Friday, December 31, 2004

S.M.A.R.T. New Years Resolutions for 2005

posted by John Blanco @ 11:59 PM

 

I've completed my New Year's Resolutions for 2005. Every resolution is distinct and measurable. They address improvements and accomplishments in the areas of sociability, career, personal pursuits, charitableness, and finance. I hope to accomplish each and every one. And aw-w-w-way we go, in no particular order:

Level 0 - Untimed
Level 1 - Not Yet Started
Level 2 - Just Started
Level 3 - Progress Made
Level 4 - Close to Completion
Level 5 - Complete

Notes - Detailed Progress

1) Become a dad.

2) Read and Understand "Head First Design Patterns" inside and out. (Q1) (Done)

3) Start and Complete the Taliant Phlasher's Notes. (Q1-Q2) (~15 Pages)

4) Master UML. (Q1) (On 2nd book)

5) Earn a promotion at work.

6) Complete at least one serious game project as part of a Bite Size Studios launch. (Counterpart not included)

7) Learn Pixel Art. (Tiles)

8) Give a smiling "Hello," to a stranger (walking down a hallway, on the street, etc.) at least once a day.

9) Engage in one conversation per week with a stranger or unfamiliar co-worker in the office.

10) Perform at least 5 acts of charity. (3)

11) Reach the 175 pound mark. (150)

12) Declare a "faith." (Deist, Agnostic, Atheist, etc.) (Researching)

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

The Reflecting John

posted by John Blanco @ 10:14 AM

 

Today is a day of reflection for me...the chance for a new beginning. You see, this year I'm taking very seriously the matter of New Year's Resolutions. I need some changes in my life, a direction, a purpose, and with 2005 set up to be a big year for the Yog and I, now's the time.

So as I reflect today on what it is that 2005 will mean to me, I list out for you the areas of my life that need to be addressed:

*** Career ***

I've been a software developer for over 7 years now. In that time, I've gone from Junior Developer to Senior Developer, an excellent jump. But now. it comes time to make that extra leap. To reconfirm my love and devotion to this trade. To become the true developer.

At the end of my time at CorAccess, I had a 100% helping of burnout. I had no love for my industry, and I felt trapped because it's the only thing I knew as a career. I found myself wondering what my identity was. I had no passion for the trade, but having just bought a new home, there was no chance for change.

In the months that followed, I had to dig myself out. I only worked the time I needed to at Taliant and tried to clear my head by endeavoring in anthing-but-computers when I got home. Over time the burnout cleared up, but what followed was a directionless idea of what I wanted to do.

That will end in 2005.

My aim is to define my career direction, including the aspects I need to improve on, the areas I want to focus on, and how to get that done. The prime area I will address is software design. This includes design decisions, design patterns, and becoming a better and smarter software developer. I will improve my skills by building a new foundation, and abandoning all of the old habits which remain in my work.

By the end of 2005, I want to be a clean, crisply coding developer with clear ideas on how to assemble architecture and my work. I want to be effecient and able to tackle larger, more difficult projects with more ease and confidence.

*** Finance ***

The last few years have been a financial challenge. I found myself in some debt after a breakup and then followed that up with being laid off. I had a heap of credit card debt, which became debt to my sister...which is now long paid off.

From there, Michele and I bought a house. :-) Follow that up with a year of improvements and renovations, and you end up skewering yourself. Michele also had some credit card debt and it really all adds up.

It's not terrible right now, though this month is because we have to make a lump payment for our French Doors and new windows. But, we'll dig out. We have a budget and a plan to payoff the rest of the unsecured debt in time.

The real issue now is how we'll handle the yet-to-be-created, but soon-to-be-presented addition to our little family. :-) Michele will be a stay-at-home mom and so we're going to have to find a way to add a little income to our monthly gross. We're not sure who's going to do it. Perhaps the next section will help address it, but it can't be relied on.

Whatever the decision is, we need to work on it early 2005. So we need an idea of what to look at. It could come in the form of art with Michele, or a personal software business with me.

We need to figure it out.

