the further adventures of

Mike Pirnat

a leaf on the wind

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Iconage: Nausicaa + Serenity

I have occasionally been bored enough or in need of something completely different from my normal mode of being focused on code and servers and misbehaving software. When it gets really bad, I end up staying up too late playing with Photoshop.

A couple months back, I did a few Nausicaa icons; last night I was overcome with the compulsion to do some Firefly/Serenity icons. For those who haven't seen Serenity yet, do note that some of them may be borderline spoilers.

Nausicaa

Serenity

Typical LJ netiquette applies--please credit me in your userpic keywords or comments if you snag any. Enjoy.

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Obligatory Google Earth Post

Google Earth (formerly Keyhole) is now free (for the base level of jaw-droppingly great service)!

You need Windows (so I'm out of luck until I get into the office tomorrow), but in the mean time, here's a great first peek to whet all of our collective geek appetites. Google also provides some great samples for you to preview and interact with.

I haven't even had a chance to play with it, and already this product completely and totally blows me away. This is a gigantic step closer to the amazing real-time interfaces described in Snow Crash, Ilium, and especially Ghost in the Shell.

Wow.

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Lazy Weekend

For the record, lazy weekends pretty much rule.

Friday night we watched Bowling for Columbine, which simply has to be seen to be believed. It's scathingly funny and incredibly depressing at the same time. Brilliant.

Saturday we slept super-late, which felt great. We went out for lunch, which turned out to be a disappointment, but the day was glorious, so the nice drive made up for the lackluster meal. After watching a little bit of "Monk" that had been TiVoed, Liz napped while I tried to read The Silmarillion and ended up napping. (I'm at a part where it goes for a LONG time without a break, and is really difficult.) Eventually, we woke up, and in a fit of being the most incredible woman in the universe, Liz insisted that we go to the local record store to see if they had broken the street date on The Two Towers. Alas, they hadn't, but she let me buy some records anyway, so I came away from it with the new Moby Jam for the Ladies single, the new Blues Traveler CD, and the new A3 CD. When we got back, it was time to make dinner, which turned out to be delicious tuna kabobs and a sauteed spinach and garlic salad. We then watched Read or Die, a fun little OAV anime series that we both enjoyed. Once that finished, we realized we needed to run for groceries, so we took a fun-filled late-night grocery trip. We had to go back to the store fairly promptly, though, as one of the nice bottles of wine that we picked up had torn straight through both the paper and plastic bags as soon as it was picked up, shooting straight to the concrete floor of our garage, where it shattered and spilled its contents like a wounded soldier. The manager said that she could only give us a replacement bottle, which was fine with us since it was exactly what we wanted. Given the choice between tasty wine and my money back, I'm going with the bottle of wine any day -- I was going to spend the money on it anyway! We finished the night with Neil Gaiman's new story book, The Wolves in the Walls, with which I am utterly delighted.

This morning, we popped out of bed bright and early for a stirring six-mile bike ride. I was invigorated for awhile, but somewhere on the return portion of our jaunt, that vigor turned into a Jello-like lethargy, and the day has been fairly relaxed since then. Liz made an excellent cheesy fritata and Canadian bacon breakfast that we both wolfed down. She's napped off and on, with a trip to the other grocery store in between, and is now downstairs knitting, while I am all arts-and-crafty upstairs. A few weeks ago, we picked up some collage picture frames from Joanne Etc., and I've finally gotten around to making the necessary measurements and Photoshop templates to allow me to start printing up some goodies. I've just completed printing a bunch of photos from our Alaska vacation, and will get the first collage all assembled and hung tonight. I figure I'll do one for each major trip that Liz and I have been on together: Italy, Alaska, Hawaii, and San Francisco/Napa. I'm not sure what all dinner is going to involve, but I do know it has to do with a flank steak that's currently soaking in a merlot mixture, so I suspect it's going to be pretty tasty. The rest of the evening should be pretty laid-back as well; though there's some laundry to complete, it's a fairly zen process and kind of relaxing.

I wish I could say the same for the coming work week -- the only upside of which is that I get my The Two Towers and Stitch: the Movie DVD's on Tuesday. Ah, well... Work is what pays for the DVD habit, so I guess it's a necessary evil.

