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Back from NYC
by Jon on Monday, October 30, 2006 file under: Off Topic

Kortney and I have made it back safely from the east coast, and had quite an adventure. I have some video from the trip that I'm editing together, and quite a few pictures which I hope to post in the next few days.

Overall, our trip was fun, but I'll post more details when I get the pictures together.

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NYC, School, and Procrastination
by Jon on Tuesday, October 10, 2006 file under: Off Topic

It's been a while since I've made a "what's going on post," so here's what's going on!

In a week and a half, Kortney and I will be jetting across the country to the east coast for a (hopefully) relaxing, adventurous week in New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and then back to New York for a few days in NYC. For as much as I like big cities, I've never been to NYC. For that matter, I haven't really been up to the Northeast really. On our jaunt, we'll be trying to find some leaves, eat some clam chowda, and do whatever it is you do in New York City! (We actually have a lot planned for NYC, but that could be a whole post by itself).

I may or may not have posted that I'm taking classes at ASU, and that's been going, well, lets just say I've been busy. I'm taking two classes: Multimedia Systems (MMCCI, which has covered a lot of pattern classification, and multimedia feature extraction; and Operating System Internals - Linux, which covers a good chunk of the Linux source from an early 2.4 kernel (2.4.1 to be exact). So far, I've enjoyed the first class more then the second, but they are both terribly interesting and I'm glad that I have the opportunity to take them. I've learned so much, and its already affecting my development style.

My current assignment for MMCCI involves writing a pattern classifier, which is actually something I've wanted to do for a while. I'm hoping I can extend this code in the future, I think its a great starting point for more involved projects.

Projects at school have reinvigorated my like of C and C++. It's been a while since I've been able to program a "real" project in either of those languages, and it has been fun. I was a little rusty starting out again, but I feel like I'm more productive in these languages now then ever before. I really like the speed you get from a language that's compiled down to machine code. When thinking about projects lately, its generally a toss-up between Ruby and C/C++, but with Cocoa being Objective-C, that's always an option as well.

Between work and school, however, I haven't had much free time, and sometimes it even strains my relationship with Kortney. Despite finishing David Allen's GTD, I haven't really put his suggestions into practice. There's just so many things I want to do, and I find that overwhelming. After feeling overwhelmed, I decided to make a list of things to do, which again overwhelms me. It's really a vicious cycle.

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Birthday Bash
by Jon on Wednesday, June 21, 2006 file under: Off Topic

This weekend I christened the first day in my second quarter-century. What? I turned 25. Putting that down in bits makes me feel much better about the whole thing. The pixely display of my age is not nearly as frightening as the idea or the number of candles on my cake (which didn't quite count 25, but were still frightening enough!).

Kortney completely spoiled me this weekend. Saturday we had a lazy day of shopping, visiting an Apple store I had never been to, a fantastic, homemade Mexican dinner, a night out at the movies (my pick: Cars), and we topped it off with Tiramisu at the Macaroni Grill. Sunday was presents, a great church service, lunch at the Skeptical Chemist, relaxation, and fun with Kortney's family for dinner.

So what about the loot? How'd I come out? Ahead by a long shot, that's for sure. As I said, Kortney spoiled me: a bluetooth adapter, some nice new earbuds, a slick mouse pad, and some delicious BBQ sauce. My mom sent me a label maker, so I can get things done, and a great shirt; money from Dad, Granny, and Granny and Grandpa; Kortney's parents got me a Dremel with all the fixins, and a grilling toolset; the Star Wars trilogy on DVD from Troy and Kelly. Quite a haul!

I thought that 25 was going to be a crisis year for me, but one day into it, and I'm not so worried. I feel like there is so much opportunity open to me (possibly too much!). I suppose every year is interesting in its own way. However, with no major life events scheduled to occur this year, I'm really looking forward to what might be in store.