*** Leisure and Hobby ***

If you roll back in the archives of this blog, you'll see a heavy emphasis on tournament chess. For almost 2 years, I was a serious chess player. I studied almost every day, sometimes for hours. When tournaments approached, I'd study almost constantly, even during down-time at work. I loved the game and I loved to improve in it.

After my tournament last Septemeber, I felt the burn. I'd studied so hard, improved so much, and entered a tournament I was optimistic to win. I finished 3rd. An exciting finish, but a dissapointment nonetheless. It was then that I looked at all the time I'd put in, all the work, amd what did I get? A $75 profit. If that.

I decided that if I was going to invest this much time and energy into a leisure activity, I needed to gain a little more from it. Preferably, financial happiness and a career dream.

I went to B & N and got hooked on a little book on J2ME. This led to me writing a pair of cell phone games. I was hooked!!! I started the Bite Size Studios venture and while that flunked, it wasn't due to my lack of energy. I'm working on Counterpart now, and I have plans for more later. It's exciting!

But, for 2005, I need a distinct plan. What games will I write? What platforms will I address, J2ME or branch out? What genres do I want to address?

Another interesting initiative is that I need to *play* more games. If I'm going to be doing game programming professionally, ideally, I need to play more...see what's out there...get ideas. I need to play more!

I need to learn techniques in AI, game physics, possibly even 3D! One genre I'm starting to like is RPG, do I want to do a project in that? Do I want to even think about DirectX? Do I want to stick to Java, or more specifically, cell hpone games in J2ME? Do I want to grow with that industry?

A decision must be made for 2005.

*** Faith and Charity ***

In 2004, I branched out in some areas I've never dabbled with before. Namely, politics. This Christmas season now, I've started reading in a new area, religion.

For 2005, I'd like to get a better understanding of the world's religions and form a better opinion of what I believe rather than "I just believe in being a good person."

Do I believe in God or not? I'd like to know. I need to learn some more.

Another unrelated issue concerns charity. I've prided myself on being a "good" person, but I'm not sure that means what it used to. I don't give to any charities, I don't do any volunteer work, and I no longer find that it satisfies me enough to be a kind person to all people. I need to do more.

In 2005, I'd like to become more charitable. Money will be tight, so this doesn't mean I will go crazy donating to charities all over the place. This doesn't prove "charitability" anyway. I mean, if a regular person donates...that IS charitable. But, if, say, John Elway donates, that doesn't really make him a better person. For the rich, it's a tax break...and it's not really a sacrifice.

Since money is tight for us this year, I'd like to "donate" on other ways. Namely with my time. My goal for 2005 is to find an organization I believe in and donate some of my time. Preferably, donating in a way that accentuates my talent. Perhaps even with computers....but, something that I can do to help people or a large group of people in some way.

I'll take it slow, as I want to accomplish this task, so I won't set the bar too high. But I'll start looking to see what I can do when the new year comes.

*** Accomplishments in General ***

Well, these are the things I need to think about. But, what will I get done. Some of these are related to the above, some aren't. But, I hope to accomplish every single one this upcoming year (in absolutely no order!):


  • Become a dad. :-)
  • Complete 2 years of service at a job...namely, Taliant. This will be the first time I worked at one company for this long!
  • Complete Counterpart.
  • Complete at least one other full-length game.
  • Find a second source of income which won't seriously strain the family.
  • Solve Zelda: Windwaker.
  • Read "Head First Design Patterns"
  • Road Trip to NY in May!
  • Have a healthy savings account by the end of the year.
  • Read at least one OOAD book (Booch or Jacobsen)
  • Wipe out debt on Citibank, VW, and cut Chase in half.
  • Stay in the 180's in terms of weight.


I'll post my official resolutions by Friday. This is me thinking out loud and naming off some accomplishments to give me a better idea of my definitive post. I welcome feedback on this one.


Monday, December 27, 2004

What Does Mom Think?

posted by John Blanco @ 6:43 PM

 

So, of the presents my mom got for us for Christmas, are a Stabbing Westward CD entitled "Ungod" and Marilyn Manson's Best Of CD. Both were on my list.

