Month: March 2003

Loads of news

Lots of stuff happening this week. First off, there’s the good news, bad news, good news bit. Good news, Charlene got a promotion. She’ll now be a supervisor in her department. That means more responsibility, a chance to help shape the department, and of course more bucks.

Bad news, my car finally bit the bullet this week. She’s dead Jim. The rear axel totally snapped. It would cost about $800.00 to fix it, but there’s not guarantee that the other side woldn’t snap, or that the front axel (which is ready to go) wouldn’t snap…and even if it was fixed, I still wouldn’t feel comfortable on the highway with it.

The other good news is that I got a teaching position this week. I’ll be teaching an internet course about e-commerce and building websites at Centennial College.

Ryan and I are making some strong headway on the HeadsDown Internet Design League Management Tool. We should be done all of the development of it in another week or two, and then we can start just tweaking and modifying it.

I’m pretty exhausted right now. There’s just so much to do, not only at work, but also on the HeadsDown stuff…and then there will be the getting ready to teach stuff. Just so much stuff to do. So very little time.

The Animatrix has you

The Final Flight of the Osiris is now appearing in front of DreamCatcher (the new Stephen King/Lawrence Kasdan film in theatres now), it’s 9 minutes long, and amazing. I had free tickets on Wednesday night, and I was blown away. The CGI animation has improved in leaps and bounds since Final Fantasy, and with a traditional North American story, fused to the Japanimation sensibilities, this whole Animatrix project is turning out to be incredibly cool.

There’s a link to the 4:30 Animatrix trailer on whatisthematrix.com right now.

I’m working on the HeadsDown Content Management System right now. We’ve completed the Links, Calendar, and Content systems. I’m re-writing some of the colour stuff that Ryan created last week, and I’m implementing that into an elaborate templating system which will allow a site owner to change the template of their website. Next will be upgrading the login portion of the site so that you can have multiple users with multiple logins. This will enable me to create classes of users with permissions to update the content, stats, or templates of the site. I’m also going to tinker with the Headlines system to make it a little more robust. My final challenge for this part of the project is getting the image upload tool working. Apparently there’s a site permissions problem I’ve got to deal with first.

Peep this…very cool. Extreme MHz PC.

The war begins

So the first real war of the 21st century has begun. I don’t really know how to feel about it. I’m not for it, I don’t think that Saddam Husein is as big of a threat as the Americans seem to think he is. It’s very funny to listen to the American people re-iterate what was spoonfed to them down there. While we were in Vegas I had a few conversations with folks who were largely for the war, and thought that it was a great idea. Every time we talked though I brought up my Risk analogy, how they have troops in Bosnia, Afghanastan, Croatia, and they’ve got a fleet patrolling the Korean waters now too, not to mention their little army amassed in the Persian Gulf. When you thin your troops out that much, you end up losing some major ground.

I still think that China has committed greater crimes against humanity. I think that North Korea is a much larger threat. I think that the problems in the West Bank are way worse than those in Iraq. Hell, cut Iraq off totally (we don’t need the 2% of oil they supply North America that badly), and let Saddam’s regime starve itself out…you knew for the last 12 years that he was taking the money you were supplying his regime with to feed his people to instead arm his military…duh.

In the end though, even though I don’t think it’s the right decision, I’m impressed that a politician has actually DONE something. Something historic even (this is the first time in history that America has engaged in a pre-emptive strike on another country). Clinton’s administration was highlighted by a total lack of any forward momentum, sure he presided over the largest economic boom in modern history…but the same sort of boom happened when the industrial revolution happened (eventually this era will be known as the Information Revolution), but he didn’t do a damn thing. Much like our own illustrious leader Jean Chretian, who today has back-pedalled on his firm stance of yesterday saying that instead of us not supporting the Americans, we will support them by helping to secure the border, and will step up our efforts in Bosnia and Afghanastan. Yay Jean. Solid work old boy. You really stuck it to the Americans. What, did they threaten to take Survivor away from us?

Time will tell if Bush’s bold move was a good one, or a bad one. Let’s remember that Bush Sr. “liberated” Kuwait 12 years ago…and women still don’t have the right to vote in that beacon of democracy.

WinSuperSite has a Longhorn preview

WinSuperSite has a Longhorn preview

Longhorn is the new version of Windows which will not only sport a whole new 3D based UI, but will also use an entirely new file system dubbed WFS (Windows Future Storage). It is still a year or more away from being introduced, I would say we won’t see this until Summer 2004 at the earliest, but it’s an interesting view of the future.