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States I've Lived In
by Jon on Monday, June 19, 2006 file under: Off Topic
Nebraska, Louisiana, Texas, Florida, Wisconsin, Virginia, Arizona
Permanent link to States I've Lived In




MI:3
by Jon on Friday, May 19, 2006 file under: Off Topic
MI:3

Kortney and I went to see MI:3 last night (on a school night, GASP!), and as you'd expect, its an edge of your seat action movie. It, however, falls into the trap that Alias has fallen into, and that many twist movies fall into: it treats the audience like they are morons. There might be spoilers ahead, so if you want to maintain the integrity of the MI:3's twist, you should probably stop reading now. I won't give away anything concrete, but I wouldn't want to ruin anything for you either.

Some people might thing twists are gimmicky, but I think when done well, they can work, and get your neuron's firing. The Sixth Sense and Memento are fantastic examples of movies with twists that work flawlessly, and both have similar characteristics. Throughout the movie, both of these give you clues as to what is happening. When the twist hits BAM, you start to remember all these subtle little references that go all the way back to the beginning of the movie, and you think to yourself, "It was all there right in front of me. The movie gave me everything I needed to know, and I completely missed it. Oh! That's why so-and-so said this, or whats-his-face did that, it all works!!" You play the movie back in your mind, you might even watch the movie again to pick up all the subtleties. You tell your friends that every time you watch it you notice something you didn't notice before, and everyone rejoices in the spectacle of phenomenal story telling! You feel empowered, because even though you might have have figured out the movie before the twist, you can go back through and retrace the formula and it all works like a complicated calculus algorithm that's been explained to you succinctly.

Movies like MI:3, on the other hand, don't empower you. They mock you, laughing all the way to the bank. They provide you with a roller coaster ride with a twist, but at the end, its over, and you get no satisfaction. There is nothing in the movie too justify the twist, in fact, there's often so much information contradicting the twist that the twist doesn't really even make sense. Then you realize, the story tellers weren't trying to help me, they weren't on my side, they were laughing at me, saying "We know something you don't know, we're so much smarter then you!" when the only reason they know something we don't know is because they haven't given us the opportunity to learn. Its like a college graduate mocking a 5 year old because the little one can't add, he hasn't been given enough information to know how to add, but if given enough information, even a 5 year old can perform that task. In the same way, MI:3 laughs at you in the final minutes mocking the audience with, "You didn't see that coming!" all while the audience thinks, "you never gave us any indication that would happen." The twist is no different then if Phillip Semour Huffman's character ripped off a mask at the end and revealed that he was, in fact, Abraham Lincoln. That's not fun for the audience, its just ridiculous.

J.J. Abrams, who also created Alias, is, however, no stranger to twists that mock the audience instead of engaging them. I think most Alias fans would agree that this past season has jumped the shark more then a few times. At the end of the shows (as of late), or the end of MI:3, there's no reason to go back and re-watch to catch what you've missed, because you haven't missed anything. During the entire story, everything that happens is meant to mislead you, to get you thinking in the wrong direction. In my opinion, that's not elegant story telling, that's a gimmick. It's like a David Blain or Keith Barry television special. Yeah, he's flying and doing all kinds of stuff, but everyone knows the tricks of editing and special effects, he's not doing anything that they couldn't reproduce on the local 5 O'Clock news. Seeing a good magician in person however, and being tricked when all the cards are laid out in front of you, gets you thinking. In the same way, a twist movie which gives you all the clues is powerful, masterful story telling. One that throws in a twist without throwing the audience a bone, is amateurish at best, and more likely indications of a sadistic, power-complex the director has.

If you're going to have a twist, make it good. Put all the clues right in front of my eyes, but get me to look the other way. When all is said and done, I'll want to go through the story again, which translates to more ticket sales. If you're going to sucker-punch me with a nonsensical twist at the end, don't expect me to care about the story or the repeat viewing. If the story teller doesn't have respect for the audience, the audience probably won't respect the story.

