Saturday, December 16, 2006

The Final Final Exam

Yesterday marked the day of my last final exam. And I felt exhausted. I'm doing a bit better today though. Of course thats mainly due to about 11 hours of sleep. It's amazing how a little sleep can make the world seem not quite so daunting.

Anyway, back to my lamentations about finals week. It actually wasn't that bad. I only had 3 finals to complete and only one per day. So I had my Operating Systems final on Monday at 9:30-11:30 PM. Followed by a two day break until my next final, Introduction to Physics on Thursday. What really made that one a pain was that it started at 8:00 am. Which meant that I had to get up an hour earlier than usual. And since I was already having trouble getting up at the appointed time for my 9:00 am classes that was a real chore. In fact I ended up being a little late anyway. But it was fine the test itself took less than an hour to finish and I had two hours allotted. And with only one day left my last final was on Friday and it started at 10:00 am. Which was especially nice because it gave me a chance to read the last chapter the final was on. The other chapter I finished the previous day. Despite the last minute studying I did well enough and got 17 out of 20 correct.

All in all I've passed all my classes. Of course I could have told you that last week. Even if I had completely skipped out on my finals I would have passed. My passing grade wouldn't have been as nice but I would have passed.

Anyway, I guess the point I was trying to eventually get to was that school is done for the semester. I have passed all my classes, but school isn't over. In another 3 weeks the cycle will start all over again. I have to figure out what classes to take. I need to take some classes but not too many that I overload myself. I've already picked out two, Graphics Programming and Dynamic Web Development. I should pick out a third but I don't want to pick from the ones I should take. At some point I have to take Biology and Advanced English and then I have to choose one of the Social Sciences. Blah. I'll probably end up taking one I just don't want to right now.

Monday, December 11, 2006


I just found a rather interesting web browers called Flock. It seems unique in that it has built in functions for several web services. Such as photobucket or flicker. Neither of which I have. But I do have blogger and supposedly I can use Flock to post to blogger. And it actually works pretty well. It seems pretty slick and I'll have to play around with it to see what other cool things it can do.
What really impressed me right away was the fact that it was very straight forward to import my bookmarks. In fact the first thing it did when I started it. Which it did quite well, it even seems to have imported my browsing history.
Overall the interface seems really quite smooth. And since it is based on firefox it looks like it can do pretty much anything firefox can too.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Turkey Day

Gobble gobble gobble! All those poor turkeys fit to be stuffed. Frozen, bathed, brined, baked or fried. Whatever the fate, they'll all end up ate. But that's ok with me. I'm thankful that a turkey gave it's life so I could partake of it. I'm also thankful for the cranberries, potatoes, pumpkins, peas, onions, bananas, wheat, celery and such that have sacrificed themselves for the occasion. And of course the thousands of people who helped bring it all together: the farmers, the truck drivers, gas station attendants, quality assurance people, people working at the canneries and meat processing plants and so forth. Oh yes and the people who deliver our propane, because without them we'd have to eat everything raw and that's not Good Eats.

With all that there is to be thankful for it seem's somewhat shameful to bring up the next topic, my Christmas Wishlist. Someone very dear to me requested that I update it for this holiday season and so it was my honor to do such. I must say though, it is always surprising how difficult this particular task is. It would seem easy. After all, there are many many things to be desired. I can walk into a store and see dozens of things that I would like. But, I don't necessarily get them. This is because they really aren't all that valueable to me. I desire a lot of things that I don't get. Even though I could get pretty much anything, I only get the things that I really want. So when it comes down to it I have to find things that I would buy for myself, that I haven't yet bought. And as I said before I can pretty much afford everything that I really want. Well everything that I want that is within the budget of anyone I know anyway.

There is more to it than just having trouble finding items that I want that I haven't got. It also seem to fit the spirit of the holiday season. I mean here it is Thanksgiving. I'm supposed to be thinking of all the things I have to be thankful for. And there are many things. But in order to update my wishlist I have to look at all the stuff I haven't got. Try to think of things that I don't have. It just seems greedy. And this is the season of giving. I want to figure out what I can get for other people. The ironic part of this is that it I want to give really good gifts too. So I end up inflicting this task on everyone I care about. This is also why it makes it bearable. I can take heart in the fact that I am providing a service that I would appreciate myself. So I make my list knowing that by doing so I'll make life for my family and friends easier and happier.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

New Hard Drive

My Powerbook G4 Earlier this week I purchased a replacement 2.5 inch hard drive for my Powerbook G4 and it arrived this Friday. I'm very pleased to have it. Although I didn't have to wait long, newegg really has excellent shipping in my experience.

