:: ln m ::

the natural log of m
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:: Saturday, May 31, 2003 ::

I trust everyone. It's the devil inside them I don't trust.

I took a long lunch yesterday to see The Italian Job. Boss called it a Broken Arrow day, since years ago the first movie that his group had a long lunch to see was that horrible Christian Slater/John Travolta flick. I really enjoyed the film, and felt it was totally worth seeing.

Today, I went to a wedding of two of my friends, in Carmel which is south of Monterey. Any excuse to drive down there is good one, the route is scenic and beautiful, and most of all, fun to drive. Fun being defined as nice and twisty. I drove out of Carmel at about 7:30, just as the sun was begining to set across the sea.

I bought a new pair of sunglasses yesterday to replace my scratched up Oakley, and realized the big difference polarized lenses make. I'm retiring my old pair of shades... these new ones are polarized Ray-Bans and they rock.

:: m 5/31/2003 10:49:00 PM [+] :: [..::::..]

:: Thursday, May 29, 2003 ::
I've been feeling like I'm slipping away. Life is filled with so many happenings that I wonder how I can keep track of it all. And yet somehow God is able to know what's happening to everyone all the time. Even stuff that we ourselves might not be conscious of. And yet things like this make me question whether or not such a being can possibly exist... but then I look at the platypus and wonder how can such a being exist... and I realize that there are more things on heaven and earth than can be dreamt of in my philosophy. So, if a platypus is possible, then an omniscient being is also possible. Even so, my faith in the Judeo-Christian version of God seems to be slipping away from me. Not replaced by another version of God, but merely acceptance that sometimes things do happen for no reason at all. It's not karma, it's not predestiny. It's just the way it is. And what we take from that experience is up to us... sometimes it's faith and hope which help us through that process, and sometimes it's anger or rage but whatever emotion we might be feeling, but in the end it's all up to us.

:: m 5/29/2003 11:50:00 PM [+] :: [..::::..]

Another video game company up for sale: 3DO. The only reason it survived as long as it did is because Trip Hawkins continued to throw his personal fortune into it every year to keep it afloat.

:: m 5/29/2003 04:41:00 PM [+] :: [..::::..]

Video games not so mindless...

:: m 5/29/2003 09:41:00 AM [+] :: [..::::..]

:: Tuesday, May 27, 2003 ::
How many times have you been pushed around?
Was anybody there?
Does anybody care?
How many times have your friends let you down?
Was anybody there?
Did anybody stare?

How many times have your friends let you down?
Just open up your heart
Just open up your mind
How many times has your faith slipped away?
Well, is anybody safe?
Does anybody pray?

Oh, Life is waiting for you
So messed up, but we're alive
Oh, Life is waiting for you
So messed up, but we'll survive

How many days have you just slept away?
Is everybody high?
Is everyone afraid?
How many times have you wished you were strong?
Have they ever seen your heart?
Have they ever seen your pain?
--- Our Lady Peace, "Life"

:: m 5/27/2003 10:36:00 PM [+] :: [..::::..]

:: Monday, May 26, 2003 ::
Fried bananas with honey make an excellent dessert.

:: m 5/26/2003 09:00:00 PM [+] :: [..::::..]

I discovered one of the weaknesses of blogspot today. It doesn't let me post in Japanese. Just saw some ducklings taking a walk around the apartment complex with their mother. Making Jambalaya for lunch today (using up the leftover rice from yesterday). My Jambalaya usually turns out more like a gumbo than jambalaya but this time I think I added enough rice to make it just right.

:: m 5/26/2003 12:20:00 PM [+] :: [..::::..]

It's a beautiful Memorial Day. The sun is shining, and no trace of those grey clouds can be seen. I was up late last night cleaning up my apartment -- taking a look around you'd hardly think anything was done, as the junk has not disappeared, only been moved around. I think my problems are like that too -- they never quite go away, they just move around.

I've decided I want to go blading today. At least for a little while. I need to go find all the padding to protect all my joints first though. They turn up all over the place though... I am constantly finding pieces scattered throughout my apartment.