BAH! Capitalism sucks!

This morning, I visited Corona’s Coming attractions, and I was greeted with this:

Eight years. That’s how long Corona’s Coming Attractions has been giving you the latest movie news and breaking exclusive scoops. We were the first website to focus on giving you the 411 about what Hollywood was making years before it would appear on a movie screen. [snippage…] And now I’m very happy to tell you about the latest chapter in Coming Attractions growth…

Beginning March 2003, Coming Attractions has partnered exclusively with Cinescape magazine, the #1 leading genre entertainment magazine, and their website to provide you with the latest and greatest entertainment news. [blah blah blah blah blah…]

In addition to providing you with more news from all areas of entertainment, Coming Attractions will also be the exclusive provider for Cinescape’s “Development Heck” listings of movies in all levels of production. [yadda yadda yadda]

Blech! First off Cinescape’s website absolutely SUCKS! It looks like it was designed by programmers. Second, the navigation SUCKS! Third you can’t find anything! I go there today, just wanting to read Patrick Saurol’s latest news (he’s the guy who ran Coming Attractions for ages)…it took me about a half dozen clicks to find them, and then they were at the bottom of another story, very nicely labelled as “Friday’s news, Thursday’s News, etc”, so I thought, jeez, I must just be dumb. I’ll click “movies” and then “news”…or should that be “features”, or…wait, what if I just want to see all of the latest news that was reported on Friday, where do I go? Why is this layout so sucky? I just want to find out what the latest news on some of the movies I’m bidding on HSX on. Where the hell is that info??? AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAUUUUUUUUGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!

Stupid stupid capitalism.

Oh, that reminds me, I just finished reading Michael Moore’s book “Stupid White Men”, it’s fantastic. Of course his views need to be taken with a huge grain of salt, but he’s got some interesting things to say, on the subject of war (this book was written two years ago, and he’s nailed what’s going on in the middle east pretty well), how to stop the bloodshed in Isreal, and how America needs to wake up and vote for Ralph Nader. It’s unfortunate that a third party representitve has never successfully gained an electoral college seat, because it would be really nice if Nader could get in charge and shake the country up a little. The USA spends 10x more on the military than they do on schools and the medical system combined! That’s insane.

Back from Vegas

We arrived back from Vegas late last night, and have spent most of today recuperating (I for one have been going through the internet with a fine toothed comb, catching up on a week’s worth of tech, comic, and wrestling related news). We ran out for groceries, and then saw Old School before picking up the guinea pig at the pig sitters.

But Vegas baby, Vegas. Man how I love that city of lights.

On Sunday, we left here at 7:00 in the morning, and braved a pretty bad snow storm on the way to the airport. At the airport we were told our 10:00am flight was delayed until 11:00. At 10:30 we boarded our plane, and were told that something on the plane was busted, and it was going to take an hour to fix it. An hour later we were told that we would need to go through de-icing before departure, and that would take another 20 minutes to make it to the de-icing bay. We finally took off around 12:30. The flight took 5 and a half hours, but we gained 3 hours (going from Eastern time to Western time), which meant we landed around 3:30. We got our luggage and started looking for our shuttle. Let me just say right now, no shuttle in the world is worth it! What a sucky experience that was, as literally dozens of cabs passed us, we waited as the perfectly blue, incredibly warm Vegas day passed us by. We eventually got our shuttle and arrived at our hotel, the Luxor, at about 5:30. By the time we checked in it was 6:00, and we were starving (since our bodies were telling us it was about 9:00 our time). We called our friends Karen and Craig, and went to the Rio for dinner.

First, our rooms, Karen and Craig were staying in the Luxor as well, and when we called them, they were just getting back to the hotel. They were staying on the 10th floor of the Pyramid, the same floor we stayed on, pretty much around the corner from us. The rooms were pretty nice, with a great big king sized bed, and a really nice bathroom. Our room had a great view of the Excalibur, and we could see the sun rise in the reflections off the towers.

At the Rio, we went to the buffet, which has a really cool concept. It’s kind of like a food court where you only pay once. They had a salad bar, Sushi, a stand with hamburgers, hot dogs, fries, and milk shakes, another stand with fish and various brown foods, a stand with your standard prime rib, corned beef, turkey, gravy, beans, potatoes, etc, a teppanaki grill, your standard “hot buffet line”, and a stand that had Mexican food. Then for dessert they had every type of cake and pie you can imagine. It was excellent. Back at our hotel, we decided we wanted a margarita, so we grabbed Margarita’s at Salsa, and went for a brief walk. We checked out New York, New York, the MGM Grand, and then headed back to our hotel when we found out the Monorail (that goes all the way to the Venetian) is under construction until 2004, so we played the slots in our hotel for a couple of hours.