The original 40gb drive that came in the Powerbook started failing in the spring and I bought Diskwarrior to rebuild the directory structure and that fixed everything till about 2 weeks ago when it failed to book again. I let Diskwarrior do it's thing but the directory tree was so damaged that the system remained unbootable. I could have just reinstalled Mac OS X on it then but I knew the problem was with the hard drive so I decided it was a much better idea to replace it completely than risk having it crash at an inopportune time.

In any case I got myself a brand new 100 GB 7200 RPM Hitachi Travelstar 2.5 inch hard drive. I could have just sent it in to be replaced but that would have been more expensive and less fun. I've always wanted to take apart my Powerbook. But a couple things have stopped me. One I didn't have the tool, a T8 Torx, I bought that at sears for $3. And second its a lot easier to damage a laptop, or loose a screw and much more expensive to replace than a desktop system.

Anyway, since my Powerbook G4 isn't worth as much as it once was. It's an 800mhz with 512 mb of ram, originally 40 GB hard drive, airport card and 15 inch screen. And that should be about $600 but it's been dropped so the case is warped and the latch doesn't quite work and the paint is chipped. It's what you might call battle scarred. So I might not even get that much. So with that in mind I wasn't risking a whole lot and with the added benefit if I completely botched the job I could get a new MacBook!

PowerBook G4 BatterySo it was with much nervous excitement I turned my Powerbook over and removed the battery from the case. (The next upgrade I'll get will probably be a better battery.)

That step was simple enough to complete and with the battery out of the way I was ready to remove the screws.Bottom Side of Power Book G4I weilded my brand new Torx T8 and took them all out one by one taping them to a sticky note and labeling them so I would remember where they went. I even made sure to lay them out on the sticky note so I could put them back in the exact same hole that I removed them from. As you can see there were 7 screws in all most of them towards the back where the screen is attached. Some of them had some of that blue goo that is used to keep them from wiggling out so they were a bit harder to get started.

Screws from Bottom of PowerBook G4

With the screws out of the way I was a bit worried about removing the case bottom itself. But it came off very easily. It doesn't come off straight up. There are little groves in the side so you have to slide it forward towards the battery compartment.
Ah finally, I'm actually inside the case. Look at all those chips and resistors a lot of green and there in the center the object of my quest the failing hard drive.

The T8 Torx I have is a bit long so I wasn't sure how it would work on removing the 2 screws holding the harddrive in place that are accessible to through the battery bay. The angle wasn't a problem and I soon had them taped to there own sticky pad as well.

Hard Drive inside Powerbook G4Oh I guess I actually disconnected the little cable connecting the hard drive to the motherboard first. Otherwise I would not have been able to carefully lever out the old drive to make space for the new. The old drive had two rubber grommets on the left side, a plastic shield and the cable that all had to be removed so they could be attatched to the new drive. Which I did. Getting the new drive in the space for it was a little tricky just getting things to line up and slide in, but once it was in it was easy enough to replace the screws.

The tricky part was getting the case bottom back on. It actually slid in place fairly easy and I got all the screws in. And when I turned it on everything looked great! So I reinstalled Mac OS X 10.4 and downloaded the updates but then I noticed that if I moved windows around it would leave little scattered pixels and other garbage all over the screen! This was very bad. I figured that I must not have the case bottom on quite right because there was a little crack along the back. So I opened it up again and the only thing that I could see was the case was a bit warped so it wasn't fitting quite right. So I tilted it up on it's side so I could put some lite pressure on the right hinge and screw it into place. And luckily for me it worked. The crack dissapeareda nd I've been using my laptop since friday with no more screen jitters!

