I just read an article that Disney just bought Lucasfilm and the rights to Star Wars for a good $4 billion. Seeing as how I wasn't following any possible purchase, this came as a complete surprise. As a part of the deal, it was revealed that Star Wars 7-9 are in the works with Star Wars Episode 7 on its way in 2015. When looking back at what Disney has done over the past six years, they've been making a lot of very good purchases, including Pixar in 2006 and Marvel in 2009. Now with Lucasfilm, Disney has a a very good film library coming out in the coming years. Here's the original link.
So I was in Atlanta this past week for the BMES National Conference. You don't have to worry about what BMES stands for other than it's an engineering club I'm an officer of. My particular chapter of BMES won the best chapter in the nation award this year, so we got to fly in and give a little talk about what makes us so awesome, and along the way get drunk and into trouble because that's what engineers do. Anyway, I'll try to stretch this experience out and give you small snippets of what we did. Wednesday, October 24th Nick walked down the gentle slope of the boarding gate with a mischievous grin on his face. James and Becca followed behind him; the three of them lucky to have been right behind each other in the Southwest boarding line up. "Welcome aboard," the stewardess said with a large red lipstick smile as Nick stepped into the Boeing 737. A thought came to him suddenly and he turned to the stewardess. "Is this flight full?" he asked. "Yes. Who would you like sit next to you?" the stewardess said. "An 8/10 or 9/10 girl," Nick replied, his grin getting larger. Behind him, James and Becca slapped their foreheads. "Since the back of the plane is usually empty at this time, you'll usually have large men sitting next to you. They love the back of the plane," the stewardess said without breaking her red lipstick smile. "Ah ok," Nick said and turning around to face Becca. "You're sitting next to me now." Becca glared at him. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- And yes that did actually happen.
Recently I decided to pick up a little title called Spelunky. I made this decision knowing full well how ****ing hard it is and that my drive to defeat a sizable challenge will probably consume me for quite some time. Spelunky, for the uninitiated, is a rogue-like (no saving and one life per game) platforming game that challenges you to get from the top of the map to the exit at the bottom. Sounds simple, right? Add in a good amount of monsters and traps and the fact that you only have four hearts of health that doesn't recover as you go from room to room, and you've got a rather hard game. Of course you don't just jump, you are given a whip and an assortment of preciously limited bombs and ropes to aid you. Littered along the way are treasures that you can pick up for money that be spent at shops (be careful about angering the shopkeepers, they have a shotgun and will use it if pushed) and items that you can use like climbing gloves, a machete, and spiked shoes. Of course with each area being random, you'll never quite encounter the same items, so trying to spend those precious bombs and ropes for what might not net you another item or more bombs and ropes is an interesting risk, especially if you find yourself without them later on in the game. Finally, don't spend too long in a room, or a rather gigantic ghost will appear and instantly kill you if he manages to touch you. With that out of the way, I've found myself absolutely loving this game. I've still yet to beat it in the few hundred times I've entered the massive doors at the start, although I have come close a couple of times. There are sixteen levels in the main game spread across four different worlds, each with their own batch of traps and monsters to keep you on your toes. To make things more interesting, there is the possibility of a room having an event, such as a Snake event for the Mines, where a snake pit is added somewhere in the level; an Undead event for the Jungle, where zombies and vampires roam the area; and a Wet Fur event for the Ice Caves, where you have to deal with a King Yeti. Then there's an annoying event that covers the entire area in darkness, which by the way, can be combined with any of the other events. Those suck. As I've said before I've come tantalizingly close to beating the main game. Of course the way I'm doing it isn't completed it in the real way. There are a bevy of secrets in the levels, such as hidden areas and the final fifth world. Some of the hidden areas are just fun, such as an Alien Mothership (yeah, alien mothership beneath the earth's crust), a Haunted Castle, and a rather large Worm. Of course, the challenge after beating the main game is to try to gain access to the extra challenging fifth world, Hell. If you keep going further down into the earth, of course you'll hit Hell. Makes perfect sense. There's just a problem in getting there, or rather not a problem, but more of a complicated list of things that need to be done before Hell can be accessed. It's a rather long list (one that I won't get into here) that has to be completed in sequential order, with only the first step being the only optional part (although it makes the second step extremely rare to happen). Of course, you can't die while doing the entire thing or you'll have to start over again. So yes, I've been stuck in this game trying my hardest to tame it. I'm getting closer to the end. Then I'll try to reach Hell and maybe think about somehow beating the game in under eight minutes (yes that is hard). At least I'm having a blast playing it, even if a number of promising starts have ended in the most unluckiest of manners. I do suggest checking this out for those that have a 360, or for those that don't, check out the PC version.
