Thursday, October 30, 2008

Other: Fallout 3 Report to Brad

I just sat down to install Fallout 3 and it installed, but it won't start because it "can't initialize renderer." I assume because I have a crappy embedded graphics card that's not on the supported chipset list.


Oh, wait, that was the super cheap PCI card that I had bought because at the time FreeBSD didn't have drivers for the on-board one.

fiddles with BIOS settings...

Windows is giving me the finger now. "Bitch, you told me a long time ago not to use that display adapter!" It was showing just a little too much loyalty to the old one there, no matter how many times I tried changing the Display settings and/or rebooted, until I just out-and-out disabled the crappy adapter. Geez.

Yay! It likes the other card! Of course, when it auto-detects to set the video options, it goes for "Low Quality." *cough* But it starts! Um, scratch that. It gets farther than before, then crashes. Crap.

And Bethesda doesn't have any patches up, yet.

ETA: I think it's because while the chipset of the on-board card is supported, it only has 128Mb of RAM (and it uses system RAM :P). I may have to cave and get a decent card.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Other: Worshipping at the Porcelain Shrine of George W. Bush

In San Francisco, more than 11,000 people signed a petition to add a ballot measure called the George Bush Sewage Plant Initiative. If passed, Proposition R would rename a city sewage plant "the George W. Bush Sewage Plant."

According to one of the measure's sponsors, passing the measure would turn "every toilet in San Francisco into basically a shrine for George W. Bush and all his great achievements in his eight years as our commander in chief."

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Other: ZOMG ZOMG ZOMG It's Fallout 3 Day!

After a wait of 10 years since Fallout 2, (I don't count the Fallout: Tactics spin-off line), and various software company failures, it's finally here! Fallout 3!

So why haven't I rushed out to Fry's to buy it? Um, I'm lazy.

And I'm not even going to tell you how many hours I spent on the first 2 installments, but you can thank Brad for my addiction. Or curse him.

Knittin' Crap: Joe the Bear


With yarn made in Armenian-neutral Italy.

Pattern from Kyuuto! Japanese Crafts Amigurumi by Tomoko Takamori

Friday, October 24, 2008

Pandora's Litter Box: At Least I'm a Benign Loony

Unlike some people.

The SPCA of Los Angeles has put a moratorium on black cat adoptions until November 1.

So, in honor of all the black cats out there and in memory of Grim:

Cat pattern from Cute Little Animals by Amy Gaines

Other: Looking Like a Loony in Cost Plus

Last night I went into the local Cost Plus to get some fancy hot cocoa to send off to random people. I was wandering around and came across.... this:


I burst out in cackling laughter right there and then.

See, I grew up watching the original Star Trek in syndication. This was before the excessively-politically-correct Star Trek: The New Generation, and started even before the movies. Captain Kirk was my hero. I saw every single film in the theater until they moved to the ST:TNG cast.

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan is one of my all-time comfort movies. During the last two difficult months, I've watched through the boxed set of the original three seasons. Ah... Then I watched the animated series, which I hadn't seen since I was very young and it was still in syndication in the 70s. The other day I watched Star Trek: The Slow Motion Picture. You can actually hit the fast forward button for about half the film and not miss any dialogue or even plot. Because I'm not sure there is a plot.

So, back to the Pez Star Trek Gift Set. Well, yeah, I had to buy one.

P.S. While looking it up on the Pez web site, I noticed on their front page that they had been selling GOP elephant and Democrat donkey plush Pez dispenser keychains. Apparently the donkeys have sold so much better than the elephant that they've had to put the elephants on sale. Now, you could interpret these results as some kind of strange poll, but maybe Republicans just don't do plushy keychains that dispense Pez. And maybe that says something. What, exactly, I'm not sure.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Metro Journal: October 14 Flattery Will Get You Nowhere

I got on the 207 at Western and Hollywood. As I was stepping on, this guy behind tells me he's in love with me. This is generally not a good way to start a conversation with me when you are a complete and total stranger, as "stranger" starts to take on multiple meanings. I gave my polite-but-dismissive smile-and-nod and got on the bus.

Of course, he sat next to me. And then proceeded to try to put the mack on me. I quickly wanted to put a Mack Truck on him.
Him: Will you hang out with me?
Me: Um, no, I need to go work.
Him: You?! You don't work! Hey, give me your phone number.
Me: Um, no.
Him: Can I give you mine?
Me: Um, no.
Him: What, you don't like me?
Me: Um, I am not going to spend the day with you and I am not going to give you my phone number.
Him: Aw, come on! Come over to my apartment!
Me: Um, no.
Him: Come on! I'll clean it for you! Want me to clean it first?
Me: Sure, you can clean your apartment, but I'm not coming over.
Him: Why not?
Me: Um, I don't know you.
Him: Get to know me!
Me: Um, no, I don't think so.
Him: You are the most beautiful white girl I've ever seen.
Me: Um, ok...
Him: I got on the bus just to be with you! Why don't you like me? Am I doing something wrong? What am I doing wrong?
Fortunately, the longest mile-long bus ride was finally over.