Well overall I'm very pleased. I haven't had much of a chance to test how much faster this drive is but it seems to work well enough. Although it seems to make more noise, but that might be because I'm not used to it's noises.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Phantom Clutch Syndrome

It has been a little less than a week since I returned from my excursion to the North East. I spent a little more than a week there and already it seems like it was so long ago. I left July 24, Pioneer Day here in Utah, and so I missed the fireworks but family is more important. Although family and fireworks together, that is even better. And I returned Aug 1st.

I spent a good chunk of my time with my sister in Portland, ME and almost a whole day with my Grandmother who is visiting up in ME. I think I spent the most time with my younger brother. We drove to Laconia, NH on the 26h and returned on the 29th. On are way back to Lewiston we had dinner with my older sister and the Sebago Brewing Company which was quite nice. Then on my last full day in ME I spent the day with my Mom and younger sister, which was also good.

Then on my last day I got to finally spend some real time with my older sister. I don't remember the name of the island, but we drove out to it and walked around the edge and spent at least an hour making fairy houses. Yes that's right, fairy houses. There were quite a few impressive ones already there and hundreds of other ones, but we added ours just the same. I would certainly have some pictures to post but I never got them from my sister.

In any case, I did quite a lot of driving over the week I was in Maine. And because my Brother, Sister and Mother all have stick-shifts, I got to get some practice in. My truck is an automatic, my Dad's vehichle is also an automatic, but since most of the rest of my family drive manual it is nice that I can still do it and only stall a little tiny bit.

Back to my main point, I spent probably at 10 hours behind the wheel of a manual and maybe closer to 12. I really didn't keep a precise log. I sampled three different vehichles, although mainly just my sister's and my brother's. I think I drove less than 30 minutes in my Mom's car. My brothers was the most interesting to drive as it had a clutch that you really had to push and manual steering so it was almost a work out. I'm sure if I drove it for any length of time the muscles in my left leg would start bulking up. And again my point in all of this is when I got back to Utah I discovered I had Phantom Clutch Syndrome!

Yes, Phantom Clutch Syndrome, or PCS is much like Phantom Limb Syndrome. It feels like you still have a limb when it is actually gone, it has been amputated. I first experienced PCS when I got into my Dad's vehichle the MMV. I put my foot down to engage the clutch and nothing was there! It really isn't as exciting as my narrative suggests. When my foot reached for nothing my brain clicked and switched back over into automatic driving mode.

I guess what was surprising that I had gotten used to expecting a clutch. What was even more surprising was for the next few times I started driving my foot still looked for the clutch. I'm pretty much over it though. I've reverted to my lazy left leg ways but I'm sure the next time I visit my family I'll get to do it all over again.

So some of you might be wondering, why if I spent a whole week visiting my family in ME that I spent the majority of it writing about PCS. I mean surely I had some great times with my siblings, relatives and Mom. And I did, but I wouldn't feel right just going into great depth about them and just giving a bare factual account doesn't seem quite right either.

I mean yes, I went with my sister and my mom to Taber's golf course and after that we got ice cream at Dairy Joy. My sister and I both got black raspberry and vanilla chocolate dipped cones and my mom got a parfait and after that we went to see Monster House at flagship cinema's and then spent an hour at Good Will buying some clothes, a suitcase and a Twin Brownie camera before going to a movie liquidation store and buying some movies. Then of course we all met up at Margarita's, a mexican restaurant across from the Lewiston Mall and had dinner. And that isn't bad description but it isn't great either. It means something to me because I can remember all the things I haven't said but it seems to be pretty much empty facts to anyone who wasn't there.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Christmas in July... err August!

Screamin Serpent, Calculator, Dragon Belt buckleYay, I just got Christmas presents! I'm not sure what is from who because they weren't really labeled. But I think they are both from my brother and sister and thats the best part of all knowing that they were thinking of me.

I know the Screamin Serpent roller coaster is from Ezra and the ancient TI Business Analyst - II calculator.
There is a dragon belt buckle that was wrapped in at least 3 layers of wrapping paper, but no label.
I also got two glow in the dark horns. Which are cool because the glow in the dark.

