Tuesday, May 16, 23:05 CDT
Well, here goes.

Ok, so I've had that paper done for a while. Since a week ago, I think. Along with all that other school related stuff. Things have been a little weird lately, though... Actually, things have been a little weird for a couple of months.

Not weird in an interesting to read about way. Just weird in an end-of-highschool, trying to figure out what to do next, realizing what you should've been doing different for years way.

I'm trying to think of things that happened in that large-ish space where I didn't write anything here.

Easter was somewhere in there. Hope everyone had a good one.

I actually went to prom this year, with a date (hi Lani), instead of sitting at home and playing with legos. This may have been a little out of character. Or a lot.

Stephen turned 21. (Happy b-day, Gul...)

I see Gurney finally got a copy of The Lions of Al-Rassan. A truly great book, which I need to read again soon. If my copy weren't loaned out at present.

If a film version of TLoAR were ever made (which borders on absolute impossibility), I think I'd want Russell Crowe to play a major character. But more on Gladiator later...

Some books and stuff I have read lately:

  • A Deepness in the Sky, by Vernor Vinge - An extremely cool, very well written prequel to A Fire Upon the Deep. Actually, it's not really a straight prequel. There'd be no need to read AFutD first, but it does share the universe and a major character.
  • I, Claudius, by Robert Graves - Historical fiction, written as an autobiography from the viewpoint of the Roman Emperor Claudius I. Good stuff. Educational too, although I have no idea how historically accurate it is. Worth reading, at any rate.
  • Neverwhere, by Neil Gaiman - There is a whole 'nother world beneath the streets of London. The kind of world that you secretly suspect of existing, but would never admit to in broad daylight. A dark, frightening, irrational world filled with characters who are very often unpleasant, but fascinating anyway. Gaiman is really, really good at this whole dark hidden faerie world kind of thing. Well worth reading. (I understand there's a BBC miniseries, which would be cool to see.)
  • In the course of writing a crappy research paper on interface design, I wound up re-reading Neil Stephenson's excellent essay "In the Beginning Was the Command Line". I think I've seen this thing published in book form, which I really ought to buy, but you can still find the text file on the otherwise sparse Cryptonomicon site.
  • Some time in the past month, I finished my several month long re-reading of The Lord of the Rings. LotR is a work I love more and more as time goes on, but one I don't think I'll ever be able to just tear through. Which is just fine. Some things need to be read at length.

Speaking of the LotR, if you haven't yet seen the 30 second QuickTime movie trailer, and it's at all possible, DO SO. Don't keep reading this incoherent drivel. Start downloading.

Ok, granted, it's a monster download, and QuickTime as a piece of software just sucks, no matter how good the video quality is. I think Apple is working hard these days to completely invalidate any claim they ever made to being *good* at interface design. But I digress.

At the least, it's worth heading over to TheOneRing.Net and checking out their scene-by-scene breakdown of the trailer. TheOneRing.Net is a shining example of what a really well done obsessive fan site should be, IMO. Like the gone-but-not-forgotten Quake Will Rule the Cosmos, from way back in the day. Or what Blue's News used to be, before it lost its focus and become more of a general gaming news site (nothing wrong with that, I guess, but it just ain't the same).

Some movies I've seen lately:

  • High Fidelity - Music store owning geek spends most of the movie talking to the camera about his failed love life, making top 5 lists, and interacting with fellow obsessive music geeks. "Did I listen to pop music because I was miserable, or was I miserable because I listened to pop music?" John Cusack is cool, and this is a really funny movie with some good stuff to say.
  • U-571 - Pretty good submarine action flick. Minor continuity problems. (If you're going to kill off a character, and feel the need to cut that character's death scene, is it too much to ask that you provide some explanation for that character no longer being in the movie?)
  • Being John Malkovich - Ok, so I didn't think it was all that great. Call me lowbrow if you feel like it. Actually, there was quite a bit of really original, funny stuff here. A lot of the movie felt like one of those weird little daydreams you have all the time, but generally don't tell anyone about. I just didn't enjoy it enough to rate it as brilliant, like everyone else seems to have.
  • Stuart Little - I can't believe I actually *watched* this. At least I didn't pay for it.

