zrath: Zrath-Smiley as a TRON program (ISD)

So I went to a LUGOLA meeting today.
Over the past two days, I built a quicky spaceship just to have something to show.
The gang seemed to like it.
I'll take photos of it tomorrow and stick them on Flickr.
It's a submariny-squiddy spaceship in yellow and white and grey.
When one of the LUGOLAians first saw it, he said "we can all live in it!". :D
The main reason for going to the meeting was to buy a Lego set from one of my fellow members.
It's a set I've wanted since it was released in 2002. It's my favorite Star Wars ship.
It's been released in other sizes, but this is the BIG one.
I am now the proud owner of a new still-sealed Universal Collectors Series version of the Imperial Star Destroyer.
I'm so happy!!!
I have no idea when I will build it, it's a bit of a challenge.
It's over 3 feet long and it contains over 3000 parts.

In other news, Gabrielle Union is smoking hot.
She was on Monday's Craig Ferguson, which I've just watched, and she was smoking hot, witty, and adorable.

And now, I sleep.
And hopefully dream of Gabrielle Union. :D

zrath: Zrath-Smiley as a TRON program (Pirate)

So it's Sunday Night and I'm posting a weekend report for the previous weekend.
Onwards with the general faffing! :D

Saturday Sep. 19th was International Talk Like A Pirate Day, so I wore my one pirate-themed t-shirt.
I took care of some stuff, then headed down to Vista, CA, for the big combined Lego user group meeting.
Vista is East of Oceanside, which is itself south of Camp Pendleton, the big-ass US Marines base.
So yeah, it's a bit of a drive. I think it took me about two hours to get there.
I filled up the F(n)ord (St)Ranger at the cheap Arco near my ex-work, reset the tripometer, then did the
La Cienega boogie to rejoin the 405 and bypass the pre-LAX madness. Then I followed the 405 down down
down to the 5 and hit the usual patch of slowdown. Argh!
It eventually cleared up and everybody was doing 80 past the San Onofre nuclear power plant.
The meeting started at 1pm and I got there at 2pm. So, pretty much my usual arrival time for these things.
There was a lot of people there. I estimate about 40 people at one time.
The meeting had attendees from both LUGOLA (my group) and SANDLUG (the Sand Diego Lego user group).
There were some nifty MOCs on display, but I didn't take any photos, because Tim blocked my box with all
his stuff and I couldn't get to my camera. He brought this huge military Hummvee that was too stubby.
One guy had some "Crimson Skies" inspired airplanes. I want to build some airplanes like that.
I brought along the SCAP strike package, Weapon M, a flying sub I built from an Agents set last month,
and a new mothership with detachable fighters MOC I had finished that week. I also brought Space Carrier
Saratoga, the big ugly blocky thing I built from the Mega Bloks contained in The Tub.
Few people seemed to notice it was Mega Bloks. I overhead a couple of guys talking about it though:

Guy 1: "Hey, that's Mega Bloks."
Guy 2: "What, the boat?"
G1: "Yeah."
G2: "Who the hell brings a Mega Bloks MOC to a LUG meeting?"
G1: "Probably some kid."

There was the usual club activities, along with plenty to eat and drink. I met a lot of new people whom
I'm probably not gonna see again because they're SANDLUG members and I don't attend their meetings.
I got a phone call from Jean-Louis, who alerted me that his cousin was ready to lend us the boat to take
care of Pascal's ashes this weekend. Since I was out of town, we agreed on Sunday afternoon.
It was really hot in there, so I slipped out and went to sit outside on the lawn. It was cooler outside.
There were already people there too. :)
As people started leaving, things got a little silly. I grabbed Space Carrier Saratoga and started gently
poking random people with it, saying "oh nooooooo, it's Mega Bloks. It's touching YOU! The horror!".
It was all in good fun. And I was the biggest and tallest guy there, so no one dared try anything! :D
The meeting lasted a good long while, eventually breaking up around 6pm.
I packed my stuff and started the long drive home, which was faster than the drive in, of course.
It was getting to be dinner time, and I was famished, having only nibbled on a few things at the meeting.
So I stopped at the Inglewood Blvd. In-N-Out Burgers, which is, like, right next to the freeway.
I mean, seriously! You get off the 405 and you're in the In-N-Out parking lot! CONVENIENT! :D
I had a couple of Double-Doubles, fries, and a drink and it was the most delicious meal of the week!
Eventually, I got home and plotzed.

