup pretty quickly, as did my companions. 5 minutes later, when the waiter came to bring more appetizers, he said "I'm sorry, I made a mistake. We didn't have any Clam Chowder, that was Cream of Chicken soup." Farrell, who was sitting across from me and who had also ordered the soup, looked at me, looked at my empty bowl, as I looked at him and his empty bowl, and the two of us burst out laughing. We had both eaten the soup so quickly, neither of us noticed that what we thought were Clams was actually Chicken!

Speaking of Clam Chowder, I like the Campbell's Select and Chunky style Clam Chowder. I think Progresso is a bit too thin for my tastes.


:: m 12/22/2002 06:18:00 PM [+] :: [..::::..]
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:: Thursday, December 19, 2002 ::
I couldn't find my keys this morning. I searched a dozen different places that I could have placed them, and still couldn't find them. Then my paranoid anxiety kicked in. "What if someone walked in while I was asleep and took them?" I wondered. My mind started jumping through a chain of events -- they'd have the key to my car, my apartment and work. What if my car isn't there? I wouldn't be able to get anywhere. I was overreacting, and I knew it, but I had been looking for my keys for almost half an hour. I was only able to ease my mind after I found them.

It's gotten so cold and dark lately. What happened to the warmth?


:: m 12/19/2002 04:25:00 PM [+] :: [..::::..]
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I have today off. Yay me. It's black as pitch outside, and I can hear the wind howling. There's no rain, just the chilling wind. There must be storm clouds, else I would expect to see some hint of the sunrise.

:: m 12/19/2002 07:30:00 AM [+] :: [..::::..]
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:: Wednesday, December 18, 2002 ::
Firefly Canceled

What took them so long?

It's pretty cold out here tonight. Downright chilling to the bones.

Across the street from the library is city hall, and in front of city hall are two large gigantic redwood trees. And they've strung (although it looks much more like dropped) Christmas lights over it. Why do I prattle on about some silly tree? Because it represents man co-existing with nature, and the union being an achievement of wonderment.


:: m 12/18/2002 09:40:00 PM [+] :: [..::::..]
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I did 90 percent of my holiday shopping online this year. Just about the only thing that I went into an actual store to buy was all the things to make the gift a Christmas present. Sure, they have gift wrap and such, but the problem that I've always had with gift wrap over the internet is reassuring myself that the thing that they shipped is the thing that I ordered.

:: m 12/18/2002 02:02:00 PM [+] :: [..::::..]
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:: Tuesday, December 17, 2002 ::
There's actually sun outside. I know it won't last, so I move in front of the large window to feel as much of the warmth as I can. I can see the clouds creeping across the sky, blocking the sunlight and transforming the blue and white to a bleak gray. As quickly as the sun came in through my windows, it leaves, taking the warmth, and replacing it with the sorrowful winter day

My company gives two floating holidays a year, for taking the day off whenever we feel like it. Unfortunately they don't roll over into the next year, and I haven't used them this year yet, so I decided to use them today and Thursday. Of course, I am cursed (or maybe blessed -- you decide) that whenever I take a day off for personal time, everything breaks down. Today is no exception. As soon as I finished lamenting the loss of the sun, the phone rings. It's work. I talk them through it, and not five minutes after I hang up the phone, it rings again.


:: m 12/17/2002 10:18:00 AM [+] :: [..::::..]
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:: Monday, December 16, 2002 ::
The rain's still pouring down outside.

Alias: I think it's interesting that Sydney shuts everyone out of her life. She says it's an act of love to deceive the people she cares about. Especially given that just about everyone we've ever seen in Syd's life has either been an agent or counteragent. I mean, if you think about it, the only person she's decieving for protection on what she's doing is her roommate Francie. Everyone else works for one side or another and their work makes them targets. Of course, I don't really believe Francie is a totally innocent bystander. In fact, I think she's partly responsible for the kidnapping of Emily. Now, it could be Sark that's behind it, but that's a bit too obvious. Oh, and did anyone else find it odd that Syd is briefing Will in her own living room? We know that Syd's living areas are under surveilance, so she's probably already tipped off SD-6 about Will. I think the bit of Ewokese that Marshall speaks is from the meeting between Leia and Wicket.

