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Yagr_Zero Blog

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

So I managed to check out the Hobbit not too long ago in the theater. It did take me some time I'll admit. After watching the three-hour epic, I wasn't exactly sure on how I felt about the movie. I knew I liked it, yet the film felt weird. I'm not sure on the exact reason, but I believe it was the flow. It felt off. Of course, The Hobbit is a much different book than that of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. The Hobbit was J.R. Tolkien's first novel that was targeted for kids. As such, the events in the book detail simple challenges that are encountered and surpassed within each chapter. That being, it wasn't exactly the best material to turn into a three-part movie trilogy. Although, I do like what Jackson and company have done in terms of adding in more back story to the main trilogy by picking through the expanded works of Tolkien from The Silmarillion and The Unfinished Tales. It makes the proposed trilogy much more than it should in a good way, or at least that's what I think. Getting back to the movie at hand, An Unexpected Journey takes a little while to get going and once it does, it becomes immediately clear that something's just a little off. I believe this first started when the dwarves started showing up. A few look like normal human beings, like that of the brooding Thorin, while others look like they were plucked from the pages of a Disney movie with their over-sized heads and fanciful almost cartoonish beards. The next couples of scenes then depict a pair of songs. The first a happy-mischievous song the dwarves sing about Bilbo's annoyance while the second a much more somber depressing ballad about their lost home the Lonely Mountain. It's this sort of dichotomy within the film the moves from one scene to the next - a light hearted scene followed by a serious moment with the Lord of the Rings epic music pumping in the background. It's a weird experience and one that I think Jackson and company weren't exactly sure on what kind of movie they wanted to make, a much more family friendly one like that from the source material or one that matched their masterful earlier work with Tolkien. Again, I'm not saying this is entirely a bad thing. I still enjoyed the movie overall. The acting is spot on with props going out to Martin Freeman, who played Bilbo. The action is pretty standard. It's what you'd expect if you've seen the Lord of the Rings trilogy and other action films. Where the film really shines is the battle of wits between Bilbo and Gollum. Being able to see Andy Serkis work his magic again is still amazing. Not to mention seeing all of the familiar faces that show up is still great. I guess you could say I felt a good sense of nostalgia being able to see another adventure into Tolkien's rich world. Getting down to the point, The Hobbit An Unexpected Journey is an interesting beast, one that suffered a little at the hands of its creators who didn't seem to be exactly sure on what kind of movie they wanted to make, and outside of taking a really long time to get the journey going, unexpected or not, it's an enjoyable tromp through Tolkien's Middle-Earth.

The Pocket Cousin

So I took the weekend off, as though I'm actually doing work or anything important, and went down south to Carmel to attend what was the last time the entire family got together at my Grandmother's log cabin by the beach. Unfortunately we'll have to sell the cabin, as having to keep it would cost us annually over $25 grand in taxes alone. So we enjoyed it and had a blast seeing everyone again while at the same time making plans to set up dates to head off to the various locales where everyone lives for events in the future. Whenever my family gets together, a large amount of shenanigans always ensues, especially between my cousin's wife and I, who seem to have been twins separated at birth. The battle started when I picked them up at the airport on Friday and managed to blow over to other members of the family culminating with the best quote directed at my sister. Now my family isn't the tallest, but the average height of everyone there, including women and men, is about 5'8", with the men being a little taller closing in on 6' even. My sister, sadly, never quite inherited the tall genes. Needless to say, she's the shortest adult at every get together. As Saturday was about to end, the day where the reunion happened, my cousin's wife managed to refer to my sister as the "Pocket Cousin." That got everyone laughing, except for my sister who seemed to shrink as she meekly said she wasn't the pocket cousin. She took it in stride though, and knows that we're going to hit her with it for quite some time now. :P

