Monday, March 30, 2009

Old stuff is the best

3 comments
I will apologize for my regular readers, but this gem is in Russian only..

One of the best KVN games ever, I still sing jingles from it.





This was still Soviet times. I can't believe I found this stuff.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

I hate this weather...

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We've got hit by a snow storm. Big one. Up to three inches. I was thinking of putting the snow-blower away yesterday, but I should have known better. There can alsways be snow in Chicago until mid-April.

I just hope our tulips don't freeze over. It should be 50 tomorrow.

Friday, March 27, 2009

You know it's spring...

1 comments
When these little guys start to show up on your backyard. I was shooting him first from about thirty feet away with a 200 lens. I slowly approached him so not to scare him away. The last picture, which is below, was shot about 7 feet way. When I tried to get even closer he bolted.

Soon, I hope to get some pictures of little bunnies. Maybe they'll fart rainbows.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The life of a geek...

3 comments
I have found this meme at Jason's. Being the Uber geek that I am I have to match my mad geek-skills against him.

The instructions: Cut-and-paste and mark the things you've done with an 'X' bold the things you've done. (I like bolding better than the X thing.)

  • You spent a day watching all of the Lord of the Rings/Star Wars/Star Trek movies.

  • I really don't have time to watch movies all the way through the end, much less for the whole day - DENIED
  • You spent next two days after watching commentary, outtakes, and behind the scenes footage.

  • Gag reels is the only bonus features I ever watch
  • And you bought the soundtrack.

  • You went to a midnight release of a movie.

  • I like my sleep, work and all you know :)
  • You camped in front of the theater for more than 12 hours to get tickets.

  • That's just silly
  • Camping did not prevent you from being in costume.

  • You can have an entire conversation with friends consisting of quotes from your favorite movies.
    Absolutely
  • You own at least three game systems.

  • I got a PSP, a Wii, and an old XBOX. I also play on PC
  • You have lost weight because you forgot to eat while trying to reach the next level in your game.

  • I don't know much about loosing weight, but I did pull all nighters.
  • You own more than four game controllers (of any kind).

  • Yes I think so,
  • You have existed on three hours of sleep per night so that your "Sims" get eight hours and are refreshed for work.

  • You upgraded your computer because you wanted to buy a new video game/expansion pack.

  • I build my computers for that specific reason.
  • You have dressed as your game avatar, or as a npc in that game.

  • You achieved level 60 on World of Warcraft.

  • I never got into that, somehow paying for subscription never worked out for me.
  • You have played Dungeons and Dragons or any other RPG.

  • I like RPGs, I played all of the Final Fantasies, and some others.
  • You know what "RPG" stands for.

  • Who doesn't?
  • You dressed as your RPG character would dress.

  • You own dice with more than six sides.

  • You have been accused of having a "gamer" scent.

  • I firmly believe in showers
  • You can identify a Black Lotus.

  • I hope its a drink
  • You can identify a Charizard.

  • That I think I know.
  • You have bought any of the Harry Potter books after standing in line until midnight.

  • Again, that sleeping thing.
  • You waited to get your Harry Potter book in costume, quoting favorite lines.

  • You have attended any function with "con" in the name.

  • I actually believe I am too old for that.
  • You stood in line at said con for more than four hours to have an item signed.

  • You spent more than $50 on a costume to wear to a con because you wanted it to be authentic.

  • You own more than 50 comics.

  • You collect your comics in longboxes.

  • You know what a "longbox" is.

  • You've met and had your comics signed by the creator(s).

  • You know how many Robins there are.

  • You know that the portrayal of Rogue in the movie X-Men is completely wrong.

  • Yes, I do. Redhead...it must be a redhead
  • You have chatted online more than in person.

  • Occasionaly
  • You chatted online enough to learn the time zones.

  • You think that when the Mythbusters say "Don't try this at home," they really don't mean YOU.

  • Some of the stuff, I could have pulled off.
  • You have participated in a movie/tv marathon that involved a drinking game.

  • You can sing along with the Buffy musical episode.

  • You know Seth Green from more than just the Austin Powers movies.

  • Buffy of course, plus he was on Heroes
  • You can name all eight Kevin Smith-directed movies without referring to IMdb.

  • No, I can't.
  • You have participated in a Clerks-esque discussion about Star Wars (or any other movie).