I was sitting there wondering, does this work??? On anyone? Do I look that desperate/easy/stupid? Do I look like I'm turned on by people who reek of cigarette smoke?

I got off, and thank whatever deities watch over bus riders, but he stayed on the bus. If he hadn't, I would have been calling someone. Someone large. Or gotten really mean.

That morning was our weekly group meeting. We tend to get radically off-topic, which in this case was welcome because the work situation which has been threatening to make me physically ill has not much improved and I am sick of hearing my co-workers bitch about it non-stop. I forget how we meandered there (I was semi-tuned out, in case I needed to wander off to Planet Karen when someone started complaining again), but I ended up mentioning how someone on the bus had been hitting on me in a rather unwelcome fashion. When I said the guy had told me I was "the most beautiful white girl" he'd ever seen, Bob says, "Yeah, and I just got off the boat from Zimbabwe."

This, after I'd given him this monkey the day before:

(He's been extremely stressed about the situation, too. With his diet of cheeseburgers, I fear he will have a heart attack. Someone two floors down actually did have a heart attack on the lot about two months ago and supposedly required bypass surgery.)

Yeah, Bob, you're going down for that one.

Joe-the-Bear, protector of women (in a way that manages not to offend the self-sufficient feminist in me), said he wished he could ride the bus with me to make guys like that back off. I pointed out that I had survived without baring my fangs.

(Joe's been really stressed, too (no one in the group hasn't, really), and after I gave Bob the retroactively ill-deserved monkey, Joe said I should make him a bear. "No, no, just kidding, you don't need to make me anything." (See this entry on why Joe is Joe the Bear. Well, ok, there the picture is labeled "Bob's Big Boy" for reasons I won't get into, but we call Joe "Joe the Bear" because he's a big guy.) (Ok, I've lost track of how many open parentheses I have.) The thing is, I had already planned to make Joe a teddy bear. I even had the yarn for it. I had planned to give them all these things for Christmas, but, well, because people needed pick-me-ups, the schedule got accelerated.

(Joe's Armenian, so I thought I'd make the bear in the Armenian flag colors of red, gold, and royal blue. I found a yarn that had the right fiber content, felt soft and that it would be easy on the hands doing the tight crochet tension necessary, and came in the perfect colors. That night I sat down to start the bear. I was looking at the label to see the recommended crochet hook size, when I see that... I can't use this yarn. It was made in Turkey. Why would that matter? Well, just read about the Armenian Genocide. Yeah, crap. I'm in a self-imposed yarn-buying moratorium as my stash overfloweth, but I had to order more yarn, trying to guess by the monitor which suitable yarns came in the right colors.)

That evening, I got on the 780 at the Vine Red Line station. As soon as we pulled away, some guy started yelling from the back, saying he wanted the next stop because he wanted to get off now. Ok. He started getting kind of ornery about it and walked up to the driver, in front of the yellow line, yelling (which is the only reason I heard him as I was pretty far back) that he wanted off and that the driver couldn't keep him on. I'm pretty sure the driver really wanted him off, too, but the next stop wasn't until Western, which is about a mile from Vine, so he had to wait. He was ranting and raving the whole time. I'm pretty sure that besides himself (and the driver), there were plenty more people who wanted him off the bus.

This is all making you really want to ride the bus in Hollywood, isn't it?

Monkey pattern from Creepy Cute Crochet by Christen Haden

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Knittin' Crap: Belated Pics

Here are pics of the Japanese crochet books I got.
Yes, this book's English title is Ami Groovy World!

And here's the safety eye bonanza!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Knittin' Crap: Progress Bar Fun

Yesterday, after wasting a couple hours by making things harder than they needed to be, I got Ravelry progress bars to work on my blog! See them over there in the sidebar! Of course, the length of the list just shows my works in progress (WIP) attention-deficit disorder (ADD), and it's just going to get worse as I put more Christmas gifts into the rotation, as I think at least half of them this year will be handmade.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Knittin' Crap: Amigurumi Groovy Fun Fun Fun!

So here's the story of why I wanted to visit the Japanese bookstore, as mentioned in today's Metro Journal post.

There are apparently some amazing and unique Japanese knitting stitch books, and the beauty of such things is that the stitches are graphed. So as long as one has the key to the graph, one does not really need to read kanji or hiragana or katakana (not that I can tell the difference). And isn't it nice of them to use Arabic numerals?

Anyways, as these books are moderately expensive imports, I wanted to see one in person before buying, so I finally got around to googling about them and came across this link, and I smacked myself on the forehead going, "You live 10 miles from Little Tokyo in Los Angeles, dumbass!"

So I went to Kinokuniya in Little Tokyo (see today's Metro Journal entry for the story of getting there). They had all kinds of wonderful amigurumi books, including a Hello Kitty one! (Sheesh, I paid much less than that site, but they have the most pictures of it.) In the basket. I also got a Japanese quilt magazine for my mother. It has a pull-out pattern, but I don't know enough about quilting to know if it's usable. It had some very pretty pictures, even if she can't use the patterns.