Sunday Sep. 20th: I drove to Malibu to meet Jean-Louis at his cousin's house. We took the boat out and
committed Pascal's ashes to the Ocean. All the details are in the next post, which is friends-only.
The post contains many photos and is of a personal nature, hence the friends-only lock.

So yeah, there was a lot of driving that weekend. Much of it was freeway driving.
This explains why I've squeezed the most miles out of a tank of gas EVAR!
I normally get somewhere between 220 and 250 miles on one tank.
Check THIS out:

That's what the tripometer and gas gauge looked like Sunday Night, after I got back from Malibu.
287.7 miles! And the gas gauge needle is barely touching the edge of the red area.
When I refilled the (St)Ranger the next day, the tripometer was reading 295.5 miles.
Trip out!
My old '94 Ford Explorer (Simba) had a similar engine and gas tank and it never gave more than 240 miles.

zrath: Zrath-Smiley as a TRON program (Batman)

There's been no word from the French Consulate about the job I interviewed for.
I've sent some more resumes out for various jobs, including a QA Lead position at 2K Games.
Nothing new on the grandmother thing. I expect this will take forever.
A wire transfer popped up in my bank account a couple of days ago. It wasn't much, but it was enough to
take care of a couple of problems that would have made me unable to pay my October rent on time.
The transfer was from the SACEM, so looks like the paperwork has finally gone through.
I've decided to sell the 3 Lego Classic Space bases from The Tub after all. I need the money.
I still have a bunch of sets and minifigures on eBay, including the new Power Miners mini-sets right here.
There's a big LUGOLA meeting this Saturday, near Legoland Carlsbad. It's a joint meeting with SANDLUG,
the San Diego Lego User Group, so that should be interesting. And a bit of a drive.
I just completed a new Lego MOC (My Own Creation) for the meeting and I'm happy with it. I'll be bringing
it along with the SCAP strike package, Weapon M, the Agents flying sub, and the big scary Mega Bloks ship.
There will be pictures on Flickr some time in the future.
My sleep schedule is totally screwed up. I woke up at 6pm, did some computer and eBay stuff until 10pm,
then showered and dressed and went out to get dinner. Then I came back and ate dinner while watching
two Season 7 episodes of "Smallville". Damn, Brainiac is an asshole. Then I cracked open Volume 4 of
"Batman: The Animated Series" and watched Disc 1 while finishing my Lego MOC for the Saturday meeting.
Volume 4 contains the post-redesign episodes, were Joker suddenly has "Genesis Cooke reverse eyeballs"
(black eyes with white pupils), Bruce Wayne looks like Clark Kent from "Superman: TAS" but with blue eyes
and black hair, Poison Ivy looks elfin and unhealthy, and Catwoman lost all definition. Grrrrrr...
The Scarecrow did look scarier though, what with the noose and the Leatherface mask and the preacher's rags.
And the writing is still there, which is the most important part.
It's now approaching 6am and I'm going to try to get some sleep and return some normalcy to my schedule.
Good morning!

zrath: Zrath-Smiley as a TRON program (Surf's Up!)

WARNING: the following post contains blatant Lego neepery. Proceed with caution.)