  • I don't like profanity.
  • You have participated in a Kirk vs. Picard discussion.

  • Actually no. Nobody to discuss it with. Besides, I was always more into TNG and DS9 than TOS, so I couldn't hold a conversation much about Kirk.
  • You have participated in a Star Wars vs. Star Trek discussion.

  • Of course.
  • You have participated in a Babylon 5 vs. Star Trek: Deep Space Nine discussion.

  • You know who "jms" is.

  • You have ever corrected anyone who called you a Trekkie.

  • Never been called that.
  • You have worn a Star Fleet uniform.

  • You own a Star Fleet uniform.

  • You think Twilight is lame because everyone knows that vampires burst into flame in the sunlight.

  • I am not much into Vamprie business, but if they have a certain target audience it couldn't be that lame.
  • You have written fanfic.

  • You have watched Bizzare Foods and thought "I'd try that."
    Oh, yeah! Like that show.
  • You can pinpoint the moment at which Lost jumped the shark.

  • Never got into Lost
  • You know who Stan Lee is.

  • I don't know who you would have to be not to know Stan Lee.
  • You know who Jack Kirby is.

  • You know who Geoff Johns is.

  • You have built a website.

  • I do web for living, so it's obvious.
  • You have started a blog.

  • You maintained a blog for over a year.

  • I've subjecting people to myself for a long time now.
  • You know what the Genie SFRT is.

  • You have a Twitter account.

  • I don't get twitter. Who cares what my minutae is, my life is pretty boring.
  • You have over 500 followers on Twitter.

  • You purchased a smartphone just so you could check Twitter on the road.

  • I don't like smartphones. I need phone to make phone calls.
  • You forget your family members' birthdays because they aren't your friends on Facebook.

  • ou have given virtual gifts on Facebook.

  • You have Superpoked your boss on Facebook.
  • You have gotten a date through Facebook (and we're not talking dinner and movie with your buddies).

  • Not through Facebook per se, but I did meet my wife over the internet.
  • You have broken up with someone/been broken up with through Facebook.

  • Guilty, but that was a long time ago.
  • You've reached level 30 or higher in Mafia Wars.

  • You know what Mafia Wars is.

  • You participated in more than three social networks.

  • Four or five.
  • You've spent more than 200 hours playing the same video game.

  • I put a lot of time into Diablo at some point.
  • You've seen any movie in the theater more than three times.

  • You can name the episode of MST3K where Joel was replaced by Mike.

  • You've argued why the comic is way superior to the show/movie when discussing The Tick, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, X-Men, Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, etc.

  • Yes, including explaining to my wife that SpiderMan the movie is "not how it really happened"
  • You have the soundtrack for Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog on your MP3 player.

  • You are willing to defend the Star Wars prequels.

  • I don't know. I kinda hated them
  • You openly disparage the Star Wars prequels because they don't live up to Empire.

  • You're openly concerned about the timeline ramifications that J.J. Abram's Star Trek movie presents to the canon.

  • Yes, I am.
  • You own anything written by Neil Gaiman, Alan Moore, or H.P. Lovecraft.

  • You have a flying spaghetti monster on your car.

  • You've seen a midnight showing of The Rocky Horror Picture Show with live actors in front of the screen.

  • You know the REAL reason Spider-Man had a black costume.

  • You know the NCC numbers of at least two starships other than the Enterprise.

  • You know what "NCC" stands for.

  • You own an original Star Trek Concordance, Technical Manual, and Blueprints.

  • You own at least two medieval weapons.

  • I wish i did, a bastard sword and a morning star.
  • You have participated in battles with foam-covered swords.

  • You know who "Major Matt Mason" is.

  • You have seen bootleg copies of the original Fantastic Four and Justice League movies.

  • After having had children you realize there's now more people to costume and relish it.

  • You've managed to turn four days at Euroquest* into nearly eight because, who needs sleep?

  • You've spent more than $1000 on your "spot-on" costume (and it's still not quite right...).

  • You've made a fan film.

  • Your fan film has been seen by more than your immediate family.

  • People know you by your online name instead of your mundane name

  • I used to be known as Kisintin, still using that on-line name.
  • You know what Pennsic is.

  • You've camped at Pennsic.

  • You have/had personalized plates on your car proudly proclaiming your fandom.

  • Your spouse and/or friends do as well.