Duckman, k'nex motor, two glow in the dark horns, devon & cornwallProbably the most amusing thing is the rolling Devon and Cornwall from the movie Quest for Camelot. As a way of explanation, there is stuffed animal that was passed back and forth several times that spouted out phrases, "My name is Devon his name is Cornwall" and "Let's Barbecue this buddy."
As for the Daffy Duck figurine in a duckman costume, I have no clue to its significance.
Anyway I'm really glad to finally have my Christmas presents and now I can look forward to what I might be getting next year! Or I can just build a super roller coaster, if I ever manage to find any time.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

July Post

Since this is my first post in July and it will most likely be my last post in July and I have a couple different topics to cover I thought I would call this my July post. And with this completely useless paragraph out of the way I'll continue with the interesting stuff.

A Surprise Visitor

A very strange thing happened today. I went to church (no... That's not the unusual part) and there was someone there who doesn't normally come to our branch. Can you guess what who it was? Of course it might help if you were familiar with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (aka 'The Mormon Church').

Give Up?

Well it was the Prophet, Gordon B. Hinckley. This was a very surprising thing for me and I felt a little foolish for not knowing about it earlier till I found out that most everybody else didn't know about it until they arrived and only a few people had any advanced warning. I actually found out when a whole bunch of the young men from the other ward were milling about trying to get a glance inside the chapel. Some of you may be wondering what is the big deal, so to put it in perspective it would be akin to the Pope showing up or maybe the President of the USA sitting in and observing your town council.

On the surface it really was just another day at church but then again it wasn't. He didn't speak at all. He just sat at listened to the people who were already assigned to give talks and listen to the singing. I do have to say I don't think I've ever heard such enthusiastic singing though.

I know I couldn't help but think about it. I kept wondering why he was there and if he was going to speak. I've only seen him speak once before and that was before a huge audience in Portland, ME. Also I couldn't help but wonder if he was there because of me. I know that its somewhat vain and egotistical to think that, but I thought it just the same. Last week I was told that I was to be released as primary teacher because they've been getting rid of all male primary teachers and I couldn't help thinking that I might be the last, but no nothing special. I wasn't even released today despite being told that I would.

When I first got to church I noticed that to parking spaces had been blocked with cones and a car had parked in between them and I thought to myself, "How Rude." I thought that some person had just snuck inbetween the cones to get a better spot, but after I realized Gordon B. Hinckley was there I knew it was his car and I felt really foolish for thinking that. It really is better not to judge, especially when you don't have the full story. Anyway it was definitely a surprise.

More Movies

Other than spending most of my time working or in school I spend in front of the TV and most of the TV I watch isn't worth writing about. Or I'd rather not write about I figure I can write about some of the movies I have seen. After all for those you who know me and care, you can see these movies too and imagine you are spending time with me. I know its a shoddy substitute.

Yesterday I went and saw Disney's The Wild, which is in many respects a copycat of the movie Madagascar. This really isn't surprising since Disney has done this before, but whatever the case it was actually a fairly amusing movie, although it was short. Much like Madagascar it is about some city zoo animals who escape from the zoo to stop a friend from going to/getting taken to the 'wild.' There is some action in the city, they get a boat and cross the ocean, they muck around with the dangers of the untamed jungle and unlike Madagascar they return home. In a way I actually liked this better, the animations were a little more realistic although they still seemed more like stuffed animals than living ones. Some of the jokes actually made me laugh. Like Madagascar the whole ridiculousness of the notion was a too much to suspend disbelief. For instance how did they survive the ocean voyage without food. At least the lion cub, Mason, who was trapped in a crate and not found at all should have been to weak to move after probably a week of no food or water.

Moving on last week I saw Howl's Moving Castle by Director Hayao Miyazaki and based on Dianna Wynne Jones' book of the same name. I would thoroughly recommend this to anyone who enjoys movies that I like to see. In my opinion Dianna Wynne Jones is an excellent fantasy author and puts books like the Harry Potter series to shame. Her stories are clever and engaging and after seeing the movie I was aching to read more of her stories. I've read the first couple Harry Potter stories and while they are interesting they've never really made me want to read more. And while I saw the last movie to come out it never made me wish to read the book it was based on. To clarify Howl's Moving Castle is an awesome piece of work in its own right and doesn't need the book to fill in things. It just reminded me of how much I've enjoyed reading some of Dianna Wynne Jones work.