Permanent link to MI:3




Ru-roh George!
by Jon on Thursday, May 4, 2006 file under: Off Topic
Star Wars

In 1995 I remember walking through Target in Milwaukee, and seeing the Star Wars Trilogy on display with Darth Vader's familiar image prominently displayed. I think it was selling for $29.99, which, for a 14-year old at the time was quite a bit of money, but I scraped together my pennies, and purchased what I thought was the last video release of the original Star Wars Trilogy. Why would I think that? Because that's what George said on the box (emphasis mine):

"I am pleased that for the final video release of STAR WARS in its original version, we can present it with the best sound and picture quality yet available, thanks to THX Digital Mastering." - George Lucas, 1995

The special editions came and went, but I didn't mind, because I had the last release of the original, unaltered trilogy. I eventually went and bought the Laser Disc versions of the originals so I could have a high quality, digital versions which would fill in the gap left by the lack of a DVD release of the original trilogy.

So I was a little shocked this morning when I read that in September, the original, unaltered Star Wars Trilogy will be released on DVD. My first reaction was excitement that I wouldn't have to worry about keeping a laser disc player around because my final reason for having it was about to be made extinct. But then I started to feel cheated. 11 years ago, I shelled out what was, at least to me at the time, a lot of money to get the "final video release" of Star Wars, only to find that I was screwed over by a guy who between the original Star Wars in 1977 and Episode 1 in 1999 directed nothing but Paula Abdul's Rush Rush video.

In this day and age of sue-happy people, I wouldn't be surprised if this causes a class action lawsuit, but I don't know how much good it will do. In the 1976 GM's advertisements suggested the last convertible Cadillac was to be manufactured, but a mere two years later, new convertible caddies were being assembled again. A class action suit filed at the time failed to make any headway. IANAL, but the major difference I see is that GM's advertising suggested the last convertible Cadillacs were being made, while George Lucas stated point blankly that the final video release of Star Wars in its original version was in 1995.

Back in 2004, I wrote about resisting the urge to buy the special editions on dvd. Almost exactly two years later, I'll be faced with the same challenge, but this time for the DVDs that should have been released originally. Unfortunately, I'll probably go through the same internal conflict when Star Wars is released on Blue-ray.

Permanent link to Ru-roh George!




guacamole
by Jon on Tuesday, April 18, 2006 file under: Off Topic
Guacomole

I like guacomole... a lot. I like it on chips; I like it on tacos and burritos; I like it on chicken and burgers. Guacomole is good on just about anything.

I probably started making guac ten years ago. Between my Dad's avacodo tree, and my Mom's love for Mexican food, I had plenty of opportunities when I was living at home. I learned secrets from each of my parents, and eventually perfected my own recipe. Kortney would agree that it is hard to beat my guacomole, and for as long as we've been together, we haven't had guacomole that could compare to the creamy, green concoction that we craft at home. For a $6 appetizer at most Mexican restaurants, the guac better be good, but most of the time it can't hold a candle to the Hohle family recipe. It's so good in fact, that to my knowledge, no one has ever not liked my guacomole (guacomole-hater's aside).

Actually, I'm not even sure if you could call what I make guacomole. Sure it starts at the avacodos, but its imbued with the essence of New Orleans, and salted with a bit of Texas. It's definitely a departure from its Mexican origins. However, I chuckle when I see other guacomole recipes with their mayonaise and ketchup, recipies which include too few ingredients (guac is more then avacodes, salt, and lime...) or too many ingredients (simplicity and elegance is required...). I guess if they can call those things guac, my recipe sure is guac.

I haven't posted any original content lately, so I thought my guacomole recipe would be a good thing to post. But when I mentioned it to Kortney, she asked me to resist, and not share the secrets held in the oily-recesses of mashed avacodo meat. So, unfortunately, for many of you, you may never know what's we've become so familiar with. However, if you ever stop by and want your guacomole fix, we usually have a few avacodo's lying around and I'd be happy to indulge you (and myself!). But getting the recipe from me... you might have a harder time with that!

Permanent link to guacamole




Running with the GoDaddies
by Jon on Thursday, February 23, 2006 file under: Off Topic
running

A few weeks ago, I asked Jim if he ever went running over lunch, and from there things have snowballed. I think for the first two weeks, we only went out once, but this week we've gone out running thrice.