I saw Gladiator the day it opened, whatever that was, with my mom. Gladiator is the movie I've most been looking forward to, with the exception of LotR. And it was good enough not to leave me disappointed. Not that it was all it could have been, but... There's a story there, a good one (though at times it drags a little), great characters acted well (Maximus, Proximo, Marcus Aurelius), the action is incredible, and visually it's just beautiful... Maybe Ridley Scott's second best movie (after Blade Runner, and there isn't much that can touch Blade Runner). My mom liked it quite a bit, and she's not exactly known for her enjoyment of violent revenge movies or gladiator flicks.

My last day of high school was Wednesday of last week. I managed to be signed out of all my classes and free to go by 10:00. Had that paper done, and everything. I think I was one of the first people to leave the building. Somehow I'd have expected to be scrambling to finish up to the last possible minute. Felt weird and abrupt just leaving like that... Actually being *done* with something. Forever. FORRRR-EVV-ER.

I went to see Gladiator again that afternoon, this time with a friend. I think I liked it more the 2nd time. Maybe I could wish for better music. A score as good as, say, Braveheart's would have done a lot for this movie. Not that the existing one is bad.

I was wandering around a Software, etc. in the mall and noticed some boxed Linux distributions sitting on a shelf, including a spiffy looking copy of Debian, which was a pleasant surprise. At $21 I figured it'd be worth buying a copy. Turned out to be the first software I've paid for in about six years that could actually justify the size of its box. (Came with a copy of O'Reilly's Learning Debian GNU/Linux, a Myth II demo disc, and a Debian bumper sticker. Oh yeah, and a copy of StarOffice if you register, for whatever that's worth.)

The rest of last week is sort of a blur. I got home at around 2:00 Thursday morning, slept 'til 8, then went to Sioux City with my dad to buy a lot of food and pick up my Aunt Connie, who flew in to the tiny airport there.

Friday morning there was practice for commencement ("walk in, sit down, stand up, walk across stage and grab diploma with left hand, sit down, stand up, walk out"), which would've been a lot shorter if the superintendent hadn't shown up late to repeat everything that'd already been said and lecture us about how if we were late or came to commencement drunk, we wouldn't get to participate.

At some point, my grandparents showed up, having driven from Kansas, and set about preparing way too much food for the inevitable post-graduation reception thing. Baccalaureate (am I spelling that right? is there any other school left in the country that even still has a baccalaureate?) was Saturday night, complete with the inevitable video presentation of everyone's cute baby pictures. (And ok, as these things go, it wasn't bad. They could've easily come up with waaay more embarassing pictures.)

Graduation was Sunday. The weather was actually nice, so sitting in the gym wearing one of those ridiculous gowns was bearable, mostly. Aside from the tassle on the funny looking hat flopping in my face. Commencement was relatively short, and the speeches were good (nice job, Rik), unlike last year. (When the valedictorian decided to read aloud an entire episode of Paul Harvey's "The Rest of the Story".)

/me pauses to run inside and put together a sandwich from the uneaten graduation food.

There's a bizarre local tradition whereby everyone who graduates has an "open house". Parents spend a great deal of time and effort remodelling or fixing up parts their homes ("You're leaving for college in a few months, so we're going to re-do the kitchen and put down some new carpet."), and then after graduation people go around from house to house dropping off cards with money and having food forced on them. In my never ending quest for nonconformity, I had an open garage. The streamers and balloons were probably excessive, and there was definitely too much food for the trickle of people that actually showed up at mine, but my relatives seem to live by the rule that if anything's worth doing, it's worth over doing.

I got some very cool gifts - a chess set my dad cut out on the scroll saw, along with a board/box with drawers for the pieces, which must've taken a *lot* of time (I should post a picture), a heavy duty quilt my mom made from old jeans and flannel shirts (it was laid out on the floor a few feet from my computer for like a week, and I didn't notice it), and a fat Cuban cigar from my Aunt, which must've taken me better than an hour to smoke. ("*cough* this is probably the best *cough* cigar I've ever *cough* smoked, but it's impossible to puff without *cough* inhaling..." Started to enjoy it quite a bit by the time it was almost gone, anyway.)

And then off to the party, such as it was...

A piece of advice for future graduating classes: Figure out where you're going to have your senior party *before* you graduate. Preferably weeks before. Do not change this location four times within the space of an hour. And try to avoid having sporting events scheduled for the next day.

I staggered home about 9:30 yesterday morning, in time to tell my grandparents goodbye, and go to sleep. Which pretty much brings things up to the present.

Now what?
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