I've Also see Superman Returns, which I really don't have much to say about. It was pretty good but it didn't exactly enthrall me. Of course I've never been a huge Superman fan to begin with. The one thing that really confused me though was why did he crash into the ground in a meteor when he returned? Was it so his mother could find him again like some warped present? I don't know. The only other comment is they had way too much money to spend on the opening credits. Way too much.

One Red Paperclip

I just found this site the other day and I think it is really cool. The concept itself is really quite amusing and the fact that it was actually pulled off is really quite cool. Basically Kyle MacDonald took one red paperclip and through a succession of several trades has obtained a house. A real house and a pretty decent one too.

Now you might be thinking, well that's crazy, that isn't fair, I want to trade a house for a red paper clip. Well that's just ridiculous, you probably don't even have a red paperclip to trade. But that isn't the point at all, at least not for me.

The really important thing to take away from this is that anything is possible. Kyle put forth his plan and he followed through with it. He worked at it and eventually succeeded. That doesn't mean that if you want something you should do what he did, but that if you put yourself into it you can succeed. Just looking at some of his blogs he has inspired a couple spin-off ideas already. The person who got the fishpen (one of the trades) wants to send it around the world and use it as an encouragement to have people give to charities. It's started the KISS Snowglobe Army because Corbin Bernsen wants to be the greatest Snowglobe collector in the world.

It is just very inspiring. You can accomplish so much with so little if you are just willing to put the effort into it. I know I could do all sorts of awesome things if I ever actually cared to.

Wisdom Teeth

Well I went to the dentist a month or so ago to get my teeth checked and then I got some cavities filled and they convinced me that I should remove my wisdom teeth. So a couple weeks ago I had both of my wisdom teeth on my left side pulled.
Having them pulled was quite the unpleasant experience. Although I'm sure it was the right thing, after all my lower one was pretty much at a 45 degree angle pushing into the other teeth and the upper one just kept on coming down.

The upper one came out pretty quick and while unpleasant wasn't particularly annoying or frustrating. The lower one, the one at an angle, that was the tricky one. He had to cut off part of it, take two extra X-rays and spend was seemed like hours tugging and pulling on it. By the time it actually start to come out the anesthesia was wearing off so it was painful too. Not to painful or I would have had them stop but a nice unpleasant feeling in my jaw. I still have them both and I might take a picture and try and post them.

After it was over, they gave me instructions on what to do and a prescription for Tylenol-3 (which has codeine) which I never filled. So after the initial anesthesia I never took any pain killers. Hooray for me, although I never really felt the need to. It actually never hurt that much, except with I took to poking it. I didn't want to eat or talk at all for the first day and very little afterward for a while. The talking isn't too surprising I don't do too much of that anyway but I do like to eat.

The reason I didn't want to talk or speak was because while I was at the dentist I was warned that I wasn't careful the blood clots forming in the cavities might fall out and I'd get what is called dry socket which is supposed to be incredibly painful. Other than I was perfectly fine, so for the most part I was perfectly miserable. I watched the two sequels to Anne of Green Gables and read the Mutineer's Moon trilogy by David Weber and watched way too much tv in general cause I didn't feel like doing much else.

I'm doing much better now, I can eat pretty much anything without worrying and I can brush ok and I've started flossing again because I can open my mouth wide enough to do so. I feel much better about the thing in general but I still feel a bit betrayed.

I know it is silly but, I sort of went in with the idea that they'd just go in and yank them out quick. But no I had oral surgery. I even got to sutures. They sewed together the bottom gums because the space where the angled tooth was so big. Why would the difference between having oral surgery and having two teeth pulled by so different? That is a hard question to answer, but basically it comes done to the fact that I'm not to fond of doctors and I its hard to explain. I'm not really sure I can, of course part of it is the loss. I've lost a part of my body that I'll never have again and that is sad, even if it is better this way. Just like cutting off a frostbitten toe so you don't get gangrene and lose your entire leg. Not quite as dramatic but it is there anyawy.

Monday, June 19, 2006

5 Mini Movie Reviews

Well It's been a while so I thought I'd post some mini-reviews on some movies I've seen lately. So with out further preamble.