  • You yell at your kids when they try to open a toy/book/comic/figure etc. that you're collecting.

  • Not exactly yell, but I do ask my girl to be carefull when playing with my Legoes.
  • Your kids have broken your Hallmark collectible Star Trek/Star Wars, etc., ornament.

  • You've traveled more than 500 miles to attend a con.

  • You have a tattoo related to your fandom of choice.

  • You met your spouse at a fan-related event or con.

  • You got engaged (to be married!) at a sci-fi convention.

  • You are publicly willing to defend Dollhouse, because Joss Whedon must be trusted.

  • I've watched some edpisodes and don't think It's that bad.

    The result is, my geekiness is mostly related to computers and video games :)

    Monday, March 23, 2009

    An eye opener

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    There is an article in the Tribune that our professor has asked us to read prior the next class.

    Ivory Tower of Power

    The article states that there is a "Chicago" goverment installed right now. It also hints at the Clinton administration as being the "Yale" government.

    So, is there such a thing as a "City" goverment. Harvard goverment, Yale goverment, Cornell government, UCLA goverment? University of Phoenix Goverment?

    Can these qualifications be accurate in predicting what kind of goverment we will have?

    If you try hard enough, dogs can be dolphins

    3 comments
    Wel ove going to the city. Unfortunately we live in the suburbs, about seventeen miles away. We can't get out to the city as much as we want to. Because of that, we set ourselves a goal to visit a specific place or venue, and go for it.

    This sunday we decided that the weather was beautiful enough to visit what is called the Museum Campus in the Chicago's south Loop. There are three landmarks in the close proximity to the each other. Fields Museum of Natural History, the Shedd Aquarium, Adler Planetarium and Soldier (not Soldier's) Field. Having experienced Natural History Museum with a three-year-old, which was less than a success, we've decided to go the Aquarium. We go there couple of times every year, The Little One loves it, the fishes, the dolphins, shows, everything is great.

    This time around we were a bit dissapointed. Unknown to us, there was a reconstruction project in the dolphonarium (is that a word?), so there were no dolphins. The cast of the Aquarium decided to replace it wish a Dog Show! trying to draw parallels between dolphin traning and dog training. The show was lame, but from a standpoint of a 4-year-old it was awesome, which is really what counts in the end.

    One of the great things in the Shedd right now is the Wild Reef exhibition. They have a great number of sharks, giant turtles and all sorts of rays. The Little One was glued to the glass the whole time.

    The weather was nice, and I've decided to take pictures of the shoreline and give a little tour of Downtown Chicago, South Loop area. All of the pictures are taken from the Museum Campus area.

    The first picture is the Soldier Field taken from the main entrance of Fields Museum, and yes those VIP box do seem to hang in the air.



    This is the picutre of the Aquarium itself. There is a strange statue of a boy holding a fish in front.



    Next is the Fields Museum main entrance, although blocked by trees.



    The next set of pictures is the shoreline. The first is the Navy Pier, with the Ferris Wheel on the left. The ships in the harbor go for tours in the summer season



    Go left (westward from the lake) is the next picture. The first black building is The Lakepoint Tower, loking like a three leaf boomerang from the top. The second black building is where I and The Awesome Wife met for the first time.



    Moving further west we see the Blue Cross Blue Shield building being reconstrcuted( they acutally doubling it in height, the Aon/Amoco building (the one that looks like one of the World Trade Centers) the Prudential Building (the blue letters and the pointy roof which are one building). Next is the Smirfit building (sliced at the angle) and the finished Trum Tower (rounded tall buildinig). I used to work for the several years in the Aon building on the 47th floor, the views are breathtaking.



    Going further west and a bit south, we can see the Sears Tower (now Willis Tower), the CNA building and the Loop buildings. The building with 4 antennas is the At&T corporate center. An the building with the round crown does not have a name but 311 South Wacker drive. I think it has a rotating restaurant on top of it.



    The last picture is what the south loop is like this days, cleaned-up with a lot of new expensive construction in place.



    That is all folks. Next time we go to the city, I'll post more pictures.

    Saturday, March 21, 2009

    Duplicity is confusing

    3 comments
    We went to see a movie today. The Inlaws came-in to spend an evening with their grand-daughter, which pretty much means that we need to leave the house.

