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Today I finished the first and largest stage of what should be a big… - Nathan
September 23rd, 2004
02:00 am
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Today I finished the first and largest stage of what should be a big and exciting contract and delivered the result to the customer. That means slightly less deadline pressure in the immediate future, which is good. The project itself wasn't bad; the schedule was somewhat demanding for the variable task of debugging an OS on novel hardware.

I can use some free time, because DDR Extreme (US) is supposed to make it out to our hinterlands any day now. The living room has been cleared out in preparation.

It'll also be good to have more time to think about cooking, and to push along the process of getting a gas stove installed. It puzzles me that both the price I'm paying and the price in Consumer Reports are higher than the listed MSRP.

After the project was "delivered" (bah, Comcast uplink speeds), we went out for dinner. The restaurant, Judie's, was described by a review book as "aging gracefully". It certainly had a lot of 1977 still going on, mostly unashamedly. My feelings were mixed. What was a gustatory revelation in America in 1977 is not so exciting now. My dish was decent (lamb shank), though I'm not sure they know about flavors other than salt. They also claim to be "home of the popover". But in my heart, the home of popovers is the Jordan Pond House. I would like to go there again, but I hear that it is no longer as nice as my memory of it from 1983.

Finally, we went to see a movie - Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow. It was overdone, but I enjoyed it. It was so pulpy that it hurt. Retro-future is totally my genre of choice (see also my fascination with the Wasteland and Fallout games). The really evocative bits were towards the beginning - The movie went quickly enough that there wasn't time to dwell on any of the ridiculousness that went on, even beyond the things that are part of the pulp genre.





  • Polly's role as a reporter gives her an initial reason to be where she is, and to have a camera, but the role doesn't really have a conclusion.

  • Why does the newsreel voiceover say that the world is dependent on SC's merry band of mercenaries? As we later see, the UK at least has some pretty hard core military operations going on.

  • When the group discovers the mine, there's a spherical building there (nice 1939 reference with the spike), but it's totally ignored.

  • The idea that the whole thing has been run by robots/AIs for decades seems farfetched even by the usual standards, and it steals the chance for a real confrontation.

  • If there's one Badass Robot Chick, who actually seems kind of clever and problem-solving, why not more of those, instead of the various big clunkers? (I have to admit that I was disappointed that that didn't turn out to *also* be Frankie, in some kind of double-agent move).

  • Why does a doomsday rocket have escape pods? To escape at the destination, whatever that is, I suppose...


I'm willing to forgive the "ignite the atmosphere" bit, because the Manhattan Project actually worried about that for a while - the idea occurred to someone that a nuclear reaction might trigger a worldwide chain reaction, and much frantic math had to be done before they convinced themselves that it wasn't going to happen.



At any rate, I have to go reread The Gernsback Continuum now.

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From:coraline
Date:September 23rd, 2004 01:17 am (UTC)
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jordan pond house

*sigh*. someday i'll make it back there...
(my family goes camping every august in acadia, but i haven't gone with them for the past few years...)
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From:rifmeister
Date:September 23rd, 2004 01:48 am (UTC)

DDR Q

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I should probably just post this at top-level in my own journal, but I haven't achieved the mental activation energy.

I have acquired a moderate addiction to DDR. I play in the Student Center arcade, which is somewhat non-ideal in that it takes too long to get there from my house, and it's often crowded. I am considering getting a home setup. My questions are "What's your setup like?", "What do you use for pads?" and "How would you compare the quality of your setup to that of the arcade?"
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From:nathanw
Date:September 23rd, 2004 06:10 am (UTC)

Re: DDR Q

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I have a pretty straightforward setup. 24" Sony WEGA TV, vanilla US Playstation2 for the AV and game parts. For pads I'm using a pair of the heavier soft pads, the BNS Ultra DX pads (about $60 with shipping). The pads are certainly better than the thin soft pads that frequently come in combo packs with the game; you can actually feel the buttons, they don't slide around much or bunch up, and they don't kill your feet in socks with the inch of internal foam. They've lasted about a year so far... one of them occasionally triggers the start button by itself, and may need replacing soon, but I've been happy with the gameplay on them. I'm only up to about the 6-7 foot level, so it's possible that I'll find more limitations of the pads at higher levels. Setting up two pads for doubles mode is harder and requires, for good quality, some bonus nonslip material or a frame to put them in.

When I was researching the soft pads it seemed like there were really only one or two manufacturers and a gazillion branders/resellers. I was unable to find any reason to think that the more expensive Red Octane "Ignition" soft pads were actually different from the BNS pads.

I have MAX and MAX2 (and Extreme US soon...), but none of the import versions of the game; I don't feel quite dedicated enough to put a mod chip in the PS2 or get an import system, although there are some cool songs on the import games (having played them on Cat and Greg's amazing setup). I picked up one of the PS1 mixes and never play it; the UI is different in a bad way, and the slower frame rate is nearly intolerable, having gotten accustomed to the PS2 (and arcade Max and Extreme) versions.

Comparing to the arcade is a little weird. All of the home pads (including the very nice Cobalt Flux hard pads) require less force and less vertical foot motion than the arcade pads, so whenever I play in the arcade I get tripped up by the slight depressions the arrows are in, and it takes a while to readjust to the sheer amount of stomping involved. The upside is that by mostly playing at home, I never developed the bad habit of hanging on to the bar...

For a new system I would check out the new PS2 variation that was just released, mostly because it takes up a lot less space - 75% smaller; the original PS2 is a pig. Of course, that it was just released may cause the price of the regular PS2 to plummet for the next month. I also use the PS2 as our primary DVD player, and it does fine for that, too, with S-video and optical digital audio outputs.
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From:signsoflife
Date:September 23rd, 2004 02:03 am (UTC)
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THANK YOU!

I've skipped over your spoilers, but ever since seeing the trailers for _Sky Captain_ I've been thinking about "The Gernsback Continuum", but I'd forgotten the name.

"the fumes ate the marble, and pitted the miracle crystal. . . "
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From:tikva
Date:September 23rd, 2004 03:29 am (UTC)
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*sigh* I miss Judie's. :) Judie herself is kinda nutty, though. *heh*
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From:alphacygni
Date:September 23rd, 2004 06:22 am (UTC)
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A long-time Amherst fixture, nutty? Surely you jest. :)

If you have any other "the thing I miss most is..." recommendations, they'd be most welcome. We have this review book called "The Menu" for food advice, and we've done some exploring in fits and starts. But also non-food sorts of entertainment or exploring. Haven't done as much of that yet. I feel like I've been getting way more entertainment than is reasonable out of the insects and wildlife around the house. My parents taunt me for being an easily amused transplanted city slicker. But... bunnies and chipmunks and little hopping frogs and enormous green insects! It's very exciting!
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