I Push Buttons

Whether I'm coding, writing, playing games, or pissing people off, it all boils down to pushing buttons.

August 24, 2008

rand();

I can think of no coherent way to string all of this stuff together, so this post is just going to be a bunch of random factoids. Enjoy. Or don't; I'm not the boss of you.

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My little sister, Julie, who was in a severe car accident a little over three years ago, just started back at school full time again. She's been going through a lot of physical, speech, and occupational therapy over the years, and she's come a very long way. But there's still a long way to go. She's still in a wheelchair, and she has an assistant taking her to all her classes. She also still has trouble speaking, but if you're with her in person, you can generally understand what she's saying. This is a huge step forward for her, and a nice break for my mom, who has not left her side for those three years.

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I played in a $1 rebuy no limit hold'em tournament last night on a lark. A little under 500 people entered. I rebought immediately and then did the double add-on at the first break. I ended up playing this thing for over five hours. I came in 6th place and won $77. I lost when I went all in with KJ in the big blind over the top of a steal raise from the small blind, and the guy calls me with Ax. I hit my K on the flop, and he hits his ace on the river. I blame Barry Greenstein.

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We had our fantasy football draft on Friday night, and we went over to Carly and Eric's to hang out while the draft went on. Courtney and I are co-managing our team in an eight team league, so everyone ended up with a pretty strong team. We got Tom Brady in the first round, fourth pick. LaDanian Tomlinson, Adrian Peterson, and Randy Moss were the first three to go. Hopefully Brady's foot doesn't end up becoming an issue this season.

We totally screwed up our backup QB choice by picking one with the same bye week as Brady (Hasselbeck). (Hey, it's our first time playing fantasy football, give us a break.) We ended up trading him right after the draft for Jason Campbell. Then we saw Jason Campbell suck big time last night against Carolina and also learned that we're going to have to use him when they're playing the Cowboys in Dallas. We dropped him, and are hoping to pick up Jake Delhomme, who will be playing Atlanta that week.

The rest of our team, in no particular order: Marion Barber, Plaxico Burress, Brandon Jacobs, Chad Johnson, Chris Cooley, Santonio Holmes, Calvin Johnson, DeAngelo Williams, Jeremy Shockey, Ahmad Bradshaw, Amani Toomer, Seahawks defense, and Nate Kaeding kicking. It's more Giants heavy than I'd like; I was forced into making a quick decision for Amani Toomer when I was close to running out of time. I was being distracted with conversation about something else. I might end up trading him for someone else, or maybe just running three RBs more often. We'll see how the season goes.

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That's enough for now. I should probably get back to the writing project I'm working on. I'm not really ready to talk specifics about it yet, except to say that it's a novel. Every time I talk specifics in the early stages of a project, I seem to jinx it and lose interest. I'm co-writing this one, though, so that is helpful, and it's been going pretty strong for a few months now, despite busy schedules on both sides. I'm excited about it, and I will be sure to post about it here when it's further along.

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August 18, 2008

Weekend Of Interest

Oh great What-if Machine, bless us with thy vision and grant us wisdom. What if we spent an entire weekend celebrating Courtney's birthday?



TO DO: insert shimmery special effects


Apparently what would happen is that Courtney would go to her Saturday volunteering, as usual, and then we would pack up the gym bag and head down to Carly and Eric's for some afternoon tennis. We would play for a little over an hour and try to figure out how the hell doubles tennis is actually supposed to work. We wouldn't really care, and we'd have fun anyway. Amazingly, we would not get sunburned.

After tennis, we'd go back to Carly and Eric's to shower and change to grab a quick dinner and head to the Maroon 5/Counting Crows concert, the tickets for which I would have scored for $6 each through a deal at my company. We would end up getting dinner at a local McDonald's and try to find fish jam on the menu. Unfortunately, there would be no fish jam to be had.

After dinner we would follow Courtney's GPS to Nissan Pavilion. The GPS would give us directions which would cross a train track that would be occupied by a train. We would then follow the signs we should have followed in the first place to Nissan Pavilion. We would play many hands of rummy while listening to Sarah Bareilles' opening act, which would be good, but not phenomenal. We would then rock out to Maroon 5, because they are awesome.

We would then be utterly disappointed by the Counting Crows. Adam Duritz would show up either baked out of his mind or doing a grand impression of someone who is. Adam Duritz would forget what song he was singing at least twice. Adam Duritz would forget which city he was in. (Note to Adam: For future reference, a clear lack of skyscrapers suggests you are not in New York City.) The set list for the Counting Crows would be made up almost entirely of songs no one wants to hear. The few songs that would be played which people would want to hear would be utterly destroyed beyond recognition, including Rain King and Mr Jones. The Counting Crows would adequately perform Accidentally In Love and Hangin' Around, but it would be too late. Adam Duritz would also wax philosophical about a magazine cover that he saw himself on, and everyone else would wonder where exactly he gets such great weed.