:: m 5/26/2003 08:04:00 AM [+] :: [..::::..]

:: Sunday, May 25, 2003 ::
I've been cleaning my apartment the whole day, trying to rid myself of the myriad of items I've accumulated over the years. Also been making a mess in the kitchen cooking up lunch and dinner. I made chicken parmegiana for dinner. I made fried rice for lunch and was originally going to make paella for dinner but the afternoon passed quicker than I realized and I was quite hungry by the time I realized the dinner hour had come and gone so I decided to whip up something quick

The ingredient that gives paella it's unique flavor is a spice known as saffron. According to the spice bottle: " Saffron comes from a lovely violet crocus. During the two week fall flowering period, only the three stigmas of each flower are hand picked and carefully dried. It takes three stigmas from each of 75,000 flowers to produce one pound of Saffron."

:: m 5/25/2003 09:24:00 PM [+] :: [..::::..]

Myst: The Game that will not Die. The most successful non-game until the release of the Sims has another sequel.

:: m 5/25/2003 06:15:00 PM [+] :: [..::::..]

I watched Out of Sight, the J.Lo/George Clooney movie based on a book by Elmore Leonard. J. Lo's character, Karen Sisco, is due to get her own show on the networks this coming fall season. I tend to like Elmore Leonard books and movies since they are usually heist or caper films -- and there just aren't many being made in Hollywood these days. The reason for the difficulty in making heist films is simple -- it's tough to make the audience feel sympathetic for criminals. Look at Gone in 60 Seconds... it's about a bunch of car thieves... it's tough to make anyone who's ever had their car stolen feel sorry for them. Ocean's Eleven works well as a heist movie works well for one reason, and one reason only -- it's a casino getting hurt. What is for sure to be a summer blockbuster, The Italian Job is also a classic remade heist film. It looks like it will be a fun film. What's most surprising to me is how many classic heist films they've remade, and how few new ones are being made, but as I've said, the trick is in making sympathetic characters.

Looks like it's gonna rain today. Those dark looming clouds do not bode well for the coming day.

:: m 5/25/2003 05:46:00 AM [+] :: [..::::..]

:: Friday, May 23, 2003 ::
As long as I have a goal, as long as I have something to make a commitment to, I can follow it through to the end. But right now I'm living without any goals. I'm simply treading water. I've been taking it pretty easy since I graduated college, trying to figure out everything about who I am and in doing so, I made some mistakes, I grew, I changed and yet looking back it doesn't seem like a lot of progress was made. So, in honor of this new millenium (ok so I'm a few years late -- just goes to show what a horrible procrastinator I am) I decided on some new goals. I'm going to finish what I start. I'm going to cut back on my entertainment expenses. I'm going to try and turn into an ascetic. I'm going to get rid of what I don't need anymore. I need a return to balance. Maybe I just need to run further away.

:: m 5/23/2003 12:26:00 AM [+] :: [..::::..]

:: Tuesday, May 20, 2003 ::
ADV, Gainax and WETA have decided to team up to create a Live Action Neon Genesis Evangelion film. Gainax is the original creators of Evangelion, and ADV is a major publisher of anime in the US. But, I'll bet you've probably never heard of WETA before, although you've seen their work. WETA is the New Zealand computer animation studio that worked on Lord of the Rings. A live action Evangelion might be good, but compressing 15 hours of plotline into 2 hours will be difficult.

:: m 5/20/2003 10:37:00 PM [+] :: [..::::..]

It's funny how some scents can take you back to a different time and place. I came home today and decided to take a run along the coastline. I put on some sunblock since it's been especially sunny (and the last thing I want is a sunburn) and started running. The scent of sunblock filled my nostrils and I was reminded of the summertime of my youth, spent of the beaches of southern California. Funny how after all these years sunblock still smells the same. I would have thought that someone would have made some advancement in sunblock scent technology.

