Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Loot Check

So, what did you get for Christmas? I got some board games, and some new types of tea, and a couple books, and some clothes, and a bread pan (which really needs to get some lovin'), and I don't even remember all of it right now. Christmas was memorable by my Mom's dog, Sam, getting two bags of treats, which drove him so insane he started trying to eat everything in site, like styrofoam packing peanuts. Seriously, that dog is stupid sometimes.

However, today I got myself my own big Christmas present, a brand new 64 gig iPod Touch. I've already forgotten how I ever lived without it. I had not looked at portable media devices in over 3 years, since I got my iPod nano in 2006. Modern devices sure do a lot more, don't they? I am looking forward to experiencing Song Summoner, a game where you use the songs on your iPod to create characters that you use to fight the bad guys. I have no idea how that algorithm works, but it should be interesting trying to figure it all out and see what songs create the best fighters.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Movie Time

With my time off from work for the holidays, I decided that I would watch one movie a day. I don't really watch many movies, so this is my way of forcing myself to engage in some popular culture. Maybe not American culture, per se, but culture none the less.

I'm on day three of my little adventure, and it has been interesting so far. The first movie I saw was Samaritan Girl, a Korean film about high school girls doing bad things and reaping what they sow. Or something like that. It was very odd. In fact, this is the third Korean movie I have ever seen, and "that was very odd" was my immediate reaction to all of them. That is probably enough to establish a theme, so no more Korean movies for me.

Yesterday and today were animated films. Yesterday was the classic Disney film Sleeping Beauty (I just love the art direction in that film), and today I watched Macross II. I thought I was watching a movie, as that is what Netflix said it was going to be, but it ended up being all six episodes of the video series streamed as one file. I have to admit, I was pretty impressed with the Netflix direct video feed; it looked quite good on my computer. Macross II is just as awesome and ridiculous as the original, except in six episodes instead of 39. And, yes, they still stop the aliens by singing. So ridiculous.

I'm not sure what tomorrow will bring, but I think Tuesday will be my day to go check out Ninja Assassin in the theaters. Hopefully it will be as ridiculously awesome as I have been told.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Playing Settlers of Catan Is the New Way to Be Cool

According to the Wall Street Journal, anyway. Since I got my copy in the later '90s, I can now say that I was cool before people even knew that playing board games was the way to be cool. This also lends additional weight to my secret plan of surviving my upcoming three month Detroit assignment by bringing Carcassonne with me and then finding people to play the game with in the hotel bar.

Monday, December 14, 2009

I Have Already Forgotten How I Ever Lived Without It

So about six weeks ago I switched my TV provider from Charter cable to AT&T Uverse. Part of that included getting a DVR, as it is simply built into the signal box that AT&T gave me, and you can't even get a low grade service that doesn't include one. I wasn't sure that I would make much use out of the DVR, but after just a few weeks I am hooked and will have difficulty the rest of my life if I am ever without one. Like last night, I was watching the Premier League Review Show on Fox Soccer Channel. I have this program set to record every week, because some Sundays I have to travel for work and am unable to watch it. Since it was recording while I was watching it, I was able to simply pause the TV during the show when I wanted to go to the bathroom or get something to drink, and then resume it when I was ready to. I realize that other people figured out how awesome this is around 10 years ago, but that is really cool. Having a DVR has also solved some soccer game watching problems for me. See, when I had my standard Charter cable, it was fairly common for Arsenal matches to be shown at 10AM on Sundays. This meant that I had three options for handling my church/soccer scheduling woes:
  1. Go to church at 9:00 AM and miss the first few minutes of the game.
  2. Go to church at 10:45 AM and catch about the first 30 minutes of the game.
  3. Skip church entirely, thus being a dirty heathen, but a soccer enjoying one.
Now that I have a DVR, though, I can just record the game and watch it after church! Amazing! See, having a DVR assists in your personal spiritual growth! AT&T, feel free to quote me on that in your marketing materials. All I ask in payment is a few free months of service.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Survival

I survived the great northern blizzard (which Raygun humorously called DEATHSTORM '09!!!) none the worse for wear. It was kind of a strange week, as for two days my team and I were pretty much the only people willing and able to make it on the roads to get to the office. The upside of this is that we got a lot of work done that would not have otherwise gotten accomplished, so hooray us. I am now back in St. Louis for three whole weeks, which is quite wonderful. Now I just need to get some more Christmas shopping done, and I might be able to relax...