The Man Who Fell to Earth

I was really disappointed with this movie. The premise seems promising enough, alien falls to earth, gets stranded, uses advanced technology to create a huge company to fund a project to build a spaceship home. That has great potential. Unfortunately it doesn't really live up to it. It falls very short. It has one or two interesting moments but overall its hard to follow and blah.

Anyway I think the whole movie is best summed up by Richard Scheib who wrote, "The Man Who Fell to Earth could almost be a version of E.T. where instead of returning home E.T. just gives up, becomes disillusioned and turns into a wasted lush." And while that's pretty accurate it makes the movie sound a lot more entertaining that it really is. I wouldn't recommend it, with so many other movies I'm sure you can find something better.

The Man Who Fell to Earth on IMDB


Now this was an enjoyable movie. It is a bit strange and I'm probably a bit biased. I listened to the music some with my brother before I ever watched the movie. Some of the music is really awesome. The characters are interesting and it has a pretty decent message too.

I'm really not sure how to sum it up very well. The movie is really more character based than plot based. But basically a independent film uh... person makes a documentary about his life for one year.
In any case, if you like musicals, RENT is an enjoyable movie, go ahead watch it or not.

Rent on the IMDB

X-Men: The Last Stand

This is a new movie and based on the last two you would expect it to be really good. And in a way it was, it confused me at first. I left having enjoyed it but feeling vaguely disappointed. I really had to read a couple different reviews to figure why it didn't seem like a good movie. The thing is its got lots of good elements, cool characters with various powers, impressive special effects, a decent premise. Of course part of the problem is too many characters, you barely have time enough to really care at all what happens to them and others just seem to disappear. Basically just to much going on so why it was interesting it wasn't terribly engaging. There are much better reviews that go into more depths around but my advice is go ahead and watch it for special effects just don't expect much in the way of character development.

X-Men: The Last Stand on the IMDB

The Shaggy Dog (2006)

It really is amusing that in some ways I liked this movie more than the X-Men one. Mainly this is because I went in expecting it to be fairly corny and stupid. So when it turned out to be so that was Ok. Also I was pleased that they seemed to be able to put a few new ideas, the changing was a genetic mutagen or something and he could turn back by meditating. But in retrospect the movie was pretty juvenile and as it is a rehash of something that his done before. So if your not expecting anything classy and are amused by someone running around and making an utter fool of himself by acting like a dog you might get a few laughs.

The Shaggy Dog on the IMDB

Doctor Zhivago

This movie is not really something I would normally watch. But just because of that doesn't mean I didn't enjoy it. Although enjoy is a rather strong word, more of entertained or intrigued. The tale itself is rather bleak at moments. And understandably so considering the material it covers. Some of the cinematography was really well done and the acting was very good. If X-Men had no character development this had more than enough to make up for it. It is a really long move and while it does go places and has a plot it left me wanting more resolution. Still I think if you have a few hours available instead of watching one of The Extended Lord of the Rings you could watch this and expand your horizons.

Doctor Zhivago on the IMDB

In closing I would probably rank them in this order.
1 Rent
2 Doctor Zhivago
3 X-Men
4 The Shaggy Dog
7 The Man Who Fell to Earth

Yes I did skip 5 and 6 but I'm sure I could easily find two more movies much much better. In any case have fun and such.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Valentine's Day

If I but had a sweet heart I probably would not be writing this post at all. Instead I'd probably be showering her with gifts of chocolate and flowers. No diamonds though, don't quite have that income yet.

But alas and alack, I do not have a sweet heart and so cannot celebrate this somewhat commercialized holiday to it's fullest.

Sorry to be a bit down but its a little bit hard when there is a holiday that you'd like to participate in but you don't qualify. In any case, maybe next year.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Oh No!

I think that I really scared everybody off. Nobody will comment now for fear that i'll pick them apart. Oh it is very sad.

Anyway, it's a new year, many people have made new year resolutions. I have not made any, I have too much to do to worry about silly resolutions. I'm constantly trying to make myself better. Often I fail but every now and then I succeed in some small way and eventually with all the cumulative effect I might eventually do something really interesting.