What I couldn't find were the knitting stitch books. Maybe they were out. I had forgotten to write down the ISBN numbers, but I will do that next time. I got enough to keep me busy. Following some of the amigurumi patterns will take guesswork, while others would require minor miracles. Most of the Hello Kitty looks vaguely straightforward, or will leave me at least knowing the kanji/katakana/whatever characters for body parts, but it's Hello Kitty or bust!

Metro Journal: A Good-Bad Day

For reasons I won't go into here, a situation at work has become intolerable. I had expected and needed, returning after my bereavement leave, to find the same absurd, but familiar, circus. Instead they added a fourth ring to it and threw the whole thing out of balance. So call this a mental health day, because not going to work was the only way I had a chance of keeping mine. (Pending some kind of resolution or accommodation, this very well may not be the last.)

I already had a doctor's appointment scheduled in Pasadena in the morning, so I decided I needed to shove myself out of my mopedom and, after the appointment, take the Gold Line into downtown Los Angeles to go to this big Japanese bookstore I'd been wanting to visit for a couple weeks. (See the soon-to-follow Knittin' Crap entry where I'll go into detail.)

I took the 780 in the opposite direction of work (yay!) into Pasadena. After my appointment, I walked up Lake (and I mean up, as in uphill) to the Gold Line station, which is situated between the two directions of the 210.

The past couple of weeks, the weather here has been Absurdly Hot, as in the 90s, if not hotter. Yesterday the high around here was about 90, after close to 100 the day before, but it dropped to the mid 70s today. If it hadn't, I would have postponed this adventure. So it was mid-morning, sunny but temperate, with a nice breeze.

The Gold Line was not very crowded at this hour, even going into downtown. A pair of Japanese tourists, complete with guide books and camera bags, sat across the aisle from me.

I rode to the end of the line, Union Station. I had looked oh-so-closely at the maps prior to leaving, but I still got turned around and went out the wrong end of the very long station. Fortunately, there was a map posted outside, so I went back in and walked all the way to the other end.

The walk to the Japanese mall looked... shorter... on my monitor.

View Larger Map

There were actually a lot of tourists around. There's an old firehouse I hadn't known about on Los Angeles St., which is open to the public, complete with cute couples taking each other's picture in the front.

I walked past City Hall (which was actually a block away from Los Angeles Street), the police headquarters, a couple of courthouses, and then I was there!

Unfortunately, the store had a huge selection of manga, which doesn't much interest me but is a magnet for a certain obnoxious brand of American geek.

Anyway, after spending forever there, I bought my books and then went to a curry place in the same mall. Yum.

I knew the 84/68 stopped right around that corner and then goes to within .25 miles of my home, but I couldn't remember exactly which corner. So I started walking around. I found the stop where the 68 becomes the 84 and actually could have gotten on the bus at that moment if I had been with it, but I wasn't, so I didn't, so I got to wait about 15 minutes. The stop was on the same block as City Hall, and right next to a closed off area, which seemed to be the roof for a subterranean structure; I'd guess parking. A small white cat with lots of light grey areas walked around some of the shrubbery and air-conditioner units. Strays tug at my heartstrings sometimes. This one had a slightly scuffed face, probably from living outside, and couldn't be more than a year old, if that. The cat walked around the shrubs and then went through the bars into the also-shrubby roof area, wandering (patrolling?) around.

The bus came. I got on and read most of the way. My stop was the end of the line.

I really needed this day.

Red Eye: Emergency Exit Row Blues

I flew back from Florida a week after I got there. I left at 7AM, the first flight out, not because I was that keen to escape or that enamored of early morning flights, but because it would have cost me about $150 for the privilege of getting another 90 minutes sleep.

There was no drama at the airport this time, although I wasn't flying the same airline I had in June, which, I might add, has still not sent any response to my complaint letter. (I'm talking about you, United Airlines.) Of course, I don't actually remember all that much because, hello, it was 6AM on a Sunday.

When I checked in, it let me pick my seats, and there wasn't much to choose from. However, for the long flight from Charlotte to Los Angeles, I noticed there was an aisle seat in an emergency exit row, but it was situated in the graphical display with a crapload of legroom. Boom! There I was.

Turns out the graphic was right. There were about 5' of legroom, and there was actually a seat in front under which to put my backpack, although I did have to get out of my seat to get to it. But at least that meant no dealing with the overhead bins.

The two seats next to me on my side of the aisle ended up being occupied by a pair of lovebirds. The woman looked.... high maintenance. Of course, I am rock-bottom-low maintenance, but even without comparing her to me, she was high maintenance. She was carrying a large, metallic silver leather handbag. As the flight attendant came to give us the "you are sitting in an emergency exit row" spiel, she told the woman she would have to put her bag under the seat (five feet) in front of her during take-off. She didn't take too kindly to that.
Flight attendant: It's just going to right there. No one can get to it.
Passenger: The person in the seat can touch it!
Finally, she gave in, saying it was "stupid."

All I can say is that it was a good thing there wasn't an emergency, because you know no one was going to get past her and out the exit until she had retrieved her handbag!

But at least I did have a crapload of legroom.