Also, I really should write sometime about the trip to Stratford last week, what with all the good food, good plays, and huge power blackouts that were involved. It really was quite the adventure! Now, where did I leave my motivation...?

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Yesterday's Experiments.... SUCCESSFUL!

Yesterday we put two coats of paint onto the walls in our bedroom. It looks pretty good so far, though it was a long and tiring day. We'll finish up today with the trim and chair rail.

We managed to pick out new carpet for the bedroom with a minimum of fuss and rather quite a bit of being silly. I think the paint fumes may have influenced the level of goofiness, but that's just a theory... Anyway, we should have new carpet in a couple weeks, hooray!

The half-bath is also making progress. The countertop has been set, and most of the sink plumbing is complete. The guy who's installing things will be back on Monday, and the plan is to have the whole thing functional before our niece Christine comes to visit next weekend.

After the second coat of paint, we had a nice bit of lounging about in the hammock, which I think was well-deserved. We chatted on the phone with Liz's mom, and later with my parents. I think I managed to succeed in bullying my folks into seeing Finding Nemo, but I can't say for sure.

We finished off the day with that sweetest of combinations: alcohol, pizza, and anime! (Liz's idea, no less -- have I mentioned how perfect she is?) We watched three episodes of Excel Saga (hilarious, especially the episode which parodies the Japanese perception of America and the American perception of anime) and killed off the last episode of the latest Chobits DVD.

I just finished rotating all the San Francisco photos, so I'll post some of them eventually. In the mean time, here are some photos from yesterday's adventures with paint...

Pixel, though confused by the chaos, enjoys her first chances to get on top of the wardrobe.

Pixel is ready for her close-up, while Liz finishes patching the hole where the crappy intercom unit used to be.

Thanks to the magic of a drywall patch kit and old man spackle (friend to you and me), our dumpy late-70's intercom unit is gone! Good riddance!

The first coat of paint is almost completed.

...I will surely post some more photos of the final product.

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When We Left Our Hero...

Recent occurrances, list-style:

  • Completed Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix late Sunday night.
  • Trying to recover from stupid, stupid Harry Potter (lack of) sleep schedule... uhhhhghghh...
  • My aunt and uncle came to visit on Sunday evening! They had been "passing through" and had a night to kill, so a visit worked out nicely. We had a great dinner and all went to the lake to watch the sunset.
  • Our bathroom has a floor! Pictures to follow...
  • Up to my eyeballs in regression testing my project at work... ugh...
  • I declare the new PowerMacs to be truly lust-worthy.
  • Hey, the Cowboy Bebop movie comes out on DVD today! Rock on, space cowboy!
  • I got a nice shiny Linux box to use here at work. The distro is a bit dated (in order to match what is in our production environment), but it's still kind of a nice change from Windows. And GAIM is actually stable, as opposed to the super-crashy Windows version that I had been using. w00t!
  • Hey, it's quitting time! Bye!
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Good and Bad

So I survived the annoyingly long and hellaciously busy work week, but just barely. The worst day was Thursday, when I didn't get a chance for breakfast, worked straight through lunch, and really didn't eat anything worth speaking of until about 6 in the evening when I got a sandwich to go on my way home. I don't recommend abusing yourself like that.

I spent at least half the week being excited that I was going to see the Cowboy Bebop movie on Friday night with Liz. I was indeed geeky enough to be blasting my Cowboy Bebop mix CD the whole way over to the east side to pick up Liz, get dinner, and go to the Cinematheque. We had an early dinner at Luchita's in Shaker Square, which was both good (two margaritas for me, two sangrias for Liz) and not so good (my dinner didn't sit well in my tummy). We wandered around the bookstore for a bit, trying to sober me up enough to drive, which just wasn't working out too well, so Liz ended up driving us down the hill to the movie.

We were very early, so we bought tickets and then walked around the perimeter of the new and improved Cleveland Botanical Gardens. Eventually we circled around and went back to the theatre to wait to be seated. We ended up bumping into several old acquaintances from CWRU days, and had a nice bit of getting caught up.