You Can Have Whatever You Want

"Okay. You can have whatever you want from the Sprint store. I'll be there a little later on once I get an errand done first." Yagr nodded to his father and took off towards the nearby Sprint store. It was about time he was going to be getting a new phone. Everyone at school had been commenting on how old fashioned his current phone was. It was true that he couldn't check his email or watch youtube videos on his phone, let alone be able to access the internet with a speed like that of an old dial-up connection. Thankfully, his father's upgrade had come in, meaning he could get a new phone for a considerable discount. The problem was, he had no idea what phone he wanted. The Sprint store was a quick five minute drive away and after conversing with a employee who thought Yagr was looking for recycle services when he showed the man his current phone, he went about browsing the current selection. An iPhone sounded like a good idea. So did the Samsung Galaxy and the HTC. He ignored the other phone-looking phones, such as the variety of Nextel walkie-talkies and the old fashioned flip phones and blackberries. Who uses a blackberry anyway? There's no key guard and he had had enough of butt dialing people. After a short while, he decided on the Galaxy Note. The female sales rep grabbed the phone/mini-tablet and protective shell, and they started chatting while waiting for Yagr's father to show up. The rep was equally surprised to see how pristine a condition Yagr's current phone was in. Yagr's father arrived shortly thereafter and after suggesting Yagr pick up a Bluetooth headset, they got to discussing if Yagr had everything. "Okay, is there anything else you need?" Yagr's father asked taking out his wallet. "Yes," Yagr said his eyes lighting up. "I'd like to purchase her." "What?" the female employee said surprised. "Yeah, I'd like to add her to my purchase," Yagr said. "Okay. How much are you?" Yagr's father asked turning towards the employee. "Wait. What? No. I'm not-" the employee stammered. "Ten thousand?" Yagr said grinning. "What? Twenty, but-" "Twenty. There," Yagr said slapping his father's shoulder. "But you can't buy me," the employee protested. "Ah, but you see this guy said I could get anything I wanted," Yagr explained. "He's got a point," Yagr's father said handing the woman his credit card. "I did say that." "Bu-but," the woman swiped the card. "How do you have that high of a credit limit? And more importantly why did I enter that into the system?" "I'll pick you up later on," Yagr said winking at the woman. The woman watched as the customers left. "Why does that happen all the time?" ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- My dad and I are such stinkers. :P

Christmas At Yagr's (or a Blog with Kitten Pictures)

So Christmas came and went by rather quickly. I managed to avoid any last second present shopping and got my family some nice gifts, such as a satellite radio, shoes, and a Colts jersey for my dad, mother, and sister respectively, along with some Star Wars bobble heads because why not? I'm currently enjoying my Bose headphones that I asked for and my sister was good enough to grab the entire first season of Game of Thrones on blu-ray. Not a bad haul. Then there were the legos my parents keep giving me that somehow manages to distract me from whatever I'm doing for hours on end. Damn you parents! But enough about what my family did, let's get to the cat pictures.   So we found out rather quickly the kitten loves to play in the wrapping paper. So we threw all of our paper onto the floor for him to frolic in.   These were great pictures so why not share them here?  Lastly, here's my roommate. She's not very photogenic unlike the kitten due to her persistence to be pet all the damn time whenever someone gets close.

Alphabet Steam

Fishing for her keys, Morgan quickly unlocked the door and entered the boy's house, grateful to be in the warmth. "Damn it! I can't find a game that starts with the letter Z," JD shouted in frustration. "I did and I'm not telling," Warren said with a grin on his face. "My kingdom for a game that starts with Q," Yagr lamented. Morgan stood at the doorway unsure of what was going on. Yagr, JD, and Warren all were sitting in the living room completely engaged on their laptop screens. "They're conducting the first annual alphabet steam challenge," Paul said from her side. "They're... What?" Morgan said. "Every Christmas, steam puts on a sale where practically all of their games are at least half off. So this year, those three decided to see if they can buy a game from each letter of the alphabet," Paul said. Warren shook his fist in triumph. "Got a V." "They have ten minutes left," Paul added. The two of them made their way to the kitchen where Christmas dinner was being prepared. Paul took a look at the clock and nodded. "Time!" he shouted. "Damn it!" JD said getting up and throwing up his hands. "There are no games that start with Z." "I think I got it all," Warren said. "I just managed to get that Nancy Drew game," Yagr said. "I think I have all 26." "You gonna play that Nancy Drew game?" Paul asked. "Y-you bet your ass I will. Nothing better than Nancy Drew," Yagr said albeit not very convincingly. "Well that's your game to play today," Paul said. He turned before he could see Yagr's seething glare. "You really enjoy this don't you?" Morgan said. "I got to be ref because I won last year's challenge," Paul said. "Don't you dare say anything about that." ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- This is so what I didn't just do regarding this year's Steam sale. Don't you dare look into my owned games list for those who have added me on Steam. >_>