    We couldn't decide which movie to see. There's Knowing, getting good reviews. There's I Love You Man, not something to see with one's wife. And then there was Duplicity, a perfect match for a couples' visit to the movie theater.

    There Julia ROberts, and then there's Clive Owen. Miss Roberts is her charming self. Mr. Owen is good, but for some reason I thought that Mr. Clooney might have made a better job.

    The movie is so twisted I did not have a clue about what was real and what wasn't. Till the very end I thought the actors were playing each other, and it got to be a little too much. I think i was expecting sincerety to appear a bit sooner, than the movie-makers. They just kept throwing twists until the end. I had a fleeting thought about the ending in the beginning, which was of course a correct one, but the twists were coming and it was simply pushed out.

    And before anyone asks, YES! I am that guy. I have seen enough movies and shows in my life to be able to guess or deduce the plot-line and the ending at the very beginning. I firmly believe that all of the plot lines in the world are a variation on a Greek theme or another :) Nothing new in this world :)

    It drives my wife mad, when I start sharing my ideas with her about a plot :)

    Anyway.

    We are going to the Shedd Aquarium tomorrow. Gonna see the fishes and the dolphins.

    Wednesday, March 18, 2009

    Deja vu all over again

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    I've been here before.

    The final project for our MacroEconomics class is take a country and dissect it from the Macroeconomics standpoint, wich are populations, GDP, goverment involment, production, imports, exports, and the fun stuff. We've had to do that for our Global Business class.

    The topic for the old class was Russia. We as a class thought that we could use the previously done research to drive macro presentations.

    Interestingly enough a student from a parallel class raised this issue with the Dean citing plagiarism. How can this be plagiarism? It's our own work, and we should be able to use it as base.

    In the end we have decided that our of choice would be Spain. While I understand that this is extra work, from the stand point of learning it would be beneficial to step out once in a while from the comfort zone.

    Tuesday, March 17, 2009

    Monday night bloggings

    7 comments
    Finished work:

    Surprisingly Darth Vader's TIE Advanced is smaller then the interceptor model I have. Being the geek that I am, I should go a take a look at the specs to see if in "fact" it is smaller.



    Why do you ask Mr. Vader is on the roof. He is tap-celebrating his most recent kill :)

    ------------------------------------------------------

    I have switched over to CBS comedy this season. It's just so much funnier than The Office or Earl or even 30 Rock to me.

    Here are some couple of quotes from Monday night:

    The Big Bang Theory:

    Leonard: "Don't look at me, I am not manufacturing, I am just web design..."

    Two and A Half Men:

    Pharmacist: "Here's tampons, Pepto, and decongestant... It's a dam to plug any river.."

    Sunday, March 15, 2009

    Sunday night is what you make it

    2 comments
    Oh, rather what you can make on it.

    I am in the process of putting together Vader's TIE fighter. With the Little One, who made her daddy proud by knowing what the Light Saber is.





    While listeing to this.

    Tuesday, March 10, 2009

    Crazy ideas - UPDATED

    9 comments
    Here's a crazy survey I thought off.

    If you had a time machine where would you travel first? Assuming the fact of course of universal invincibility.

    ----UPDATE----

    As my brother mentioned, with time travel universally available getting rich schemes would be less than doable.

    My aim is more towards investigating great mysteries of history. Therefore:


    a. To the Big Bang
    b. To see an asteroid killing dinosaurs
    c. To see the exodus of Jews as it really happened
    d. Try to see if Jesus hubbub really happened
    e. Forget the past, I'd go to the year 2020 to see who winds World Series and place a bet accordingly.
    f. Suggested by Ilya. Back a day or to to purchase winning lottery ticket.
    e. Try to see if Atlantis existed.
    f. Travel to the future to see the explosion of our Sun.

    I am torn between the dinosaurs and the World Series. Please suggest the choices. Should I add Buddha and Muhammed to the list as well? From the curiousity stand-point.

    I still rather see the dinosaurs.

    Monday, March 9, 2009

    Weird evening

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    I went to see an Optomologist for dry eyes. SHe put in my eyes the stuff that makes your irises widen up. I am now typing half-blindly. Weird.


    I'll admit to liking watching Dancing With The Stars. Partly because of Tom Bergeran's ad-libing and partly because of Edyta Slovenska. There is ABSOLUTELY nothing wrong with that woman.

