Sunday, December 18, 2005

Things Behind the Sun

John Spencer, best known for playing Leo McGarry on The West Wing, died on Friday. Just thought that I'd get that out of the way, since I like that show so much. It's really gotten a lot better during this season, barring the live episode, which was ... why did they do that, anyway? Well, anyway, it's a sad day for all of us West Wing fans. It'll be almost as sad when they finally cancel the show, which they probably should have done as soon as Aaron Sorkin left.

I haven't gotten any of my Christmas shopping done yet. I have no idea what to buy for my parents, because they're hard to shop for, given the fact that they never tell me what they want, and they never use what I get them. I think that the blow-dryer that I got for my mother last year still hasn't been taken out of the box, and she even asked for that in such a way that I thought that she'd throw out the old one as soon as she got the new one. Of course, by the same coin, I haven't told my parents what I want, beyond, "Peace on earth, good will towards man." In other words, they'll be getting me a gift card or something.

I bought myself a 19-inch LCD for my desktop yesterday, after the 19" CRT monitor I'd been using for the last six years finally crapped out on me and decided that it really liked the color blue. It had been having brightness issues for quite some time, and so I was prepared for this day. So I bought this really nifty Hyundai (yes, Hyundai!) LCD that pivots on its support-arm so I can go from a landscape-style 4:3 aspect ratio to a 3:4 portrait-style aspect ratio. I haven't yet figured out what exactly I'd do with that, but something will occur to me. However, it's the answer to my question as to why anyone would ever have used the NVrotate utility in the Detonator driver set. Note to readers: A 19" screen is just overkill. Of course, if I had the extra $300 of disposable cash, I would probably have gotten the 21" Samsung that caught my eye. My room is also several degrees cooler since the monitor left; I have no idea how much power it was consuming, but my bet is probably a lot.

Here's something that I don't understand: I bought my monitor for a shade over $300, and yet people are spending twice that on 15" LCD televisions. I'm sure that, given some cables or a TV-tuner card, I could probably run television signals on my monitor, so why are people wasting so much money on smaller panels? Oh yeah, they have speakers for the sound, and the users are probably computer-illiterate.

On a 19" monitor, Rollercoaster Tycoon 3 can induce some very real motion-sickness while in the first-person mode. I think that riding a virtual roller-coaster somehow messes with the human body, because you're watching this screen, and your body is getting ready for the accompanying G-forces (not to be confused with Gatchaman or Battle of the Planets), which just aren't there, causing your stomach to freak out and spew all over your keyboard. Note to self: Stop making such insane roller coasters with 200-foot nearly-vertical drops. The Magnum out at Cedar Point should not be remade in a computer game. Beyond that, though, it's a largely unremarkable game.

Ooh, I think I'm going to go play some F.E.A.R. now, as that's a fantastic game upon which enough praise cannot possibly be lavished.

Oh, and here's proof that the government is indeed spying on us: A student at U-Mass Dartmouth, writing a paper on fascism and totalitarianism, was visited by agents from the Department of Homeland Security because the student had requested a copy of Mao Tse-Tung's Little Red Book. The fact that I am noting this in my blog probably means that my room has already been bugged. Oh, another fact that I learned from a story on Slashdot some time ago: Aluminum-foil hats apparently do nothing to keep the satellites from reading your brain frequencies. Well, it was something like that, anyway; point being that they don't work.

AIM: therbmcc71

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