We go out for about three miles, sometimes more, somtimes less, but its always a great experience. The first run was just the two of us, but since, three more have come along, and sometimes there are more of us, sometimes there are less, but three or four is pretty consistent.

My lazy self hasn't run consistently in probably two and a half years (my active self has only thought about it), and it was a little challenging at first to get back into the swing of things, but like anything challenging, its a whole lot easier when there are people to encourage you and keep you accountable. I guess its a whole lot like most areas of life that take any appreciable amount of work.

I don't know when the next run is, but I do know that a few three mile runs have gotten my legs loose again. Now I just need to convince Kortney that running out in the heat really can be fun!

[I forgot to mention that nothing I say here or other places has anything to do with what GoDaddy says or thinks or feels, and the ideas are mine, and no one elses! (unless they want them, in which case they are free for all)]

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Happy Birthday Kortney
by Jon on Thursday, February 2, 2006 file under: Off Topic

Today is my beautiful wife's birthday! I won't disclose her age, but I will say:

Veels geluk met jou verjaarsdag!
Urime ditelindjen!
Gueter geburtsdaa!
Melkam lidet!
Eid milaad saeed! or Kul sana wa i tayeb/a!
Taredartzet shnorhavor! or Tsenund shnorhavor!
Eida D'moladukh Hawee Brikha!
Ois guade winsch i dia zum Gbuadsdog!
Suma Urupnaya Cchuru Uromankja!
Ad gununuz mubarek! Zorionak!
Ungil el cherellem!
Shuvo Jonmodin!
Maogmang Pagkamundag!
Hapi betde! or Yumi selebretem de blong bon blong yu!
Parab?ns a voc?! Parab?ns a voc?, nesta data querida muitas felicidades e muitos anos de vida.
Deiz-ha-bloaz laouen deoc'h!
Chestit Rojden Den!
Som owie nek mein aryouk yrinyu!
Bon aniversari!
Biba Kumplianos!
Sun Yat Fai Lok!
San Ni Kuai Lo!
Sang Ngit Fai Lok!
qu ni sheng er kuai le
San ruit kua lok!
Se Jit khuai lak!
NA ZHSHS
Sretan Rodendan!
Vsechno nejlepsi k Tvym narozeninam!!
Tillykke med fodselsdagen!
Ne gelukkege verjoardach!
Ne geleukkege verjoardoag!
Fellisiteert!
Gelukkige verjaardag! or Prettige verjaardag!
Fan herte lokwinske!
Proficiat! or Perfisia!
Ne geleukkege verjeurdoag!
Gefeliciteard met oen'n verjoardag!
Hartelijk gefeliciteerd!
Happy Birthday!
Felichan Naskightagon!
Palju onne sunnipaevaks!
Zorionak zure urtebetetze egunean!
Tillukku vid fodingardegnum!
Tavalodet Mobarak!
Hyvaa syntymapaivaa!
Bonne Fete!
Joyeux Anniversaire!
Lokkiche jierdei!
L? breithe mhaith agat!
Co` latha breith sona dhuibh!
Ledicia no teu cumpreanos!
Gilotcav dabadebis dges!
Allis Guedi zu dim Fescht!
Ois Guade zu Deim Geburdstog!
Ick wuensch da allet Jute zum Jeburtstach!
Es Muentschi zum Geburri!
Ewllews Gewtew zewm Gewbewrtstewg. Mew!
Allmecht! Iich wuensch Dir aan guuadn Gebuardsdooch!