    Much ado with nothing to do

    4 comments
    The general consensus of the blogosphere is that if you have nothing to write about, do not write anything. Well, screw that. I will write about a lot of small nothings today.

    The weekend was hectic as always, or so it seemed. Looking back we always get bewildered at the fact that we are tired as hell without really doing that much.

    I blame everything on the weather. It has rained for two days non-stop. The sum-pump has been chugging along for two days now, and was still working in the morning. One question we asked ourselves was how did we manage not get flooded without turning it on for the last three years. Only logical answer was that this was a very rainy last six months.

    The Little One has started a new rebellion under a slogan that "Sleeping is boring!" It only concerns the night time sleeping, not the afternoon weekend naps. We have no clue why this is happening now, but she falls asleep very late at night now, which is very bad, since she can not wake up normally in the morning. We have tried to talk to her about it, but all she gives us is "Sleeping is boring. I don't like sleeping. I am not tired (while yawning)."

    Since all of her friends are about the same age, and have birthdays pretty close to each other, we are entering the endless stream of birthday bashes. Most of them are held in the Pump-it-Up place near by. It's actually a very nice place with a lot of moon-walks and blow-up slides. They are all complimented by pizza and cakes. I think parents have a wrong approach to the proceedings. We should first get them up on pizza and cakes for energy, and only then let them get it out with the slides.
    Most of the time kids come back from those bashes hyped up on adrenaline and sugar and bounce of the walls at home in the evening.

    I have finished reading Across The Face of the Earth by Russell Kirkpatrick, and started the next book of the series In the Earth abides the Flame. It seems a nice deep written world, although the magic is only mentioned so far.

    I think I want to watch The Watchmen but will not. I have heard reviews that it is not the movie to go and see with your significant other, especially when she doesn't have any desire to see it. I do not go to the movies alone, it's usually me and The Awesome Wife.

    I am getting bored with the music I am currently listening to. Considering that I have approximately forty-eight hundred songs from approximately three hundred some albums, I should find things that I haven't listened to in a while. I keep thinking that there was a reason I got all that music at some point. Maybe something will revive itself for me.

    The time switch is a complete bitch (Hey, it rhymes). I get knocked off senseless by it. It takes me several of days to recover.

    A new show is starting today called Castle. It's got Nathan Fillion in it and Dan Castellaneta. I think I will give it a try.

    Our DirectTV problem with dual HD recording has been fixed. Now I can finally DVR HD shows parallel.

    And that is that. Pretty boring rant.

    Wednesday, March 4, 2009

    March madness

    0 comments
    You know what sucks. I really have nothing to write about. Maybe i should close this post right here.

    Nope. The school is going from Microeconomics to Macroeconomics in a week. The final presentation went great, and we have one final quiz to finish. I am trying to finish the damn book by Russell Kirkpatrick. It's very long. Me being the glutton for punishment I WILL finish it. Then, i'll get the other two books. The problem with erading the series is that i have to finish them.

    I like Kirkpatrick's work. The only problem I have is that so far there's very little action and a lot of scenery description. great description, but man does the book go slowly. He actually have to say in some places that weeks are passing by.

    Weird.

    And that my friends is all there's to it. If something interesting comes up, I'll do an update.

    Sunday, March 1, 2009

    Jazz is good for the soul...

    2 comments
    ON friday night me and my wife did something that we weren't able to do for the last 3 or 4 years. We went to Andy's Jazz club, on the more famouse Chicago jazz spots that features live muscisians.

    We were able to witness two live features.The first one was Kelly Brand Trio, consisting of a piano player, a bass, and a drummer. The played variations on Miles Davis and other famouse musicians and were very very nice.

    The featured artist of the night was a dual sax act of John Wojciechowski - a tenor saxophone player with a local jazz celebrity Mike Smith.

    Unfortunately we were able to capture only first half hour of the show, but the guys were absolutely amazing.

    John is in the first clip. I apologize for the darkness. It's the only video I could find. He is the taller one of the two. MIke Smith is in the second clip.





    Absolutely amazing night of Jazz. I wish we could get out more often.

    Oh, and on Saturday we watched Madagascar 2 and Body of Lies.

    Very good two movies. Madagaskar was great for the little one. Body of Lies of good for me. I think The Awesome wife was expecting a bit more from DiCaprio Crowe combo and was left a bit dissapointed. I on the other hand, enjoyed the action and interaction between these two great actors.