In addition, we would be surrounded by the only smokers in the whole venue. Stupid assholes would show up about 3/4 of the way through the concert absolutely wasted. One of said assholes would whip it out and pee all over the lawn near everyone. I, being luckily placed behind said asshole, would avoid going to jail for assault and battery.

The next day Courtney and I would go to Baltimore to see the Body Worlds exhibit. We would get ripped off and have to pay $16 for parking. We would be astounded and amazed at the intricacies of the human body. My favorite display would be the exploded man, which is not exactly what it sounds like but kind of is. We would then head back home and eat a birthday dinner at Ruby Tuesdays. I would have awesome ribs and shrimp, and Courtney would have an amazing steak and crabcake. Then we would go home, be exhausted, and get ready for bed. Courtney would play her new crossword game, and I would finish V for Vendetta before falling asleep.

TO DO: Insert dramatic closing music and credits.


You read it! You can't unread it! Stay tuned for more...

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August 16, 2008

Keep The Olympics Robot-Free!

I come before you today regarding a very serious issue that is vital to the safety of not only our nation, but to humanity as a whole. For those of you who have been paying attention, you already know what I am referring to; for others, this may come as quite a shock. I will try to break the news as gently as possible. I may get in trouble for outing my country in the middle of the contest, but I can no longer, in good conscience, sit by and let this continue unabated.

Ok, here goes. No turning back now.

For the past few weeks, the United States has been using an automaton, or robot, in competition in the Olympic Games in Beijing. I have provided a picture of the robot below.



The most disturbing aspect of this international fiasco is how blatantly obvious the United States has been in the use of this android. They haven't tried to be remotely inconspicuous, brandishing their superior technology in the world's face and having it shatter world record after world record and earn gold medal after gold medal for the homeland. The worst part is that this wasn't enough for the United States. They had to take it one step further and insult the other competitors directly, specifically the Serbian swimmer Milorad Cavic, by having their robot beat Cavic by precisely .01 seconds. Now, I love my country, but this sort of behavior is just inexcusable. It brings us no honor when we resort to using machines to win athletic events.

I can understand that to the untrained eye he looks like a regular person, but that's the whole idea. He was designed to pass as a normal competitor. However, their brazen use of this robot has made his physical appearance a moot point. They might as well remove the external biological casing and just have him compete in his raw titanium form.

But I digress.

The main point I want you to take away from this is not that the United States is cheating in the Olymics with a robot, but that this robot even exists. It is plain to see that the United States government has learned nothing from our nation's brightest scientific minds when they tried to warn us about artificial intelligence in documentaries such as The Terminator and I, Robot. Creating robots like this one can only lead to millions of deaths, the enslavement of mankind, and blockbuster ticket sales. I implore you all to contact your congressmen and senators and make your voice heard: Keep the Olympics (and our nation) robot-free! Do it for our children and our children's children.

This has been a public service announcement.

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August 09, 2008

Cool Shirt

I got this shirt when I was down at the beach. Never has so much truth been condensed into such a pure form.

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August 03, 2008

return; (A.K.A. - The Beach Trip Report)

We're back from the Outer Banks, and we had an awesome time! The beach trip always goes so fast, and I think that's mostly because it's only for a week. By the time the week is up, I still feel like I'm just settling in. I would love to do a beach trip for two weeks, and hopefully at some point I will be able to convince enough people to participate.

We arrived in the Outer Banks last Saturday around 11am and had our traditional lunch with Carly's family at Cap'n Frank's in Kittyhawk. It's a great family-run hot dog joint that has some good food for decent prices. After lunch, we walked over to the board game store so I could get my annual new game for the trip. I had planned on purchasing Pandemic before we left, but it was sold out everywhere due to a reprint. We ended up buying Blokus, which is a really fun puzzle/strategy game. It got played several times over the course of the week. Our purchase made, we went to the outlet mall to waste some time until the house was available.

The rest of Saturday was spent getting groceries and moving into the house. The house we got was both better and worse than the house we had last year. It was better in that it wasn't as far south as before, so we didn't have to drive for an hour just to get to Nags Head. It also had two tables, so we were able to have a dedicated table for our puzzle. (This year it was Edward Hopper's Nighthawks; we didn't get it finished [about fifty pieces left], so we'll have to finish it up this week at home.) The house was worse in that it was a lot smaller than we expected, the fridge wouldn't close properly, and there was an enormous dune blocking our view of the ocean. But we took what we got and had a great time anyway.