So back on Saturday June 20th, there was a LUGOLA meeting and I was planning to attend.
I wanted to bring something for display, so I decided to build the kind of MOC I love: a spaceship.
(MOC = My Own Creation. It's Lego-speak for stuff people build that's not a factory set)
I like the Lego Mars Mission theme, what with the mostly white vehicles with black and orange trim,
so I used 3 sets as a source: Ultra-Drill Walker, Hypersonic Operations Aircraft, and Recon Dropship.
I wanted to build something big, with extra features, so I needed a lot of parts.
Unfortunately, I had a bunch of stuff to do during the week, so I didn't get cracking on the MOC until
the evening of Thursday June 18th. I fired up the DVD player, dumped all the Lego parts on the table,
and went to work. I designed a pair of gunships first, I was planning to attach them to a mothership.
I christened them Orca-class gunships, because of their shape and coloring.
It took about 8 hours to complete the two Orcas before I knocked and went to bed. I had watched 2 DVDs:
Disc 2 Season 10 of "Top Gear" (4 episodes) and Disc 2 Season 2 of "FutureWeapons" (5 episodes).
I resumed work on the MOC at about 7pm on Friday June 19th. The mothership was tough to come up with.
I wanted it to have a cargo bay in rear for some kind of armed buggy, but that meant making a big ship.
Lego is notorious for skimping on parts and making spaceships that aren't always sealed or fully enclosed.
And I had a lot of Technic beams, with holes in them. I had to attach parts to them to cover the holes.
That's a pet peeve of mine, spaceships with unsealed cockpits.
I worked and reworked and rereworked the design of the mothership until I had something workable.
The cross-section of the mothership turned out to be narrower, but just as tall as I imagined.
When the rear section was 80% done, I concentrated on building the front section and cockpit.
I finished the mothership and was fairly happy with the result. Now there was only one thing left to do:
design and build the armed buggy for the cargo bay.
It had to be cool, it had to have guns, and it had to actually fit in the cargo bay.
By the time 5am rolled around, I had finished the buggy, but it didn't fit! Aaaaaaargh!
I redesigned it so the guns were slung lower, which meant removing 2 guns. I fiddled with other bits,
and eventually it fit! And it was cool! And it had 6 guns (down from 8)!
And it was 5:30am and the meeting started at 11am! So I went to bed.
The DVD player had not been used this time. The VCR had played for me 5 episodes of MST3K to help me in
my task: "King Dinosaur", "Wild Rebels", "The Hellcats", "Cave Dwellers", and "Crash Of The Moons".
I woke up at 11am and made it to the LUGOLA meeting at noon.
And I unveiled my MOC, the SCAP (Self-Contained Attack Pod) strike package.
It's called a "pod" because it's a group of cetaceans. The mothership is a Rorqual-class attack transport,
the two fighters are Orca-class gunships, and the armed buggy is a Fluke-type mobile artillery unit.
And here is the SCAP strike package in all its glory on Flickr.

There were parts left over, and I made something else with them. Watch for that soon.

zrath: Zrath-Smiley as a TRON program (Mug)

Dang! It's already Thursday and I haven't posted a weekend report. I better get to it!
Actually, this report will go back a little further than the weekend itself.

My dinner with Dagoski, and LUGOLA Saturday... )

Thursday: That's today! I have my ticket for "Star Trek" on IMAX, so I'm pretty excited.
After work, I'm gonna go home, change, have a bite of dinner, then zoom to The Bridge on the 405. Wooh!!
From what people have been saying, it will be fun at the very least.
Love long and perspire! :D

Mar. 13th, 2009 06:48 pm


zrath: Zrath-Smiley as a TRON program (Oxygene)

Well, looks like I won't be seeing "Watchmen" this weekend. I'm gonna be beeee-zay! (No, not Bizet!)
On Saturday, I've got my LUGOLA meeting at 11am and then I'm going straight to work at 1pm.
What's cool is that the LUGOLA meeting place is awesomely located 5 minutes away from work!
On Sunday, I'm going in to work as well.
So yea for overtime!

More eMusic stuff:
I'm not sure I've mentioned this already, so I'll mention it anyway.
eMusic now carries tunes from Dreyfus Jazz, which is Jean-Michel Jarre's label.
His first three albums are available: "Oxygène", "Equinoxe", and "Les Chants Magnétiques".
("Chants Magnétiques" is a pun. "Chants" means "songs/chants", "champs" means "fields". They're pronounced the same.)
Also available is the 1995 live album "Hong Kong".
There's also a double-CD of Jean-Michel Jarre music played by the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra.
It's called "The Symphonic Jean Michel Jarre" and is on the Silva Screen label.
I'm not too crazy about it.
Trufax: Jean Michel Jarre was the first Western artist allowed to play a concert in China.
Trufax: Jean Michel Jarre rocks entire cities and has audience numbers in the millions.
Trufax: Jean Michel Jarre plays the theremin.
Trufax: Jean Michel Jarre is the son of Maurice Jarre, soundtrack composer of "Lawrence Of Arabia" and countless more.
Trufax: "Equinoxe" is the first album I ever bought with my own money. This was in 1978 and I was a wee lil' Kzinten.
My dad and I went half-and-half on the cassette version. I still have that cassette, along with "Oxygène".
Take a listen at Jean Michel's stuff, it's pretty nifty!

zrath: Zrath-Smiley as a TRON program (Frenchman)

Friday: Called Joe at the garage that fixed the Fnord Stranger before I took delivery of it.
Told him about the cracked hose. He offered to fix it for free if I could find the right hose.
Well, that gave me my mission for the day!
I duct-taped the crack on the hose, filled the radiator, and went to Pep Boys to find the hose.
Apparently, they don't have the car diagrams anymore, so it was a complete waste of time. I went to
the nearby Westside Pavilion to make a payment on my T-Mobile account and keep my cellphone turned on.
While there, I discovered that the Japanese toy store "PowerAnime" had not, in fact, closed.
It had relocated to a larger, ground-floor space. Somebody had forgotten to put a sign about the move
on the old storefront way back in October when I tried going back there. Harrumph!
Anyway, this gave time to the Stranger to cool down enough for me to refill the radiator.

