Aug 11, 2004

Anyone will tell you it's a prisoner island...

First of all, picture show and tell!

The cool, damp, grey uplifting majesty of a rainy day...

North cliffs on a stormy day...

Scenic Bike Ride 1...

Scenic Bike Ride 2...

And now, a nice list of songs I've been enjoying immensely lately (needless to say, I recommend all of them):

"On Top of the World" - Gouryella
"Popcorn" - Kraftwerk
"Feel For You" - The Mystery
"Never Never Land" - Infected Mushroom
"Satellite" - Oceanlab
"Cancer" - Filter
"Great Southern Land" - Icehouse
"Our Future" - Deep Forest
"Blue Monday" - New Order
"Ballroom Blitz" - Wayne's World Version
"Origami Moon" - Origins
"Life is Too Short" - Kai Tracid
"Nothing Left" - Orbital
"Everything's Not Lost" - Coldplay
"Big Mouth Strikes Again" - Chumbawamba
"Pop Star Kidnap" - Chumbawamba
"If it is to be, it is up to me" - Chumbawamba
"1969" - Boards of Canada
"La Femme d'Argent" - Air
"Talisman" - Air
"Still Fighting It" - Ben Folds Five
"Run" - Collective Soul
"Erase and Rewind" - The Cardigans
"All Day" - Ministry
"Natural" - DJ Jean Djaxx
"Extreme Ways" - Moby
"Rushing" - Moby
"Era (Nostalgia Mix)" - TaQ
"Wavy Gravy" - DJ Sasha

I could go on and on, but due to time constraints, I'll move ahead to further action.

I finally got around to downloading Mozilla Firefox V. 0.9, and almost immediately after using it for the first time, I concluded that Internet Explorer had better start watching its back. Not only does this browser contain a built-in pop-up blocker, an extension can be downloaded which also prevents the user from ever seeing many other types of annoying advertising, such as kangaroos hopping across the screen and other such jive. Another extension allows the user to navigate using "mouse gestures." I have it set so that drawing an imaginary "0" with my mouse while holding down the right-click button takes me back to It's a lazy, but efficient method of browsing. Being able to edit CSS in real time is another terrific feature, as is Spiderzilla, which allows me to download entire websites and all their content at once. And I just can't rave enough about how nice it is to view multiple websites in the same browser window. I imagine this browser will become quite mainstream once the first non-beta version is released... it might very well replace Explorer as -the- browser of choice. Knowing Microsoft, though, it'll probably try to outdo Mozilla by imitating them in nearly every department.

I've been spending an hour or two a day playing Starfox Adventures for Game Cube, and I must tell you, it's magnificent. It's difficult for me to get into many modern day games, as most of them unbearably boring to me, but SA is certainly an exception. I find myself strangely drawn to some of the characters, namely the male fox aptly named Fox (whom I currently control), and the female fox named Krystal. To simply navigate this handsome, adorable furry around is a pleasure in itself, but the realms we explore... my goodness, they are nothing short of breathtaking. The streams, waterfalls, trees, mountains, animals, and dinosaurs are all so perfectly rendered they almost look real. I spend much of my time just wandering around admiring the visuals, imagining I'm lost in this majestic world. I truly do feel captivated by it more times than not. The sun regularly rises and sets, leaving me free to wander about the night and gaze up at the stars until dawn reawakens. Then, there's the unexpected cloudbursts... sudden rainstorms sweep over the realm, and to gaze up at the lightning show is nothing short of spectacular. This game is more than a game for me, really... it's a separate world I can escape to. It inspires my imagination more than any video game has in a long, long time. And I'm told I have yet to get to best parts of the game... ahhh.

I watched [i]Who Wants to be a Millionaire?[/i] the other day, the first time since arriving back home, and I was reminded of something I've always found perplexing. How is it that when a contestant in the hot seat uses his or her 'phone a friend' lifeline, their friend/relative always answers on the first ring? How many people are likely to pick up on the first ring, or even be available? I wish the scant few I try to get ahold of by telephone would always pick up on the first ring. With Millionaire, it always works so flawlessly. Well, I suppose it should. Imagine Regis or what's-her-name sitting around staring at the contestant while the phone continues to ring for a few minutes... that would place an awful lot of pressure on the contestant, certainly, and qualify as empty air time. "Pick up, damn you!" Obviously, it's all pre-arranged, which makes me wonder about the entire show. I can most easily deduce that they don't actually call anyone at all, and "their friends at AT&T" probably connect to someone backstage hired to be that contestant's "friend." You just can't expect me to believe that every contestant always reaches some random friend of theirs on the very first ring. Of course, there's reality TV, which is an oxymoron if I ever heard one. There is reality, and there is television, but there is no reality television. Anything can happen in reality; the conditions are not controlled in any shape or form, whereas television is staged. They wouldn't let anyone on Survivor starve to death or die of dysentery. In reality, people don't follow you around everywhere with microphones and cameras or vote you off the island because you came in last place on the beach bamboo-jabbing competition. That's why reality television is something I will probably never come to appreciate. It's nearly as phony as a movie on the Sci-Fi channel, and it has the nerve to label itself "reality programming."

We purchased a new notebook computer, a Dell Inspiron 1000– for the family, my father reasoned, though I'll be the primary user of it as I take it off to school with me. At a little under $900, its processor speed is more than twice as fast as my four year old computer's. So much more enjoyable is riding the wave of technology than ending up stuck in the trough. It's not a replacement for my desktop, but a decent computer I can take into my apartment, as well as essentially anywhere I choose. It'll probably be a convenient tool to take to classes where heavy note-taking may be required, and certainly to the library, where I may want to set aside a few hours for studying before exams. I'm sure it would do well at Borders as well, when I wish to do research in a little more enjoyable place. I can leave this big, clunky computer desk and desktop here, and take advantage of something much more sleek and portable. The current moving out date is August 22. Seeing as I'm only moving to the opposite coast, I needn't take too many possessions with me. Ideally, I'll have my computer and high-speed Internet soon after I get there, but I've learned not to expect too much. I'm not dependent on technology to get me by, thankfully. In high school, I never thought I'd say this, but I'm entirely excited about starting my new semester.

Hm... in just a few minutes, my father and I are going to make the hour and ten minute drive up to the Mauna Kea Visitor Center. At approximately 9,000 feet elevation or so, and far, far away from any lights at all, it's a great place to view the sky. Professional and amateur astronomers alike are going to have colossal telescopes set up all over the place, and there's going to be plenty of free hot chocolate. The August meteor shower is truly a sight to behold in a place like this... I wandered off into the pasture behind the house last night and laid back against the grass, and witnessed maybe 50 meteors in a matter of twenty minutes. Some left brilliant trails of light which only completely faded away after several seconds. B-e-a-utiful. So, this little excursion should be fun, even though we may not make it back home until 6 or 7 in the morning, or later. I don't have to be anywhere tomorrow, so all is well. I should enjoy the remainder of my vacation while it's still here.

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