Pax (funcrunch) wrote,

What I've been up to

Various things I've been meaning to post but haven't since I didn't think they'd be of particular interest to anyone. So most of this long post is hidden behind cuts.

Last Monday boyziggy and I went to see Big Fish.

I wasn't expecting much from it as I had read a bad review of it and it looked sort of cheesy from the commercials. But it was quite sweet. Not flawless, but fun to watch and touching. I'm sure Ziggy won't mind me saying that he was in tears by the end, and I was a bit choked up myself.

Seeing this film made me understand why Ziggy likes going to the movies so much. This was the perfect Ziggy-esque film, filled with larger-than-life characters and wacky adventures. I prefer to rent as I have more control over my environment and don't have to pay $9 or $10 a ticket, but I'm glad we went to the theater to share this one.

Speaking of movies, I found some software to catalog my DVDs, and updated the software to export my iTunes list.

I mentioned the iTunes Catalog shareware program in a previous LJ entry. The latest version is better about getting the correct album art, so I've updated my web page listing my iTunes (with and without art).

Doing this made me think that I'd like to have a similar program for cataloging my DVDs. A Google search produced ReaderWare, which is cool because it can read scanned-in bar codes, but it has a clunky Java interface and costs $40. So instead I opted to try DVD Cache, which is still in beta but has a proper OS X interface and downloads the details from the Internet Movie Database. I don't have many DVDs yet, but they're here if you want to see them.

On Friday Ziggy and I went to the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts for the opening night of the exhibit Bang the Machine: Computer Gaming Art and Artifacts.

I heard about the exhibit through The Sims Online, which I rarely play anymore but I still scan the message boards. The TSO exhibit was only a small part of the event, but it was interesting because it featured an in-game replication of the real-life event. So you could sit at a computer terminal running TSO, and within the game sit at a terminal in the virtual representation of the same space, thus making for a sort of infinite recursion.

The highlight for me was meeting Will Wright, the creator of SimCity and The Sims. I introduced him to Ziggy as the person who got me hooked on SimCity before I started playing The Sims, and Will said something like "Oh, men play SimCity and women play The Sims." So I felt a bit like a demographic. But it was fun meeting him regardless. Even though he's not a celebrity like Bill Gates, The Sims is the best-selling PC game of all time, so he is pretty well-known in those circles.

Other interesting parts of the exhibit were a 15-minute film, "Machinima", which was a collection of animations created using video game engines (like Quake); and a re-enactment/simulation of Waco, where the players donned a David Koresh mask and ran around on the rooftops dodging bombs and collecting Bibles falling from the sky, which would give extra powers and could convert people to Davidians. I found this very creepy and disturbing. I didn't play it myself, but I did like the creator's statement that no matter what the players did, the way the simulation ended was inevitable.

The exhibit's going on till April if anyone wants to come see it. The cost is $6 and it's free the first Tuesday of the month according to the web site.

On Sunday obadiah and I went to see Itzhak Perlman at Zellerbach Hall in Berkeley.

His performance was flawless as I expected. This was the third time I've seen him, but Cliff's first; in fact, I've brought a different person each time I've seen Itzhak, as it turns out. I have one more Cal Performances concert to attend this season: Paco de Lucia, this Saturday.

No real progress on the wedding site hunt, but I've made a tentative budget.

I've decided I'm willing to spend no more than 1/4 of my personal savings on this event. (This is money earmarked for buying a house; my retirement and emergency funds will not be touched.) In order to replace these funds as soon as possible, I'm putting off all capital expenditures until after the wedding. So I'm going to have to live with my current cell phone, PDA, and Windoze PC for another year. Not a big deal; as I mentioned in a previous LJ entry, I'd like to wait to see if more Bluetooth PDA/phone combos come on the market anyway.

Well that's about it for now...

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