A tiny piece of Star Wars trivia: Many of the alien languages spoken in Star Wars are either real languages spoken in the world or composited from various languages. Ewok, for instance is a layering of Tibetan, Mongolian and Nepali languages.


:: m 12/16/2002 02:46:00 AM [+] :: [..::::..]
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:: Saturday, December 14, 2002 ::
the quick flash of lightning,
the rumbling sound of thunder,
downpour drenches all.

It's not just a thunderstorm, but it's a hailstorm too. It's such a rarity to experience a thunderstorm out here in California, complete with lightning. There was a calm before the storm, where the rain paused briefly only to begin ferociously ten minutes later.

I imagine that people are dealing with blackouts and flooding already. I took enough classes about landscape architecture to know that flooding, mudslides and liquification is a very real danger in the Bay Area, and that most buildings aren't really built to withstand the centennial weather occurances. At least it isn't as bad as last year where it rained for almost two straight weeks. The rainy weather will go away soon, I think.


:: m 12/14/2002 07:41:00 PM [+] :: [..::::..]
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:: Friday, December 13, 2002 ::
Lord of the Peeps: The Fellowship of the Peep

:: m 12/13/2002 07:05:00 PM [+] :: [..::::..]
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the rain is pouring
the sky is falling
it comes in colors
tomorrow morning is a different story
today is just a blue day
today is just a blue day
Fran Lucci "Blue Day"

The rain is supposed to continue on until sometime next week. I miss the sun and the blue sky.


:: m 12/13/2002 04:30:00 PM [+] :: [..::::..]
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I think my friend Eric has the right idea about not dealing with Windows machines. I've just spent the entire day (and night) working on Microsoft Networking. It sucks. It really does. And the harsh part is that the problem still isn't solved, so I have to wake up early tomorrow.

And rain keeps coming down. I love the sound of the rain falling.


:: m 12/13/2002 02:45:00 AM [+] :: [..::::..]
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:: Tuesday, December 10, 2002 ::
Well I love a rainy night
I love a rainy night
I love to hear the thunder
Watch the lightning
When it lights up the sky
You know it makes me feel good

Well I love a rainy night
It's such a beautiful sight
I love to feel the rain
On my face
To taste the rain on my lips
In the moonlight shadow

Puts a song
In this heart of mine
Puts a smile on my face every time

Eddie Rabbitt, "I Love a Rainy Night"


:: m 12/10/2002 08:23:00 AM [+] :: [..::::..]
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:: Monday, December 09, 2002 ::
A little Jedi Humor. So funny, but oh so wrong.

:: m 12/09/2002 10:36:00 AM [+] :: [..::::..]
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Remeber my long analysis (Oct. 28th) on Spirited Away a few weeks ago? New York Daily News critic Jack Matthews has this to say about Spirited Away and Disney:

"Walt Disney, Inc. lowered its 2002 earnings estimate earlier this week because of the abysmal opening of the studio's latest animated feature, "Treasure Planet." Disney will never know whether it squandered a potential windfall when it decided not to commit to a wide release for "Spirited Away," the infinitely superior Japanese animated feature it bought for U.S. distribution. "Spirited Away" remains the best-reviewed movie of the year, and has already won the award for best animated feature from the National Board of Review. I predict it will win all of the critics' awards. Yet Disney sat on it, convinced it was a minor art-house film, spending accordingly. The phrase "penny-wise, pound-foolish" has never been more appropriate."


:: m 12/09/2002 07:03:00 AM [+] :: [..::::..]
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:: Sunday, December 08, 2002 ::
I made some crab chowder from scratch tonight. Wasn't that hard to make, surprisingly enough.

Alias wasn't a rerun tonight, and it looks like next week's won't be either. November sweeps are over, so it's really something to see new episodes still being aired. Of course, I'm sure that after January for a few months we'll have nothing but reruns. That's the tough part about serial television, there's almost no good jumping in point to bring in new viewers.