The movie was most excellent indeed. It was great to finally hear the soundtrack music in the right context. The animation was sharp and beautiful. The story had the right mix of humor, action, suspense, and drama. The English dub features the same cast as the TV dub, and they were even better in the movie than their excellent earlier performances. It was also delightful to be seeing the movie with a fairly large crowd who'd also never seen it before -- the great audience reactions really helped the film. A great time was had by all.

However, as much as I was enjoying the movie, I wasn't enjoying me terribly much. I'd started to get a sore throat earlier during the day, and it had been getting progressively worse throughout the evening. By the time we were halfway through the film, something inside declared that it was not very happy with me, and so I spent much of the second half of the film trying to keep my increasingly ill body under control. Liz was exhausted, but drove us home anyway, since I was starting to feel so utterly crapulous that I didn't think I would be able to drive safely. When we got home, my throat was too sore to even try to drink any water, I was trembling uncontrollably, and my temperature was on its way up. I was so exhausted that I just immediately went to bed without taking anything, which was probably a mistake. I spent the night half asleep, half dreaming, consumed by fever. I was not having a good time. This morning I was close to 102 degrees. We managed to get some Advil into me, and the fever seems to be coming down bit by bit. I was able to eat a piece of toast and drink a glass of juice, and that seemed to improve things greatly.

Still, I'm pissed that I'm sick. I'm pissed that I'm not feeling up to all the weekend enjoyment that has been planned. I'm pissed that I might get Liz sick right before her huge event. Bleccch. No fun.

At least the movie kicked ass. Can't wait for the DVD!

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Area Man Reports Good Friday Actually Just All Right

I keep forgetting that I get Good Friday off from work, which I always find amusing due to our Jewish upper management. Even though this is the fourth year in a row I've gotten it off, it always comes as a surprise. I can't quite shake the feeling that it's just a giant conspiracy to make me not show up for work, and then everyone can have a good laugh on Monday. And that's probably when I'll notice I'm not wearing pants, or have something horrible on my face. Paranoid? Maybe. But is that such a bad thing?

I spent my day off engaged in a ferocious battle with some CSS stuff, which for some reason I am determined to wrap my head around, even if it kills me. It's weird to have spent so much time writing code, and so little writing any pretty web stuff; my design skills are a little rusty (especially for thinking in CSS). I finally got to a point where I feel satisfied in declaring a minor victory, but it came at the expense of pretty much everything else I was going to do today (no Photoshop fun, no CD burning for [info]mokatz, no mailing CD's, no BOGO Parker Bros./Milton Bradley games at Toys R Us).

Liz had to work (ha!), so in order to take out her frustrations, she came home and ripped out the nasty brown vinyl floor in the half bath. At this point, we just have some cleanup to do, and then maybe we'll start painting this weekend! (I don't have any photos of the destruction, sorry--there wasn't enough room for Liz to get work done if I was in her way taking pictures.)

After Liz crashed for awhile, we went out to catch a late dinner, then came home to watch the first episode of "Chobits," a pretty cute and amusing anime series.

Tomorrow we're running errands, then going to groove on the comic stylings of Bill Cosby in the evening. Hopefully it should all be fun!

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How to Watch "24" and Feel Better About Life Afterword

Okay, I'll admit it, I am a "24" junkie. My only problem is that me and my vivid imagination get entirely too drawn into the onscreen events, and I seem to be very affected by the mood, composition, and editing. The average episode leaves me feeling pretty twitchy, and it takes awhile to calm down. But I'm really in trouble when it's a "viewer discretion advised" night, because that generally means graphic torture, and that really, really, really drives me up the wall. (Does this mean I'm getting "too old," or that I just haven't been desensitized enough yet by movies, TV, video games, the evening news, etc.? But I digress...)

So after an hour (condensed to ~40 minutes of intense black karma thanks to TiVo) of having my skin crawl, my stomach knot up, and getting all shaky and cold sweaty, how does one recover enough sanity and composure to, I don't know, sleep through the night?

The answer, friends, is an immediate infusion of Totoro, and I mean stat!