Master's Project Defense

So I had my Master's Defense today. The most important part of my graduate career. For those who don't know, a master's defense is done in three phases. The first is the 30 minute presentation covering the entire project. The second is the question and answer session with your advisor and committee. This part is key as it gives the committee, who is in charge of whether or not you pass or fail, more information and a chance to test your knowledge. Finally, you're excused from the room to allow the committee time to deliberate on their decision. I got up at 8:00 AM today after only barely 4 hours of sleep. I just managed to finish my presentation at 4 in the morning after receiving some last second edits from my professor. Worried about and tried to go through my presentation in my head as I ate breakfast and made my way over to the engineering building. The presentation itself went rather quickly, even though I covered the entire 30 minute block. The questions were okay and I thought I did a good job, then I was asked to walk outside. That was the most harrowing part, just waiting outside while the two members of my committee debated on whether or not I passed and could graduate. It only took about five minutes when they asked me to come back inside. I passed. ****ing yes! I can graduate and not have to worry about the stupid project anymore. Now I'm going to drink and not care about the rest of the night.

Passing Away

This isn't a happy blog. This past Friday my 92 year-old grandmother passed away. While it's not supposed to be terribly shocking for someone of that age to pass away, it was considering that we had just seen her just five days ago for Thanksgiving and she looked great. For those who don't know, my grandmother lives on her own in the small town of Carmel, CA in a log cabin by the beach. She refused to ever be let into a retirement home and that fire, and somewhat stubborness, was what characterized her. She was a very unique person who didn't let much of anything to get in her way. Hell, she was climbing up onto her roof to clean the gutters when she was 88. She only did that after my Dad's brother and cousin stole her ladder in the middle of the night to stop her from doing physical chores. She became a great-grandmother three years ago when finally one of us grandchildren (there are four of us) finally had a kid. It's not every day someone becomes a great-grandparent. She did have a few heart problems a few years ago and it was these problems that got her. Whether it was a heart attack or just her heart failing, she passed away in a manner that defied her, if that makes sense. She was a wonderful person and I'm glad to have gotten to know her for so long.

My Face Is Numb

Remember that tooth I broke? Well I finally got it filled, and thankfully all I needed was for it to be filled and nothing else. I had to see two dentists to see what my options were. The first said the tooth was infected and a root canal was needed. The second said that as long as you can feel something, he blew air into the tooth, then they could just put a filling on it. So for someone who doesn't have insurance, a filling was the better option, and I just got that done. There was no sign of infection on the tooth, just regular decay that caused it to crack. So no root canal is needed, thankfully. That could have lead to a couple thousand dollars worth of drilling and a crown. So not my face is numb and I have to teach a class. Fun time not being able to feel the left side of your face. I just don't want people talking to me. I'd like to reduce the chances of me accidentally biting myself without knowing. Hooray dentistry.

So Something Interesting Happened Last Night

So last night a bunch of friends and I decided to have a Doctor Who marathon. Nothing special there, just something we all decided to do with little to no planning. Of course, yesterday was my busiest day what with class and teaching all thrown into one giant block of time that like to go from 9 AM to 6 PM. Before I headed off to join my friends at the marathon, I decided to hit up the clubroom and purchase a snack to satiate my hunger for a little bit. To my surprise and delight there was a large box full of fruit by the foot. I eagerly picked one up, said goodbye to the residents of the clubroom, unwrapped and unrolled the snack, and popped it into my mouth. I should say there is a literal pop to that last sentence, or rather crack. I immediately felt something on one of my teeth, or rather something stuck in between two of the teeth. Thinking it was a rather thick glob of sugar (which can happen), I quickly picked out a pen from my backpack as my tongue didn't seem to be able to dislodge the thing. A pen cap can work quite well as a toothpick. So with pen cap in hand, I shoved it back there and managed to get the glob unstuck, and found myself in yet another dilemma. This was no sugary glob. This was a part of a tooth. Two teeth to be exact. So yes. I broke two teeth while biting down on a fruit by the foot. My parents had fun with that information. So I'm going to need a couple of crowns in the near future. Hooray me. I still made it to the Doctor Who marathon where I indulged in a couple of vodka martinis (mainly due to the fact that Skyfall is coming out today and there was a slight chance that everyone at the marathon would head off to see the midnight showing drunk) while watching the good Doctor battle Cybermen, Daleks, and those Weeping Angels. We had a drinking game going on while watching said marathon and I want to say, the guy who brought the rules is, for lack of a better word, an *******. Let's just say that based on one episode alone, everyone there would have died from alcohol poisoning. There are rules stating we have to drink whenever a Dalek says "Exterminate," whenever a Cyberman says "Delete," and whenever the good Doctor uses his screwdriver. Add those to the finale episode with the 10th Doctor and Rose (the one where Cybermen and Daleks attack each other) we were cursing the guy who dared to print out these rules.