:: m 12/08/2002 11:46:00 PM [+] :: [..::::..]
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I caught The Santa Clause on television today, and as I watched the movie, I began to realize that just as in most things in life, the central theme is about believing and having faith. Tim Allen's character undergoes the transformation from someone who doubts the truth to someone who ardently believes. He tries to deny the truth, to hide behind excuses, to try and make up rational reasons for the things that are happening to him. His son, on the other hand, a believer from the beginning, never wavers in his beliefs, even at the risk of being laughed at by his classmates or punished by his mother and stepfather (who are non-believers). It's funny isn't it, how we can see God in everything if we look close enough?

I think that sometimes, I would rather believe in random chance than believe that God has a plan for me. I think part of that is that I just can't fathom the idea that God, the Supreme being, the Creator of the Universe would take an interest in little ol' me. I still haven't found my calling yet, and certainly not the purpose of my life yet. But I have an unshakeable faith that God values my life, has something in mind for me, and I will know it when it arrives.


:: m 12/08/2002 09:35:00 PM [+] :: [..::::..]
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Too cool. Real Optical Camoflage. Of course, at the moment, it's just a fancy projection system.

:: m 12/08/2002 07:40:00 AM [+] :: [..::::..]
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:: Saturday, December 07, 2002 ::
Bigfoot Creator Dies

:: m 12/07/2002 12:45:00 PM [+] :: [..::::..]
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Went to Bill's tonight to play some games after work. Stayed up until 2:30 playing Carcassones and Citadels. Interesting gameplay dynamics in both games.

I set up some Wireless Access Points at work today. Pretty nifty, being able surf the internet totally wireless.


:: m 12/07/2002 02:56:00 AM [+] :: [..::::..]
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:: Friday, December 06, 2002 ::
On the Late Late Show last night, Michael Vartan (Vaughn from Alias) said that although the show has a good following, the ratings for Alias aren't all that high. This surprises me, but I'm confident that Alias can run for at least another season or two as long as they don't try screwing around with the story too much and playing hopscotch across timeslots.

:: m 12/06/2002 08:07:00 AM [+] :: [..::::..]
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:: Thursday, December 05, 2002 ::
I went out for sushi tonight and tried ankimo (monkfish liver). It's not at all what I expected.

:: m 12/05/2002 08:19:00 PM [+] :: [..::::..]
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When the peppermint candy canes start to enter the candy dish at the office is when it truly begins to feel like Christmas. I can't resist eating candy canes. I remember one time in my youth devouring a package of them in one sitting. Although I very much doubt that I will do something like that again, it's the miniature candy canes that kill me, since I don't feel as guilty munching on them due to their tiny size.

:: m 12/05/2002 05:06:00 PM [+] :: [..::::..]
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Mamoru Oshii, the director of Ghost in the Shell and Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade has a new live-action film out called Avalon. It looks like a visual feast, if the trailer is any indication.

:: m 12/05/2002 04:32:00 PM [+] :: [..::::..]
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This week's printed version of Entertainment Weekly has a fairly large feature on how video games are shaping culture. If I was an cultural anthropologist, that's probably what the subject of my research would be.
In other print news, I picked up a copy of NewtypeUSA. It's basically the Japanese version brought over to the US. I pick up copies of the Japanese version of Newtype from time to time, so I noticed certain articles were taken from the original version and just translated into English. NewtypeUSA's quite a pricey magazine (9.95 US), but they do use the good paper, and each magazine comes with a DVD. The import version runs about 6 dollars, so that extra 4 bucks is probably the cost of the DVD and the translation. One of the things that I was rather surprised that they kept was the large format of the magazine. I generally don't read magazines since they have such long lead times that most things they cover have already been talked about on the net days, weeks, even months before. NewtypeUSA is no exception, since the anime market in the states is typically about 6 - 12 months behind the Japanese release of the anime.

:: m 12/05/2002 09:37:00 AM [+] :: [..::::..]
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:: Wednesday, December 04, 2002 ::
KISS, it's an acronym we use in the geek world. It stands for Keep It Simple, Stupid.
That's how I should have done this whole blogspot thing. I love naming things. I could spend all day coming up with names. In fact, trying to figure out where to put this, I went through about 15 different names, none of which truly satisfied me. But I'm happy with this. I can live with this. Now I have to go and delete those other blogs.
The layout is only temporary. As soon as I've got time, I'll spruce it up.

:: m 12/04/2002 09:58:00 AM [+] :: [..::::..]
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