So I like achievements. Maybe a little too much. That's not the point I'm trying to make here, at least I don't think it is. Anyway, I decided to head through my library to get rid of a few achievements here and there, along the way setting up a few gaming sessions with other people looking to do the same, as for some odd reason or another none of you here have the games I do. >_> For one such session in particular, I was trying to get the coop achievement for Might and Magic: Clash of Heroes, which is a fantastic game that no one seems to play cooperatively online. There were to be four of us, each team winning one set. Unfortunately, one person and I couldn't see each other online. Something about those darn nats being restricted. So with the session looking like a failure, one of the guys had a sudden idea to go get his son online. His eight year-old son, who happens to have his own xbox. Things get interesting when you involve little kids. "Okay Bobby*. You're going to be playing with me, and we're going to win a game, then lose one. Then I'm going to join the other team and you're going to let daddy win." Ah gaming fathers. Always there to help out and tell their kids to let them win.
So I TA for a couple of classes this year and recently during one such class, I had a student ask what it was like to go to school in Ohio. This of course coming after a short discussion where said student observed that I had gone to Miami University and I had correctly told him that I went to the one in Ohio, which confused him as it does to everyone in this state ("why is there is a Miami in Ohio?"). Anyway, the student then went on to reveal that he didn't know much about geography, stating that Ohio was only 200 miles wide,that Cincinnati and Cleveland were side-by-side, and that Toronto was close by (it is but he's off by a lake, Lake Erie borders Ohio, whereas Lake Ontario is where Toronto is located). With a short geography lesson, he then went on to say that one of his friends, that happens to come from Ohio, gave him a chocolate saying it was a Buckeye. Shaking my head at the student and trying to hide my smile, I told him that wasn't a Buckeye. "But he gave me a chocolate covered peanut butter candy and called it a Buckeye." "So he gave you a Reese's peanut butter cup?" "Oh..." Yeah. I'll leave it like that.
It's been some time since I've last blogged, and boy have I become busy. I had a feeling ever since last year when I was voted in as a Vice President for the local biomedical engineering society that it would be. Needless to say, it's gotten busier. The school year started off with me receiving an email wondering if I would be interested in applying for the position of a TA for a class I took two years ago. I didn't think I'd have much of a chance as I had a time conflict - I was taking a class that met at the appropriate times. I applied anyway and after a very good interview, I got the job. I've been working with the new professor on campus, a guy about three years older than me and we've been having an interesting time getting the labs set for the intro to biomedical engineering class. I think we're both figuring out that we need to start preparing earlier than the Wednesday before - the lab portion of the class is on Friday. Let's just say that the second lab didn't go as well as we had hoped. As if that wasn't enough, I was contacted by another professor if I could be a TA for her course, this one on electronics, and I said sure, why not? So now, on top of VP duties and actual course work, which includes finishing up my master's project, I've got two TA positions. Hooray for being busy!
Sometimes, I hate the way how my mother thinks. Let's turn the clock back to the Friday after I moved into my current apartment with the help of my dad. My mom decides to call me five times between the hours of 7:30 and 9:30 AM. Let's also reveal the fact that my dad is 63 years old and the first thought that enters my head when I wake up at 11:00 that day is "did something happen?" as I frantically try to call my mom. The first words that she says when the phone connects are "can you babysit the cats over Labor Day weekend?" Sigh. Of course she would call five times when she wakes up to see if I could babysit the two cats. Now let's turn to the recent events. A cold bug began to work its merry way among the kids of the engineering club I'm apart of, including myself on Wednesday. Yes, that meant I got to fly on Saturday to Albuquerque with congested sinuses. For those who haven't had the particular pleasure of flying in this condition, let me tell you that it's rather spectacular. Being able to feel your face explode all over has never been so enjoyable! It almost makes me forget that I become so plugged up I end up legally deaf for the remainder of the day. For those who don't know the science behind why this can happen, let me help you out. An airplane is essentially a pressurized tube with wings and a tail that ideally glides upon the wind currents of our world with massive jet engines. The pressurization process begins once the cabin crew have closed the main doorway the air begins to be recycled. For normal people, this process is felt slightly. For those with nasal congestion, like me, it feels as though someone is pressing their hand on your face, especially on your forehead and inner nose regions. This process is maintained until the plane reaches cruising altitude of 38,000 feet to keep the dry recycled air at a comfortable temperature and not have people freezing to death or from a lack of oxygen as is typical at such high altitudes (note the oxygen content in higher atmosphere isn't exactly less than it is at lower atmosphere, it still maintains the same 21% O and 79% N balance, there's just less air molecules). For a fun experiment, take a balloon on board a plane and watch as it expands as a plane ascends. The fun really begins once the plane starts its descent. Here, the plane will begin to depressurize. For normal people, their ears will probably be popping as they begin to depressurize as well. For those with nasal congestion, it doesn't quite work that way. Pressure has a nasty way of not being released from an overly pressurized head. So imagine if you will as while the plane interior is depressurizing, you're not. Of course that's not without trying. It can be rather hard to pop your ears from yawning when it refuses to pop. The added pressure, as a result, has a way of making the descent rather uncomfortable and in some cases rather painful as your facial nerves light up like New Years Day. Anyway, that's what I felt on Saturday and what I felt today when I arrived back in San Jose. I do have to say that today was slightly better owing to the fact that Southwest decided to put me on a route that stopped twice before I reached Albuquerque. Yes. I got to have my face pressurized and depressurized three times that day. What a wonderful day that was. I have to say that I've never wanted to get the **** off an airplane more than I did that day. It's made worse due to the fact that Southwest doesn't allow you to deplane, adding to my claustrophobia. In the end, the cats were okay and clearly didn't need me around. They decided to sleep the entire time I was there. Hooray. What I got out of it all is a face that currently feels as though someone slammed their fist into it. I love flying at times.