I'm making spaghetti for dinner (which will also be lunch tomorrow), which I haven't done for a long time. I was originally going to make some meatballs too, but I forgot to buy eggs at the market, so it'll just have to wait until next time. I think at some point I ought to buy an apron for cooking, as it seems whenever I cook I'm wearing white. An odd coincidence, or a predetermined stain accident waiting to happen?

:: m 5/20/2003 08:52:00 PM [+] :: [..::::..]

:: Monday, May 19, 2003 ::
If I regard my life as a TV show, then this month, quite possibly, is May sweeps -- we've already had countless guest appearances, and the last events for this month is a graduation, and a wedding (both common sweeps plot devices). Last year about this time, was the Tokyo season finale... I think most of the time, my show is a mid-season replacement more than a fully committed series... it's much easier to have 13 really good episodes rather than the full season's 26. I don't even know what the high concept summary would be. Perhaps "Computer Geek meets The Truman Show" most likely. Or maybe "Dawson in Silicon Valley". It's an hour long dramedy.

:: m 5/19/2003 06:59:00 AM [+] :: [..::::..]

I left the TV on after watching Futurama on Cartoon Network, and ended up listening to Aqua Teen Hungerforce. I think I've killed countless braincells by this action.

:: m 5/19/2003 12:10:00 AM [+] :: [..::::..]

:: Sunday, May 18, 2003 ::
Just because I can't help myself when it comes to these quizes...

I am Ned Flanders!
Which Simpsons Character are YOU?

The trip back to SF was one of the fastest trips ever... 5 hours and 15 minutes. I didn't speed...excessively.

:: m 5/18/2003 08:41:00 PM [+] :: [..::::..]

:: Saturday, May 17, 2003 ::
Matrix: Reloaded: I thought the original Matrix was a wonderful film -- lots of new concepts, a good combination of philosophy and action. The visual effects were stunning. I think in part, a large part of why the Matrix succeeded the way it did was because no one was expecting it to succeed. Matrix Reloaded is Matrix plus four years of technology.

The sequel suffers from the problem of over anticipation and needless hype. Everyone expected something that would make their head explode, but Reloaded is simply the bridge between the Matrix and Revolutions. I can see a lot of foreshadowing for the third film being set up with this movie. I also think that while the first is more accessible to the general public, the second is definitely more esoteric. Erin asked me after the movie why people laughed at a certain part, and the only explanation I could give was "it's a computer geek thing". I don't think a lot of people truly "got" the concepts behind the Matrix -- in every movie, there's a thematic question. In the first, the question is : "What is the Matrix?" The question in Reloaded is "What is Neo?" By the end of the movie, you have the answer, but you have even more questions.

There's even more things in Reloaded that I want to talk about, but writing about them would reveal way too much. I already feel awful about everything I've already said (although I know that most of my friends have seen it already). Just like there's a lot of cultural symbolism in a film like Spirited Away, Matrix Reloaded has a lot of symbolism and references that can't be appreciated without a firm grounding in anime, comic books, hong kong cinema, cyber-culture.

X2: While X2 is more entertaining, I think Reloaded is way more cerebral. I don't think X2 can withstand the repeated viewings test, whereas I believe Reloaded can.

E3. Damn, I'm glad it's over. I think E3 gets worse every year. Less and less games, bigger booths, louder music, games converging towards the generic instead of diversifying. Here are my top picks for the show. These will be different from what editors of gaming mags/sites pick since 1) they had more access than me, and 2) I don't give props to engine demos.

Best Booth: Nintendo
Even though the Nintendo booth was smaller than in previous years, the game selection there was one of the better ones of recent years with a good deal of innovative games. I expect great things from them.
Best GameBoy Advance Game: Advance Wars 2.
I just love these types of games. The strategy-puzzle genre has been largely absent from the last couple of generations of consoles, which is sad, because they were my bread and butter in the days of the Nintendo.
Most Noticeable Game missing from the Show: Star Wars Galaxies
Much hyped, but no show, even at the closed Sony Booth. This is never a good sign... especially if the game is supposed to make it out this year.
Most Innovative Game at the show: Nintendo's Pac Man game
In this game, one player gets to hold onto the GBA, and be Pac-Man, while the other three players are the ghosts chasing Pac-Man.
Worst Game Concept: American Idol
I couldn't tell if this was a button mash or a Karaoke game. Whatever the case, the idea is bad, bad bad. Can we vote this game off E3?
Top Three Game Concepts Overused at E3: First Person Shooters, Massively Multiplayer, Tomb Raider knockoffs.
Ugh. And people wonder why I'm so cynical about the future of games.