I wonder what she thinks of me? :-)

Sunday, December 26, 2004

Finally Feeling Better

posted by John Blanco @ 6:50 PM

 

I've been sick almost 2 weeks now, but finally I'm starting to feel better. I've gone through a cold, a sore throat, and then laryngitis. Finally, my coughing is subsiding , my voice is returning, and less sniffling...

The next 2 days should take care of it.

Today was a lousy day, Michele and I managed to not do much of anything. We were going to see "Meet the Fockers" with her parents, but I was still coughing enough that sitting there in a theater, annoying the crap out of the people around me, didn't sound like a hot idea. :-) We did watch "Napolean Dynamite" which was good...very crack-inducing.

The Ravens and Jaguars los today, which is very good for the Broncos. Now, I'm not sure of this yet, but I believe that if the Broncos win next week, then they go to the playoffs!

And this is doubly good because...WE'LL BE AT THE GAME!!! Yep, those tickets I bought several months back are gonna pay off! We get to play the Colts, who really have nothing to play for. Hopefully they just take the day off. :-) Luckily, if we win, we'll likely play the Colts AGAIN the following week in the playoffs. So, in effect, this IS the playoffs...we MUST win to stay alive...it's just that the Colts don't see things that way.

Tomorrow, we'll likely do some shopping and get outside. I also need to tend to Counterpart...it's been too long.

Saturday, December 25, 2004

Christmas Morning

posted by John Blanco @ 9:19 AM

 

Presents!

posted by John Blanco @ 9:18 AM

 



Harmony and Cimbi

posted by John Blanco @ 9:18 AM

 


So Tired...

posted by John Blanco @ 9:12 AM

 



Holy Sh**, It's Christmas!

posted by John Blanco @ 8:54 AM

 

Merry Christmas!!

Michele and I woke up at 6:30 this morning. I shaved and showered and then did our 2nd Annual Stuffing of the Stocking. (This is not a pseudonym.)

Last year, Michele outstuffed me, so I vowed to fill up the whole thing this year. (Still not a pseudonym.) I did! But, Michele had to cram so much stuff in that stocking that she ran out of room, and had a second bag of stuff!!! GEEEEEEZZZ!!!!!

After going through the stockings, we opened our gifts and then gorged on some chocolate and made phone calls. :-) Yogi got me "Napolean Dynamite" on DVD (Yeah!!), 2 AquaPets, and a bunch of cute bear statuettes and ornaments. She also got me TONS of chocolate (including my favorite, Milky Way Reindeer!), which of course I'm sharing back with her.

I got Michele "The Best of Triumph the Insult Comic Dog" on DVD, "The Sims Unleashed" expansion pack (featuring kitties and puppies!), and the first 3 books from the "A Series of Unfortunate Events" book series. I also got her a Get Fuzzy calender and chocolate. MUA HA HA!

Add to that the digital camera we got for each other, and all the fun we're having this weekend, and you have a very Merry Christmas.

Right now I'm upstairs here downloading pictures of the camera. Michele is installing the new Sims expansion. We have dinner at her parents' at 1 PM, and we're bringing over the GameCube to play some Mario Party 6.

Hope everyone has a Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday!

Friday, December 24, 2004

What's that on the Roof??

posted by John Blanco @ 9:08 PM

 

Michele and I just heard some thumps on the roof. We hear voices. We'll keep you posted...

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Super Size Me: 4 Blancos

posted by John Blanco @ 9:42 PM

 

The Yog and I just saw "Super Size Me" in our very own mini-theater. It was an excellent documentary (in the Michael Moore sense of the term, anyway) on the fast food industry's effect on obesity.

Some glaring points I take from the movie:

Firstly, fast food restaurants *are* corporations. They don't care about your health, unless people stop buying their food because of it. They care about money. And whatever it takes to sell, it will sell.

Does Subway care about our health? No. Are they healthier? Assuredly, yes. But, it's not because they care, it's because they know they can use health in their marketing campaign. Does this serve to benefit us? Yes. The more healthy (literally) competition in the marketplace, the better. Is Subway *intending* to benefit us? No.