So I was sitting at my computer when I noticed one of my friends began to chat with me via gmail. Here's a little except of what the conversation was. Friend: So I was being sad about the teaching job to Christian and then this guy.. overheard me... he was the guy that got it!!! :[ Me: Why are you referring to me as guy? Friend: LOL OMG OMG OMG OMG HAHAHAHAHAH jk this is awkward Me: Okay... >_> Friend: I messaged the wrong person! HAHAHHAHAHAHHAHAHA but I was saying how it was awkward 'cause I was talking about the teaching job and you got it and I was like "oh **** what am I supposed to say" but I just made it worse by IMing you Slam! At this point my friend slammed her head on the table. Mind you we were both in the same room sitting next to each other around a fairly large table. Also, I guess I should point out that this conversation also took place during a meeting the two of us had with some industry advisers. As you can imagine, everyone was looking at her weirdly. Me: Do you need a hug? Friend: HAHAH no To be honest, I really didn't think I was qualified and I can't believe that I was so embarrassed that I slammed my head on the table So there's my fun Thursday. :P
The summer has ended. About damn time. As my reward for surviving the summer in a room that was roughly the size of my bedroom when I was in an apartment, and one where if I laid down on the floor I'd cover almost the entire width of the room, I get to move back into my apartment. To help on this endeavor was my dad, who needed the exercise of lifting heavy objects and furniture, and who had the money to spend when it came to renting the U-Haul truck. After a night where I took my dad to a local Thai restaurant whereupon he talked with the Thai owner in Thai making me feel somewhat out of place considering that I was born in Thailand and the only word I can say is the number six, we both agreed to meet up at campus around 8 the next morning. I managed to wake up at 7:15, and I want to point this out as an accomplishment considering that I've been going to bed around 4 AM for quite some time. Yes, I'm a night owl. Anyway, upon awaking for my last morning in the dorm, I walked over to the shared shower and heard someone inside it. Knowing I had time to spare, I headed back into my room and waited for the chap to be done. Let's move 45 minutes into the future and the ****ing idiot is still in there. How much time do you seriously have to take in the shower? It's a guy's shower. If it was a girl, then I'd understand, you girls have to take time to look pretty in the morning. Us guys? We don't really care what we look like until we get some coffee in our system. Seeing as how I didn't have any other choice, I had to go use the crappy shower stalls. Now in the dormitory of San Jose State University, there are two types of bathrooms. There's the one that I've used for the entire summer that was being used by a guy who needs to take an hour to groom himself and do whatever the hell it was he needed to do, which is more like a regular bathroom. You can lock the door and take a shower all to yourself without worrying about anyone walking in on you. As for the other bathroom, this is more of a communal bathroom. There are multiple shower stalls and yes people can walk in on your if they're too drunk to notice that hey, I'm ****ing in here and no I'm not a woman so please keep your hands off me. There are three stalls, two of which are about the width and length of a coffin while the third is large enough for a friend to join you if you so wish. Sadly for the third, there is no lip to the stall, so all the water flows into the center of the area into the drain. Why they decided to make it like that? I haven't a clue. It couldn't possibly be because when that floor is wet, it's as slippery as ice, especially when the water is soap water. Anyway, shower done I met my dad and off we went to grab the U-Haul truck and fill it with my furniture. That didn't take too long and once that was done we headed back and I managed to get my keycard to the new apartment. This is now the part of the story where our heroes (me) hit a snag. Upon getting the keycard I was informed that I have two hours to move all of my stuff out of my dorm and into the apartment before they kick us out. Not really thinking much of it at the time (this is foreshadowing) my dad and I manage to get everything out just in time. Then it was time to deal with the furniture. My apartment is unfurnished, and it's one of the few that is unfurnished, so I had to bring my furniture along. Last time when I moved in, my mom was present and luckily she wasn't as that meant I could delegate where things went so it felt like I did something. You know, have a particular comfortable flavor. The move in with the furniture went well aside from that fact that I almost broke an Exit sign in the hallway of the building. Yeah. I was carrying my bed frame above my head, as it was less painful that way, and caught the