A Conversation With Jen

September 20th, 2010

A small excerpt from a conversation I had with Jen:

Me: Do you know what a fennec fox is?
Jen: no but it sounds cute

Jen: omg!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!111
Jen: it IS cute!!!!!!
Jen: ahhhhhhh! it’s an overload!!!!!


Tidbits III

March 7th, 2009


I just learned about Simple English Wikipedia (via xkcd). Its articles are written with simple words and grammar. Unfortunately it has just a fraction of the articles that the “real” Wikipedia has.

LOL Cat Bible

While I’m on the subject of pseudo-translations, I thought I’d share the LOL Cat Bible. I found this about two years ago but it’s still worth sharing. It’s a wiki that is set up for people to translate The Holy Bible into LOL Cat speach. It’s a lot of fun; I just wish I knew the real bible better so I could appreciate it more.


So I’m on Twitter. I’ve been avoiding it for two or three years, but Jen just got on it so I kinda had to. It’s like Facebook’s status, but you can send and receive updates using text messages. I actually like it quite a bit. I just need more friends; I feel like I’m not talking at anyone (kind of like when I blog…). So sign up and start tweeting (yes, it has a verb).

Protip: to appreciate Twitter, you have to set it up to text your phone. Make sure to do that, and to turn on Device Updates for all your friends (“followers”).

Stumble Upon

Another Website that I’ve been aware of for a long time but never really used is Stumble Upon. Cheese mentioned that she’s using it and it reminded me about it. You create an account and it asks you some questions, and then it shows you random things on the Web that it thinks you’ll like. The more you use it, the more it learns about what you’ll like.


A Website that I have been using for a while is Bloglines. It helps you stay up-to-date on Websites (usually blogs) that you like. All you have to do to subscribe to a site is click it’s RSS link. My blog list (“blogroll”) is public, so you can check it out if you’re bored.

Online Tax Services Review

February 2nd, 2009

Last year, just four days before April 15, the dreaded tax day, I gathered my assorted documents and visited irs.gov to see my options for e-filing. My tax information was not very complex; I had a single W-2 and a few 1099s that indicate interest that I had earned from my bank accounts.

The services below may have been updated since last year (but I doubt it). All of them are free.
H&R Block’s TaxCut Free File
The interface is good, but was sometimes slow. It seemed like each page had to load all the buttons and images over and over again. It did not prompt me to enter the information for one of my forms; I had to search for the form and then choose to enter the information. Overall, this is a decent service.

TaxACT Online
The interface was very clean and easy to use. The service was quick. The questions were the most strait-forward I’ve seen. It also asked for each form I had, unlike H&R’s service. My only problem was that my first attempt to create a password was rejected even though they rated it as “strong.” I recommend this service above the other two.

eSmartTax by Liberty Tax Service
The interface was clunky and slow. Little was explained to me. I was unable to finish it because the site kept giving me a network error. They asked me questions, all all the services do, but it still seemed like I was filling out the obtuse tax forms myself. Avoid this service.

Tidbits II

August 18th, 2008

You’d better take a look at this

This behavior annoys me to this day, and it’s not just on Star Trek. Thanks to Dinosaur Comics for drawing attention to it.

Star Trek Online

Speaking of Star Trek, development for Star Trek Online has resumed. I wanna be a Klingon. With a bat’leth.

Windows is Windows? Whaaa?

August 1st, 2008

Microsoft recently revamped the interface for Games for Windows Live. Microsoft’s senior global director of Windows gaming, Kevin Unangst said this on the subject:

[Windows] gamers wanted the interface to be more Windows-like. It should be easy to navigate with a mouse and keyboard; it should look like a Windows application.

No shit.1

What the hell did you think we wanted it to look like? An Etch A Sketch? How can you make products with great interfaces like the Zune and then come out with a “revelation” like this?

See also: Microsoft Bob

1 This is the first time I’ve used such strong language on this blog. I think it’s warranted.

Shoutouts II

July 21st, 2008

Fail Blog succeeds

I just spend two hours on Fail Blog. I was really tired, but rather than go to bed, I fought to keep my eyes open so I could look at stupid pictures. You have been warned.

The Orange Box

Yes, I know this came out last year. But since I only just recently got my gaming PC running, I am only now able to bask in the Box’s glory. Portal is fantastic. Jen was there when I was playing, and she got a kick out of just listening to the funny, surreal dialog. It’s a real gem. Half Life 2 and its episodes are of course excellent. But the game that’s been sapping my time is Team Fortress 2. With nine character classes, ranging from Pyro to Sniper to Medic, you won’t get tired of this game soon. I’ve had it two weeks and I still play for hours each day.

Kona Grill

This restaurant, located in La Cantera, is delish. I command you to try the avocado egg rolls. They also have pizza, pasta, steaks, and sushi. Expect to wait a while for a table, though.

Trying new things

Jen, after watching me enjoy enchiladas for two years, finally tried some herself, and really liked them. I told you so.

Update: We also tried Indian food on Saturday, and it was a hit. The green goopy stuff was her favorite (it tastes better than it sounds), and the bread, called “nan”, made a perfect combination.

Amazon’s Post-Order Price Guarantee

July 11th, 2008

Just last week I bought a new E8400 processor from Amazon. I was going to buy it from Newegg, but I heard that Amazon has a 30-day price guarantee: if the price falls within 30 days of shipment, they’ll refund you the difference. I didn’t think I’d use it but it was nice to have.

Well wouldn’t you know, the very day after I received the processor, the price fell by $10. I headed over to Amazon, filled out the Contact Us form, and that same day my credit card was credited the difference!

Many online retailers offer price guarantees, so if all else is equal, choose the store with the best guarantee.

Update: The price dropped another $5, and I got credited the difference the same day! I’ve now been refunded $15.

Way Late Game Impressions: Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn (Wii)

July 7th, 2008

Sometimes it takes me a while to play a game. I like to wait until things go on sale, okay? Anyway, I will be reviewing games at irregular intervals.

Today’s game is Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn for Wii. 2007. Intelligent Systems/Nintendo. Rated Teen. 40+ hours.
Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn is the latest in a long line of Japanese strategy RPGs.

The story is kind of silly. It is presented melodramatically, with characters saying all their thoughts out loud. That is probably to compensate for the lack of cutscenes and animation. In fact, nearly all dialog is presented in text balloons on still images of the characters. That’s the same method they used in Final Fantasy III for Super Nintendo! I don’t know why they couldn’t have short, prerendered movies between the campaigns rather than this text crap. The opening movie is good, so I know they can do it, but why didn’t they?

This is the sequel to a Gamecube game, so you may want to play that one first to follow the story.
The gameplay is actually very good. You have to carefully maneuver your characters (from three to ten) around enemies on a grid to attack them. You have all your normal classes: fighter, healer, mage, etc. You are only allowed one save slot during battle, which is a pain. I understand the need to not allow unlimited “undos”, but only one save slot means you may have to play an entire battle over if you mess up.

The Normal difficulty setting is really quite challenging, so you may want to play the first few missions on Easy.

The game is played with the Wiimote held horizontally, like Mario Kart or Super Paper Mario. In fact, there are not waggle controls at all. The controls work well.

Online capabilities: none

Overall: Try it if you like puzzles and RPGs. I really enjoyed the gameplay, but the between-mission reading sessions really tried my patience.