Secondly, what our schools serve in the cafeterias is an OUTRAGE. Kids are stockpiling on sugar. Every option is lousy. And, for once it seems, I can say that this IS how it was when I was in school. Why, in the one place where attention levels must be highest (we can get away with it in our workplaces because the work presumably interests us), do we provide the worst food for keeping that level high?

One of the most interesting parts of the movie is when they show the schools with alternative eating plans...and the effect it has. While it remains to be clarified just how they actually compare, I don't see a reason why we shouldn't try this plan. Seeing as, no matter what, IT IS HEALTHIER.

I love movies like this. People will rant and rave and argue and complain that "it's biased!" People do that with Michael Moore, and while I agree Mr. Moore is not the best when it comes to delivering his point -- you have to look at the facts. Granted, most people will find it easier to side against the fast food industry, but you need to take the facts and look at the movie and see what's really going on.

I don't blame the fast food industry. They're out to make a buck. it is US who feeds THEM. We must resist. Just like the tabloids we all complain about (paparazzi), bad Hollywood movies, reality TV, whiny children, politicians...we enable it. If you don't like it, do something about it.

If you're against the outsourcing of jobs, take a stand. Get a list of companies that are strictly US-based and switch your allegiance to them. Maybe it's not convenient...in some cases, that's fine. But, if you change, say, your cereal preference, your gas preference, your department store preference...jut a few things...you'll make an impact!

Yes, I will make this a New Year's Resolution. I want to support the US. I want to hurt outsourcers. I'll see what can be done.

Anyway, I strongly recommend the movie. They did a very good job with it. Poor guy is in bad shape by the end of it! No, you likely don't eat at McDonald's 3 times a day. But, it's been proven how BAD it can be. And, if the guy can gain 25 pounds (and that's just net weight, it doesn't count lost muscle, etc.) by eating 90 McDonalds' meals, do the math and see what eating, say, 10, in a month may do. :-)

For the Yog

posted by John Blanco @ 1:03 PM

 

Merry Christmas Eve Eve! :-)

Imagine a world with no sky
Imagine the ocean run dry
Imagine and you'll see the view
Of my world without you
Imagine no sun and no rain
Imagine that each day's the same
It doesn't matter what I do
In a world without you


- Beth Hart ("World Without You")

It's FREEZING Today!!!!

posted by John Blanco @ 7:03 AM

 

"...if you thought Wednesday was cold you should step away from your computer and crawl back into bed because with the wind chill, temperatures in Denver will feel like negative 15 degrees."

It is so cold today! It's snowing for the second straight day. When I went to shovel my driveway, the snow hit me like little sickels. It had to be below 0 this morning...the drive in was slow (took an hour to get to work) and just the walk from our parking garage to the door (which is IN the parking garage) was FREEZING!

It'll be a White Christmas for sure...this snow ain't meltin'. :-)

Holy f***.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Best Day of the Year?

posted by John Blanco @ 7:25 PM

 

It is this very night which is one of my favorite times of the year. One more day of work til Christmas break! There's so much to look forward to: 5 days off from work, presents, Christmas dinner with the family, spending time with the Yog, and playing games deep into the night!

Which gets me to thinking...what is the best day of the year? My brother, at least when he was younger, claimed it was Opening Day for football, which is usually early September. I have to say that's a good choice. :-) There are some other contenders:

Christmas morning (presents!)
Opening Day for Baseball
The day your tax refund arrives.
The first cool day of fall...no more icky summer!
Thanksgiving
Your birthday. (Fat chance after you hit 21)
Any given Friday.

Personally, I like this day. It's not Christmas yet, but I'm right on the cusp of the vacation. Still have so much to look forward to, but the whole Christmas week starts in 20 hours from now. It's almost more fun in the hours before Christmas than it is when Christmas is over...the turkey bones are drying up, gift wrapping all along the floor, gotta go back to work soon...yick.

In other news, the new Tori Amos album is coming out in February, along with her new book! Not sure about the CD, I haven't been a huge fan of Tori's since she got, well, happy. :-( Marilyn is getting married too, to a famous German strip tease performer no less, so I hope he doesn't get soft on us. (I doubt it.)