Nothing washes away visions of disturbing graphic violence like Mei falling asleep on Totoro's belly, or Satsuki giving Totoro the extra umbrella at the bus stop, or of the two kids raising and flying around a giant camphor tree with the help of these fuzzy forest spirits while Dad burns the midnight oil, oblivious to the scene outside. Even cute little kids love Totoro!

Ahhh, that feels better already. Now you give it a try.

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Remainder of the Night

After installing the new light, it was time for a little TV catch-up.

First was the "Today vs. Iron Chef" segment that I had TiVo'ed this morning. The Today folks had set up a tent pavilion in the plaza, constructing therein a morning-show replica of hallowed Kitchen Stadium. This morning's contest pitted Al Roker against Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto, truly a battle of epic proportions. The very tight time limit of eight minutes seemed to throw Morimoto off a little bit toward the end. Although the battle was fierce, and Roker an admirable challenger, Morimoto did not disappoint, eking out a victory with his superior presentation.

Next was last night's Daily Show, and I don't think I have laughed so hard in a long, long time. Jon was in excellent form as he covered the admittedly now day-old Iraq news. I was delighted to discover that the rumor I'd heard was in fact true -- there was a segment mocking my parent company, American Greetings, and its line of patriotic "come back safe" cards. And it only got better from there, for the guest of the evening was none other than Dennis Miller. Say what you will about his obscure references that only stuffy intellectuals and people who stayed awake in class will understand, the man taps directly into my sense of humor and makes me laugh until it hurts. And hurt I did! Already this was ranking close to the top of my list of favorite Daily Show installments, somewhere in the neighborhood of the pig masturbating segment and John Cleese's visit from the Kilborn days, and possibly slightly above the better "Indecision 2000" bits with Bob Dole. Just when I thought it couldn't hurt any more, that's when it was time for Lewis Black. What a whopper of a show! It concluded with the best Moment of Zen I'd seen in quite some time, video of Iraqi men kissing a US flag that was emblazoned with the sweaty image of Rocky Balboa, the Italian Stallion. Over and over, the men kissed Rocky, and their kisses were strewn about his muscular armpits and turgid nipples. Truly, this was an inspired 30 minutes of television. If there is a God, this guarantees that He has a sense of humor.

After that, we both realized we were hungry, so I took Liz out to El Tango Taqueria to celebrate our lighting victory. The food, as always, was marvelous, and full of superlative description, which I shall spare you the agony of enduring. I did eat all of my beans though, so I'd suggest being cautious in my vicinity for a while.

Once back home, we wrapped up the evening with the final episode of "Serial Experiments Lain," which was about as odd and not-quite-satisfying as I had expected it to be. Throughout the entire series, it's more about raising philosophical and existential questions than it is about having a gripping plot, and at least the end was... uh.. consistent. :-) But I am glad to have finally seen it all, so I can think about it and try to appreciate it.

Tomorrow we are off to look at a tile and stone place, and then to look at cabinetry. The adventure continues!

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Up Up Up the Ziggurat!

We slept in, which was nice after all that wine last night, then ran around to do some errands. We bought a birthday gift for niece Christine, and I was unable to resist the first season of "Red Dwarf" on DVD. Bought some groceries. Talked to Don out in California. Went to home depot.

Here are the best pictures from today's adventures in home improvement:

Had a nice chat with my parents. Ironically, they have also acquired replacement lighting fixtures from Home Depot, and will have them installed sometime this spring.

After all that exertion, Liz napped while I watched a preview episode of Rah'Xephon (dammit, I hate when new anime is cool; this one looks like it's worth collecting).

[info]aquamindy made the best dinner out of "in-the-house" stuff -- chicken apple sausage with spiced apple couscous and broccoli, paired with the leftover high-acid sauvignon blanc from last night's tasting. As much as some people thought it smelled "like feet" -- and no, I'm not going to let that comment go ;-) -- it was a really good bottle, and it was fabulous with dinner.

Had a little bit of "Six Feet Under," and now it's time to check in on email and LiveJournal, pay some bills, watch an episode of "Lain," then have another week at work.

My entire company is supposed to be going to the Jacobs Field opening game of the Indians... Except that the weather suggests that it might snow three inches, and be rainy, and super windy, so somehow I think it might be less of a reward than it was intended to be.

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