Haerzliche Glueckwuensche zum Geburtstag!
Haezzlische Glickwunsch zem Gebordsdach!
Ick wuensch Di allns Gode ton Geburtsdach!
Ich gratelier Dir aach zum Geburtstag!
Allet Gute zum Gebuatstach!
Alles Gudde for dei Gebordsdaach!
Herzlischen Gliggwunsch zum Geburdsdaach!
Aelles Guade zom Gebordzdag!
Ois Guade zum Geburdsdog!
Alles Gute zum Geburtstag!
Eytyxismena Genethlia!
Inuuinni pilluarit!
Fielsteerd mit joen verjoardag!
Janma Divas Mubarak!
Saal Mubarak!
Vy-Apave Nde Arambotyre!
Hau`oli la hanau!
Yom Huledet Same'ach!
Masadya gid nga adlaw sa imo pagkatawo!
Janam Din ki shubkamnaayein!
Boldog szuletesnapot!
Til hamingju med afmaelisdaginn!
Selamat Ulang Tahun!
Co` latha breith sona dhut! Or Breithla Shona Dhuit!
Buon Compleanno!
Bun Cumpleani!
At faz tent avguri ad bon cumplean!
Otanjou-bi Omedetou Gozaimasu!
Slamet Ulang Taunmoe!
Bouon Anniversaithe!
Huttida Habba Subashayagalu!
Mayap a Kebaitan
Voharvod Mubarak Chuy!
Tughan kuninmen!
Quchjaj qoSlIj!
Saeng il chuk ha ham ni da!
Rojbun a te piroz be!
Tulgan kunum menen!
Fortuna dies natalis!
Daudz laimes dzimsanas diena!
Sveikinu su gimtadieniu!
Nkwagaliza amazalibwa go amalungi!
Vill Gleck fir daei Geburtsdaag!
Sreken roden den!
Janmadinasamsakal!
Selamat Hari Jadi!
Nifrahlek ghal gheluq sninek!
Kia huritau ki a koe!
Wadhdiwasachya Shubhechha!
mo swet u en bonlaniverser!
Leleng ambai pa mbeng ku taipet i!
Torson odriin mend hurgee!
bil hoozho bi'dizhchi-neeji' 'aneilkaah!
Ick gratuleer di scheun!
Janma dhin ko Subha kamana!
Gratulerer med dagen!
Janmadina Abhinandan!
Masha Pabien I hopi a?a mas!
Padayish rawaz day unbaraksha!
Tavalodet Mobarak!
Maligayang kaarawan sa iyo!
Wszystkiego najlepszego zokazji urodzin! wszystkiego najlepszego z okazji urodzin
Parabens pelo seu aniversario!
Feliz Aniversario! or Parabens!
Janam din diyan wadhayian!
Janam ghaanth ri badhai, khoob jeeyo!
La Multi Ani!
Feneligiz Cunumplegeanagonos!
S dniom razhdjenia!
Lihkos Riegadanbeaivvis!
Manuia lou aso fanau!
Ravihi janmadinam aacharati!
Achent'annos! Achent'annos!
Vill Gl?ck zum Geburri!
Srecan Rodjendan!
Vsetko najlepsie k narodeninam!
Vse najboljse za rojstni dan!
Masego motsatsing la psalo!
Feliz Cumplea?os!
Suba Upan dinayak vewa!
Wilujeng Tepang Taun!
Mi fresteri ju!
Hongera! or Heri ya Siku kuu!
Grattis p? f?delsedagen
Tahnyotho or brigo!
Maligayang Bati Sa Iyong Kaarawan!
San leaz quiet lo!
Piranda naal vaazhthukkal!
Janmadina subha kankshalu!
Puttina Roju Shubakanksalu!
Suk San Wan Keut!
Droonkher Tashi Delek!
Putudina dina saukhya!
Dogum gunun kutlu olsun!
Z dnem narodjennia!
Janam Din Mubarak
Saalgirah Mubarak!
Chuc Mung Sinh Nhat!
Malipayong adlaw nga natawhan!
Penblwydd Hapus i Chi!
Imini emandi kuwe!
A Freilekhn Gebortstog!
Eku Ojobi!
Ilanga elimndandi kuwe!
Permanent link to Happy Birthday Kortney




Grappa
by Jon on Friday, November 18, 2005 file under: Off Topic
grappa
Grappa - Blue Random
Permanent link to Grappa




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