Sunday and Monday were spent reading Watchmen (which is phenomenal; thanks for the recommendation, Wil!), hanging out on the beach, and playing all kinds of games. Among the games played were Blokus, Settlers of Catan, Puerto Rico, Yahtzee, Cribbage, Jenga, Backgammon, Five Crowns, Apples to Apples, Loaded Questions, Munchkin, Space Munchkin, and Set. Needless to say, this was a board game loving group. We also played Bocce and Volleyball out on the beach, as well as throwing a frisbee and football around in the ocean.

Of course, you can't play in the ocean without body boarding. The waves at our location this year were much better than the ones we had last year, and we had some great rides. There were even some people attempting to surf, which prompted this response from me (with all apologies to the Beach Boys):


Sung to California Girls

Yeah, east coast surfers are posers
They can't even catch a wave
And even if they do, it's only two feet tall
And they just looking freakin' gay.

I wish they all could be bodyboarders.
I wish they all could be bodyboarders.



Yes, I did actually sing this.

Also on Monday, the group got together to go see Wall-e. I must say, I was surprised at the adult nature of this film. I hadn't really read much about it beforehand, other than that people liked it and that the art in the end credits was great. Sure, there was stuff for the kids to enjoy, just like any Pixar movie, but this one was definitely made for the grownups. It's a pretty telling commentary on the current state of human existence and one of the possible directions we could be headed. I highly recommend it.

On Tuesday the gang headed south to Hatteras and Carly's family's house for the annual seafood bake. The wives really love this, while Eric and I manage to tolerate it. Basically, Eric and I are of the mindset that crabs involve way too much work for way too little reward, especially east coast blue crabs, which have very little meat in them to begin with. So we survive on clams and shrimp while everyone else rips into around 100 crabs or so. We had a great time socializing and playing Five Crowns, although we ended up getting eaten alive by mosquitoes in the process. I don't think I've ever had so many bug bites in my entire life. I blame this on the standing water in the driveway due to a storm a week or so prior.

After dinner, we decide to head over to the Froggy Dog in Avon for some karaoke, swatting at mosquitoes in the car along the way. Now, prior to this, I'd only ever done karaoke once in my life, several years ago at a friends' wedding in Blacksburg. I sang Bright Lights by Matchbox 20 then, and I messed up a little near the end of it. It was basically my first solo ever. Since then, I've sung many solos at church, and my confidence has grown much higher. For my first song this year, I decided to retry Bright Lights, and I'm happy to report that I didn't mess it up this year. I also sang I'll Be by Edwin McCain and Piano Man by Billy Joel. I felt really comfortable while singing these songs, and at the end of them I was getting compliments from complete strangers while heading back to my table.

On Wednesday we hung out on the beach during the day and went out to play mini golf in the evening. We decided on going to Lost Treasure, which I realized after the fact may be the exact same design as the Lost Treasure at Myrtle Beach. We did the diamond course, and I played the best game of mini golf I've ever played in my life. I ended up doing the best out of our group, shooting one under par for a score of 41. Move over, Tiger; I'm coming for you. After my victory in mini golf, we went to get some frozen custard, which was absolutely delicious.

Thurday afternoon, Mike, Randi, and I went to see The Dark Knight. Amazingly, none of us had managed to see it. I'm pretty sure it was Randi's idea that we wait until we get to the beach to see it, but she blames me. Regardless of whose fault it is, the movie is absolutely phenomenal. Heath Ledger's jaw-dropping performance only further drives home the fact that when the world lost him, it lost one of the greatest actors of our time. He is my generation's River Phoenix, and he will be sorely missed. I cannot wait until this movie comes out on DVD. I will be one of the first in line to buy it.

Friday was our last full day at the beach, so we spent most of it next to or in the ocean, catching some last waves and enjoying the sun. The weather was great the whole week, except for a single storm that blew through on Thursday night. After dinner, Courtney and I grabbed our beach blanket and a bottle of wine and went out on the sand for some stargazing. No sooner had we sat down, than a lady came up and offered us her campfire, since her family was done with it. We accepted and moved over to the fire, which helped to keep bugs away. We had a great time just laying on the beach, listening to the ocean, talking, and trying to find constellations in the sky. In the process, we saw a shooting star and either a satellite or the International Space Station, which I guess is technically also a satellite. That's one thing I hate about where we live: there's so much light pollution that it's rare for us to be able to see anything more than a few of the brightest stars at night. It was great to be able to lie back and see hundreds, maybe thousands, at a time and a wonderful way to end the trip.

Saturday morning we packed up and drove in to Nags Head for some last minute shopping and lunch with Carly and Eric before we headed our separate ways. Overall, I think this trip was more fun than last year, mostly due to there being a larger group. Everyone got along really well, and we had a fantastic time. It's just too bad I have to wait a whole year before I get to do it again.

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