sign on the ceiling. What happened next was my calling to my dad asking what direction the sign was originally pointing. There were other Exit signs on the walls, as this sign was at a corner, yet those signs didn't really help out, as one pointed to the right and the other to the left. If you're also wondering, both of these wall signs were located right above one another, so you could imagine my confusion in the moment of trying to turn the ceiling sign in the right direction. I'm still not sure it's pointing in the correct direction, and I'm reminded of this every time I walk down the corridor. Moving on, furniture done, my dad and I refueled the U-Haul truck and made our way to return the darned thing. Now the place we rented from was located rather close by inside a gated area, most likely to keep people from stealing those precious U-Haul trucks. Upon arrival, however, the gate was closed barring our entry. Confused, we tried calling the place to no reply and found out the guy who owned the place closed at 3:00 PM. It was currently 3:05 PM. So yes. We missed the guy by five minutes. If you're wondering, the day I moved in was on a Thursday. A weekday. Who closes at 3:00 on a weekday? Seriously. Needing to think fast and avoiding getting hit by a car, I called up my mom to ask where we can find another U-Haul service in the area. She gave us an address and a phone number and off we went. So this route to get to the new U-Haul place took my dad and I along I-280 which then became I-680 before getting onto the 101 and then onto I-880, all in a span of five minutes. We turned the truck in and found out, much to our growing distress, that because we were five minutes late and had to turn the truck in to a different location we were charged $200. That's not a joke in anyway, despite the fact that I was chuckling about how stupid the situation had become. Knowing there wasn't much to do about it aside from filing a formal complaint, we headed back to campus. On the way back, seeing as how we were both in bad moods, I turned on some Robin Williams. He does a great job at lightening the mood. So it was a rather productive day that unfortunately ended on a sour note, one made even more sour due to the fact that the delay in getting the truck returned meant my dad couldn't stay to eat at this one great sandwich place near campus I had been telling him about. He had to head on down south to see my grandmother, his mom, and have a nice steak dinner with a few cousins. Since that time, I did absolutely nothing on Friday, aside from playing an unhealthy amount of NHL 09 and yesterday I finally managed to get my parking permit and somehow find out the building RA was stalking me. I'm pretty sure wearing the same t-shirt when we first met probably clued her into who I was, she let out a few words that indicated she knew a bit too much about what happened on Thursday. She does have a day off Monday.... >_>
So I attend San Jose State University. This school has got to be the most shoddily run school administratively that I know of. Why? Well let's go over my summer. I had to move into an actual dormitory room for the summer due to my apartment complex needing to go through construction on the pipes, a project that apparently the construction guys didn't complete the summer before. Now that my time in the temporary hell (the room is about the same size as my bedroom in my apartment) I'm having a fun time trying to get all the logistics figured out. The first thing on the list: Parking. For some odd reason, the parking services at the school could only give me a summer parking pass that lasted through the 11th, this past Saturday. For those who are wondering, I can't move into my apartment until the 16th, this Thursday. That leaves a good amount of time for parking services to tow my car if I wasn't careful enough or pay an additional $21 for an extra week. Hooray to losing money due to poor managing, and yes I did request an earlier move in date and was denied. On to the move itself, the Housing services, who apparently are in no contact with parking services, I have to move all of my stuff out of my dorm before 12 noon. While that's not terrible in itself, they only made this information public after I had coordinated with my dad to reserve a U-Haul truck to pick up my furniture from the storage area at 9:00 AM. Taking that into consideration, that means I have almost less than two hours to get all of my crap out of my dorm room before I have Housing breathing down my neck. Hooray for last minute deadlines! >_> If you're wondering the Housing services don't accept Visa credit cards (they accept all the other types of credit cards, just not the most abundant carrier in the world) and you can only access their site if you have Internet Explorer (something that Macs don't have) or Netscape (which hasn't existed since 2008). Yes, no Firefox or Chrome or even Safari. Hooray for thinking! Damn I hate the administration at this university.