Went to the local Ford extortionist dealer to gather some data on the needed hose.
The Ford Parts Guy had problems understanding my accent.
Kzin: "Hi, I need a part."
Parts Guy: "A bolt?"
K: "No, a part. A spare part. A hose."
PG: "What kinda hose? There's a lot of 'em."
K: "I don't know what it's called."
I described in detail where the hose was and what it was connected to. I asked him to put up an
exploded diagram of the truck on-screen so I could point to the part. He replied that he didn't have
such a diagram. Okay, what the hell? I remember clearly such diagrams available at car parts dealers,
both dealers and 3rd party, and now they've all disappeared! Nobody ported them to the computers!
This is stupid and damned inconvenient! While at Pep Boys, I looked through a Chilton car repair book
and nowhere did I see an exploded diagram of the vehicle with all parts labelled and numbered!
Anyway, Ford Parts Guy brought up a super simple diagram showing the heating system and, miracles
of miracles, the hose I was looking for. I pointed to it and he worked the keyboard some more.
Now, this hose I needed was roughly 8 inches long and 1.5 inches in diameter. Pretty small.
"Oh, this is an expensive hose," he clucks. "Over $90 at least..."
He is not kidding. I wasn't planning to buy it there anyway, I just wanted the info.
He didn't have the hose in stock, but he printed out the diagram for me to have, so that was cool.

I immediately took off for Kragen Auto Parts, which is where I had wanted to go in the first place.
The guy at Kragen was incredibly cool. He let me walk in the back and look at the hoses they had in
stock to see if I could find a close match. Then, he let me walk out of the store with the hose so
I could measure it against the existing one. The hose I found was a really close fit, so I bought it.
It cost me all of $9. Mission accomplished! WIN!!! \O/
I came home and found an e-mail from Genex in my box. I did not get the job. They chose someone with
more web server testing experience. Nom de dieu de bordel de putain de couilles de merde!
I dejectedly crashed in front of the TV and watched some "John Adams", the HBO miniseries, on DVD.

Saturday: Got up at 7am (hisssssssssss!!!), showered, dressed, grabbed a few things, refilled
the truck's radiator and took off for Joe's place to get the hose put on. Traffic was wonderfully
light and I got there quickly. After the truck had cooled down, hose installation commenced.
The hose turned out to be the perfect inner and outer diameter. It was a bit long, but that was easily
remedied with a little cutting with a very sharp blade. In the end, it fit perfectly.
The engine was run for several minutes to make sure everything was good, all fluids were checked and
topped up. I shook Joe's hand vigorously, thanking him for being such a cool guy and doing this free.

With that taken care of, I headed for Torrance to attend the monthly LUGOLA meeting.
I eyed the gas gauge nervously the whole time because it was getting low, and I was out of cash.
I had a Lego set with me that I was hoping to sell to get some gas and food money.

LUGOLA meeting details and photos here )

The weather was hot, the apartment was crowded, but we still had a good time!
And I sold my Lego set so, upon leaving the meeting, I immediately put gas in the Stranger.
Then I stopped at Red Robin for lunch on the way home. I had an A1 Peppercorn Cheeseburger, and boy
was it ever peppery! Also, two baskets of those Bottomless Fries with mayo on the side. :)
Red Robin is a pretty cool joint, they have yet to screw up on me.
I got home at around 6pm and just chilled. I watched more "John Adams".