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

More News on St. Louis' New Men's Soccer Team

The Post-Dispatch is reporting today that the new team has a name now, and some of the involved personnel have been named. I really have no idea how this is all going to play out, as any new league like this has a less than 50% chance of really making it and sticking around long term. However, since the Soccer Park is about three miles from where I live, if even that far, I'm sure I'll make it to some games, even if just to see what is going on. I did like the last line in the linked article.
"The challenge for us is to bring back the history of St. Louis and develop players and produce players and try to make them professional players. The whole project is exciting and a big challenge."
Man, you ain't kiddin' about the challenge part. Good luck with that!

Monday, December 07, 2009

Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It... Well, You Get the Picture

So this morning I flew back into lovely Omaha, Nebraska. When I left last Friday it was nice and dry, but for miles over western Iowa while flying in I could tell that it had snowed over the weekend. Upon landing, I find out that it is going to snow a whole lot more tonight and tomorrow than it had over the weekend. We're talking a full-scale blizzard, with a foot of snow, howling winds, and the whole bit. It should be glorious. To keep things interesting, the Director and Partner I am working with are scheduled to fly in from Chicago tomorrow morning, and none of us knows whether that is going to happen, or if I am going to be stuck by myself in Omaha for the next three days. And even if they do make it in, are we just going to be stuck in the hotel? Because if there is a foot of snow on the roads, I'm not really going to be keen on driving across Omaha to get to the client's office. Interesting times.

In other news, I learned today that I should never eat at the Denny's on 84th street in Omaha again. I told the waitress about my dairy allergy when ordering my meal, and after consulting with the chef I learned that the ONLY THING on the menu I could order sans dairy was the spaghetti off the children's menu. EVERYTHING ELSE was touched by butter, at the least. See, they don't use oil when they cook, they just smear butter all over the entire grilling surface in the kitchen. I couldn't even get a cup of soup that would be dairy free, or a salad, because that grilled chicken they put on top would have been grilled on a bed of butter. I'm pretty sure that other Denny's don't do that, but maybe I just have to knock the entire chain off my list. Annoying.

On the plus side (well, kind of), I have now stayed at Hilton Hotel properties enough to have earned myself back up to Diamond status, the highest level in the HiltonHHonors rewards program. I was Diamond three years ago, but that project I had in 2007 where I worked in St. Louis almost the entire year killed that for me. Granted, that project had me in St. Louis for all of 2007, so it isn't like I was upset about it or anything. Anyway, I have earned my road warrior stripes all over again, so look out, world! Pretty soon I'm gonna earn myself an entire free week at a resort in Cabo.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Suckage Time

Wow, what a lousy couple of weeks for Arsenal fans. First, we lose one-nil to Sunderland. Admittedly, Sunderland is quite good this year, but still. Second, we get murdered by Chelsea. Admittedly, Chelsea is the better team, especially when we lack Van Persie, but still. Then yesterday we get bounced out of the Carling Cup by Manchester City in a pretty brutal drubbing. The real problem with the Man. City game is when you look at the players on each side. Mark Hughes brought out all of his primary players for the contest, while Wenger had a bunch of bench-warmers and training squad players starting for Arsenal. Granted, we have a lot of injuries, but you could tell before the game, by just looking at the lineups, that we were going to get punched in the face for 90 minutes straight. I'm not a big fan of lavishing money on buying players, but if that lineup was the best we could muster then we definitely need better talent. Depressing.

In other news, it is snowing this morning in Omaha. Not enough to get any real ground coverage, but still, it's snowing. Let the fiesta begin!

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Greetings from Omaha

Greetings, one and all, from Omaha, NE. I flew up here late last night and started on a project here today to help a local company improve its internal audit processes. It is a pretty cool project, but I am looking at 10+ hour days for the next two weeks, most likely. Ah, well, at least the food here is good. Well, except for the place we went for lunch; that place was kind of lousy. But there are definitely good steaks to be eaten in Omaha.