Upcoming Game Franchising:
Squaresoft: Final Fantasy-Anything
EA: Sim-Anything
Blizzard: Warcraft Anything
Tecmo: Dead or Alive Anything
Capcom: Megaman Anything
Konami: Metal Gear Solid: Anything

I had a pretty good time hanging out in L.A. and meeting up with people. I must say though, that one of the most memorable moments of my visit down here was playing Carcasonnes in the hotel bar while the Jewish Canters convention were whooping it up singing in the bar.

:: m 5/17/2003 08:35:00 AM [+] :: [..::::..]

:: Monday, May 12, 2003 ::
I had one of those dreams tonight -- the ones where something so incredible happens that it can't be anything but a dream, but you believe it to be real anyways. I was way disoriented when I awoke. You know what the real kicker is? The incredible event? It wasn't that incredible. Just an ordinary thing. Which made waking up that much more disorienting.

I forget how dry L.A. is, and I never drink enough water to compensate.

E3. Back to the mecca of gaming. Even though I have an anti-gaming stance, I try to revert to my 13-year old self -- the one who was so fascinated with games that he would have sold his soul to be where I am now. Which makes me wonder -- maybe I did sell my soul to be where I am now... but if I had, wouldn't life be better than this? Or maybe this is the twist -- that I must suffer through E3 -- my eternal damnation.

No, scratch that. E3 isn't my eternal damnation. Coming back to L.A. always changes my point of view -- more bitter, cynical and sarcastic. How strange it is, to feel alone in a city filled with millions of people.

:: m 5/12/2003 04:08:00 AM [+] :: [..::::..]

:: Sunday, May 11, 2003 ::
Total Lunar Eclipse Thursday Night

:: m 5/11/2003 04:10:00 PM [+] :: [..::::..]

:: Saturday, May 10, 2003 ::
It took all day, but I'm back home.

:: m 5/10/2003 08:42:00 PM [+] :: [..::::..]

:: Friday, May 09, 2003 ::
The map is laid out across the floor, as I try to plot my course tomorrow. It usually only takes about 6 hours to go from here to LA by way of the I-5, but with Highway 1, I'm looking at 10 hours minimum I think. But since I'm not in a hurry it's the perfect day to drive down the coastline. Last time I tried, the sky turned overcast, and it was quite the depressing drive.

:: m 5/09/2003 10:52:00 PM [+] :: [..::::..]

One of my Celica friends is featured in this article in the SF Chronicle on girls in the import car scene.

:: m 5/09/2003 07:18:00 PM [+] :: [..::::..]

This news might be a little late, but Indiana Jones is coming to DVD! Unfortunately it's only going to be available (initially) as a box set. If you've seen my DVD library, you know that I like boxsets, usually. The problem with box sets is when you are getting something you know you'll never watch. I know that I will probably never watch Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. And everyone who's seen the movie knows why. Because it's the worst one of the three. Plus, I prefer having bonus material on the same disc (swapping out discs to watch bonus material rarely happens). They made us wait 6 years for these titles (actually if you think about how long Paramount was on the DivX crew, it's probably more like 4 years of wait on DVD + 2 DivX years).

:: m 5/09/2003 06:47:00 PM [+] :: [..::::..]

:: Thursday, May 08, 2003 ::
Gah, there's still a bazillion things to do before going down to LA this weekend. I'm still deciding whether to drive down on the boring (yet well-paved) I-5 or if I want to do the scenic route by taking Hwy 1. It'll depend on the weather I guess.

:: m 5/08/2003 08:21:00 AM [+] :: [..::::..]