Sunday: I was hoping to be in the Valley by 10am to help [livejournal.com profile] selenesue with stuff moving but
I was, wait for it, "le tired"!! Bwahahahahahaha-snort! Ahem...
So I got there a little later but just in time to stuff the Stranger full of boxes (cue Tetris Song 2!).
And then we stuffed a friend's Exploder full of stuff. Selene's got too much stuff...
We caravaned to the house and unloaded everything with help of a friend's two nephews, or something.
Then we went to the old place and loaded the Stranger and Exploder again. Greg The Jedi showed up
to help load stuff. We caravaned to the house again and unloaded the stuff. I was still achy-breaky
from the Thursday Sound System Deployment & Evac Drill, so I couldn't lift the heavy boxes of books.
I was thankful Greg was there to do that. I was completely drenched in sweat during the whole thing.
Selene treated the survivors to supper at the nearby Sizzler's, and the food was, and remember that
this is a Frenchman talking, to use the current jargon, "meh". At least mine was.
Also, the ketchup was not Heinz. It was a Heinz bottle but the ketchup tasted cheap and watered-down.
I thought there was something wrong with my fries but it was, in fact, the ketchup.
I enjoyed the fully operational air conditioning in Selene's new house for a while, then went home.
Jean-Louis was supposed to come by and get his sound system, but he didn't make it.
I showered and relaxed in front of the TV to watch the rest of "John Adams".
And thus the weekend ended...

zrath: Zrath-Smiley as a TRON program (BladeRunner)

Well, I don't know about all y'all, but I had a smashing weekend! Simply smashing!

It was kicked off by [livejournal.com profile] coyoteseven and I attending a LUGOLA (Lego User Group Of Los Angeles) meeting on
Saturday Morning (well, we tried for morning, but got there a little past noon).

Dark rituals of secret societies exposed! With photos! )

And then, on Sunday, the Sibling and I went to see "Blade Runner: The Final Cut" at the Landmark.

The Landmark is a brand new theater housed in the Westside Pavilion expansion, which also contains a Barnes & Noble.
It's a rather swanky cinema with wide leather seats, stadium seating, assigned seating, high quality concessions, ushers,
announcers, and the kind of service you just don't get anymore at multiplexes. It's like The Bridge, but REALLY nice.
Tickets are $11 for evenings and weekends. Matinees are $9 on weekdays only. This is actually not too bad.
My usual theater is the Culver City Stadium 12 and charges $8.50 for matinees. They do matinees on weekends though.
But the Landmark is a heck of a lot closer to us!
The Arclight in Hollywood is also very nice, but a lot more expensive and parking is a major pain in the ass.
The Landmark has a ton of parking, since it's in a mall.
Also, the seats are wide. How wide? I can seat down and lower both armrests and be comfortable!
This has never happened at the Culver City Stadium 12 OR The Bridge Cinema! I always need to keep one armrest up!
So yeah, I think I have a new favorite theater. :)

Oh yeah, the movie!
There are new DVDs of "Blade Runner" on the way (December 18th), and a new cut of the film ("The Final Cut").
So the studio decided to do some limited screenings of the new cut on the big screen.
I've seen the film tons of times, in three different flavors: theatrical, home video, and Director's Cut.
I had no clue as to what was new with this Final Cut, so it was to be a complete surprise.
I doubted that Ridley Scott would put the narration back in (though I kinda like it), and he didn't.
The "happy ending" (stock footage of driving to the Overlook Hotel is happy?!?! :D ) was also nowhere to be seen.
So in that respect, the Final Cut is a lot like the Director's Cut. The Unicorn Dream Sequence is in there, but shorter.
Some of the scenes are longer, with extra music and dialogue. Also, Warren (no LJ) attended the Blade Runner panel at
San Diego Comic Con this year and told me that the running-through-glass scene with Zhora was reshot for the Final Cut.
In the original film, a body double did the crashing, but said body double didn't really look like Joanna Cassidy.
So they got Joanna to come back and they reshot the scene with her. And holy crap, it looks almost completely the same!
After 25 years, the film holds up rather well. It's really unique, and beautiful.
The film was projected with a Sony AltaX4 digital projection system, which the announcer claimed had resolution
"4 times higher than the highest resolution HD TV you can get at Best Buy". And holy crap, was the picture ever crisp!
If it's playing near you, you oughta check it out. It's a treat.

Goofy Moments In Home Viewing: Part 4012
Saturday Night, I was watching "Lord Of The Rings: Return of The King" Extended Edition with the Sibling. (4 hours!)
At the scene when the giant eagles show up, my brother quipped "Ouais! Voila les Américains!"
("Awright! Here come the Americans!") I laughed and replied:
"Yea! It's the 235th Tactical Squadron out of Edwards Air Force Base! Nazgul at 12 o'clock! All units break and attack!"

You had to be there...


zrath: Zrath-Smiley as a TRON program (Default)

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