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,
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
- 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
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
- 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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