Monday was just dumb. First off, we discovered that Sunday would probably be the best weather of the time we were there, and we missed 80% of it. It started raining Monday morning, and showered off and on all day. We walked all the way to the Ventian, which is a huge walk, and stopped in many of the shops along the way. I found an awesome place that hand rolled cigars (but I didn’t get any due to the whole “no kissing a cigar faced boy” rule that Charlene has…and who can blame her?). We also stopped in the Desert passage of the Alladin, which has an amazing rain storm every hour. We checked out the Gondola’s at the Venetian, and headed over to Ceasar’s and saw the moving statues, and then watched the fountain show at the Bellagio.

After all of that (with liberal amounts of shopping throughout), we headed back to the hotel for a break, stopping on the way for Coke floats at the Coke World store. After a brief break, we went to the restraunt in our hotel, and headed out to Freemont Street. On Freemont I got in one of a couple rounds of craps, and went up $50.00 in a few minutes. I took my winnings and ran the heck out of there. Sadly I went to Binions Horseshoe, where I lost $20.00, and then I went back to the Golden Nuggett, and won the $20.00 back. Overall, I was up on the night, and I had quite a few cocktails in the process. By that point though, we were totally exhausted, so we headed back to our hotel.

On Tuesday, Char and I rented a PT Cruiser and decided to go driving since it was pouring rain. We headed to the outlet mall, and bought some clothes and souveniers. After lunch, we headed out to the Hoover Dam, it was a really nice drive (despite the weather), and was good just to get off our feet. After seeing what we could of the Dam, we went to the Bellagio and saw the Andy Warhol exhibit. By that time it was around 8:00 local time, and we were starving, so we headed off to find a restaraunt. We found just what we were looking for in Paris and had an amazing steak dinner. Afterwards there were some buskers in the courtyard singing, so we stuck around and checked that out, before heading back to our hotel. After parking the car, we headed over to the Excalibur for some ice cream, and took it back to our room.

Wednesday morning we went for a drive down the strip and took some more pictures (including a great shot of the “Welcome to Las Vegas” sign). We went for breakfast at a place called Carrows, which Rich, Ryan and I had gone to pretty much every morning because it was: close, fast, cheap, friendly, and good. This time it was close relatively cheap, and good, but fast or friendly it was not. The waitresses were having some kind of feud, the manager had lost control, and it took almost an hour from the time we walked in until we walked out (and the eating portion of our meal took no more than ten minutes). We dropped the car off, and went over to Mandalay Bay to see Shark Reef. It was amazing. There are something like 100 sharks in there, a bunch of sea turtles, a ton of jellyfish, some manta rays, crocodiles, pirannah, and more. The coolest part was the petting pool where you could reach in and pet a manta ray. They just swam around, waiting for people to touch their backs. If you didn’t touch them, they’d hover near where you were waiting to be pet. They’re really squishy and soft feeling, but really cool. Next we headed back to the Alladin, where Charlene wanted to shop and I wanted to play Craps. I quickly went up about $75.00, but I learned a very valuable lesson…when you have rules, don’t freaking break them! My rules were, only bet on the pass or come lines. Always bet odds on 6 and 8, and don’t get greedy. When I was up with a nice little stack of chips, I started betting on six and eight, throwing money down on craps bets, tossing out a couple of hards…and it all vanished so quickly when the dice went cold. Had I just walked away, I would have been up a nice tidy sum.

That night we went for margaritas, before seeing the Blue Man Group in our hotel, what an amazing show. I don’t even know how to describe it. It’s interactive, intimate, and absolutely hilarious. They don’t say a word of dialogue, but it’s both incredibly funny, and incredibly smart. When we go to Chicago, we’re going to try to get tickets there too. It was the most expensive thing we did in Vegas, but by far the most fun.

Thursday morning we woke up, had some breakfast, and headed to the airport. Of course it was raining again, but our flight went well (it only took 3 and a half hours to return, plus of course the 3 hours we lose travelling from west to east, which meant we got home around 8:00 or so.

All in all, it was a blast of a trip, and I would love to go back again. I didn’t have one headache while in Vegas, but after a day back here my head has started to pound…stupid barometric pressure and various allergin’s!