Atari lives again?. I don't know why they're running this article now, as Atari was taken over by them before last year -- all the Infogrames guys were wearing Atari shirts last year at E3. The thing that's really weird at Infogrames, is that at E3, they always look like a hoity-toity company with their corporate-looking glass walled offices within the main show floor, with no games to show, but they really are a big contender ... and one of the companies rumored to be in the bidding to buy us 5 years ago, before we were sold to Vivendi.

:: m 5/08/2003 08:10:00 AM [+] :: [..::::..]

:: Wednesday, May 07, 2003 ::
Cartoons To Ignite Your Id: Can animated gems like "Spirited Away" save the ravaged American imagination?

:: m 5/07/2003 11:48:00 AM [+] :: [..::::..]

:: Monday, May 05, 2003 ::
Wow, great season finale. Lots of things to look forward to next season I guess. The problem that Alias faces is getting new viewers, because it's set up like a soap opera in that each episode continues off the previous one, they are constantly having to do things to change Sydney's world so that new viewers don't get lost.

We just started reading through The Purpose-Driven Life as a church community in the 40 Days of Purpose program. They don't want us to go through it alone, but... that's how I feel most comfortable in dealing with things.

Stopwaste.Org will be savior to the 400+ empty CD jewel cases I have sitting around in my apartment.

Oh yeah, go see X2 -- good flick. Excellent sequel to the first X-Men movie, and stands well on it's own. Next week the company is renting out one of the theaters at Universal Citywalk for a private company showing of Matrix Reloaded.

:: m 5/05/2003 12:32:00 AM [+] :: [..::::..]

:: Saturday, May 03, 2003 ::
I started off the morning by picking up the car parts that had been delivered yesterday. I'm going to try and get that stuff installed and out of my apartment as soon as possible. I'm not sure if I'm going to ask them to keep the stock parts for me or not.

After that, I spent most of the day today shopping. Because today is Free Comic Book Day, the comic bookstores around me also were having sales. Needless to say, I found some nice bargains -- the crown jewel of bargains being a brand new anime DVD (which was released 6 months ago) for $6.25, so I'm looking forward to the next big comic book sale. After that, I hit up Best Buy and Staples. At Staples, I managed to get a nice confetti maker (paper shredder) for $20.

Which leads me to Best Buy, where I throughly suspect them of being part of the great CD case conspiracy. So, what is the great CD case conspiracy? Quite simply, it's this: CD holders usually come in set numbers. You can get CD holders that hold 12, 16, 24, 32, 36, 48 quite easily. But the really interesting thing is that they price accordingly, so almost no matter which count CD case you buy, the cost is still about the same. So if you buy 2 24 count cases, it costs the same as a 48 count case, and a 96 count case is about twice the cost of a 48. So there aren't any real bargains in buying CD cases unless you can find something that breaks out of the mathematical series. It's a curious little math problem. Anyways, I ended up buying two 264 count CD cases. I'm glad I can still do a little bit of basic arithmetic in my head. Hopefully that should be good enough to convert my stacks and boxes of CDs into something a little neater.

If anything, I want a PDA just to use as a calculator/inventory device when I go to best buy. You see, usually, if I'm going to Best Buy, I know exactly what I'm looking for. The danger comes when I hit the DVD section, because I know there are bargains to found if I look close enough. (For example, I bought the Neo Ranga DVD w/ Box for the same price as the standalone DVD). Sometimes, it's cheaper online and I don't need to pay sales tax or shipping. So if I had a PDA I'd just load in a list of DVDs, the cheapest price I found for it online, and compare the two.

:: m 5/03/2003 06:16:00 PM [+] :: [..::::..]

:: Thursday, May 01, 2003 ::
Just finished reading Superman: Red Son, which asks the question: instead of Superman's ship crashing down in Kansas, what if it had crashed in Communist Russia? Normally I don't read Superman, or any of the DC hero comics -- but this question so intrigued me that I had to read it (partially because I had read a short story about 10 years ago on the same subject). It was a pretty decent read, but nothing I didn't expect.

:: m 5/01/2003 12:17:00 AM [+] :: [..::::..]

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