Still working on the Interpretive Christmas (IC) idea for my secret receiver. I think I know who it is, too. But, I gotta get the idea together because it involves ordering some stuff via the mail. I ordered some stuff (it's free) in advance since there's no loss if I don't need it. Pretty cool!

OK, I'm off for now. I didn't have a sore throat last night, but I did cough half the night, much to the Yog's behest. I'm hoping for a better night tonight. Come on, pleeeeeeease!

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells...

posted by John Blanco @ 8:05 PM

 

Came home to a series of early Christmas gifts:


  • Presents from our friends Kimmie and Ramon...how nice!! We'll open them on the 25th. :-) THANK YOU!
  • A much-smaller-than-expected bill for Michele's ER visit...WOW! It's like, 4x smaller than I thought. WHEW!
  • Cimbi's scars have come off, and the fur on his tail is growing back. The cone is working!
  • Christmas cards from my cousin Connie, new friend Ericka, old friend Erica, K and Shawn, and Michele's longtime childhood friend Kathy (and Mike)!
  • I levelled up to 17 in MapleStory. Michele's trying to catch up as I blog...
  • More chocolate-y presents for Michele from her clients at work.
  • A mere $9 to get my engine coolant topped off.


Hooray for some good news for a change. :-) Now, we'll see if I can get some decent sleep tonight. *yawn*

4 Days Til Christmas!

posted by John Blanco @ 11:46 AM

 

I'm reminded of how close Christmas is today because today is the final day to shop for me. I plan on hitting a couple stores after work, all for the Yog. :-) It will be our first Christmas together as a married couple!!

Last year was so nice, we got up and ran to our gift-hiding places and stocked each other's stuffings (wait a minute, reverse that!) and then hung them downstairs and then had a nice little gift opening extravaganza!

There really is nothing quite like Christmas. And this year I have a few nifty gifts I've managed to find for Michele. The best part of the season is finding a gift for someone which just makes their eyes light up! I try to avoid "gift cards" for this reason, but sometimes...well, oh well.

Two gifts I know I'll see this year are "Mario Party 6," which my brother-in-law told me (well, he sorta asked) he was getting last night. The other is "Napolean Dynamite," which is a movie I've been dying to see, but not that it's on DVD I figure I just want it now!. ;-)

Christmas Day we're headed over to the in-laws for dinner. Michele's 4 brothers will be there and I'll be bringing the GameCube and MP6 so we can all play! It will be great fun!

Another thing that has brightened my day today is the announcement that Harry Potter 6 will be in stores in July!! Can't wait! It feels like just yesterday when Michele and I were reading through a single book together, with two bookmarks. The books get better every time, too, so this one should be the best -- CAN'T WAIT!!!

Internet Explorer is Dead; Long Live Firefox!

posted by John Blanco @ 7:13 AM

 

Get Firefox NOW!

I've blogged about this before, but yesterday I read a little article that infuriated me to no end, so I must now pronounce my love of Firefox!

Firefox is a Web browser, just like Internet Explorer (IE), which is all the rage right now in the industry. In the most recent years of PC dominance, the Web browser is the lynch pin. No OS could supplant Windows without a Web browser to beat IE. And no Web browser has been able to defeat IE.

But, finally, we have one! Firefox!

Firefox is faster, smaller, easier to use, more expandable, more up-to-date with current technology, more FUN to use, includes a built-in ad-blocker, and has cooler features than IE! Plus, it is compatible with Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, and if it doesn't run on your OS now then it will soon! (BeOS anyone???)

Man, if BeOS had this a few years ago, who knows what would have happened with that great platform!

Bottom line, you must get FireFox. The learning curve is non-existant. Your current IE Favorites will be migrated over automatically. You can browse with tabs, which is so cool. You can browse faster, with pages loading like LIGHTNING.

Plus, you can FUCK over Microsoft and tell them what you think of their shitty spyware-loving product. Get rid of ads forever!!!! Forefox won't let spyware programs be installed, and that's something Microsoft has never tried to prevent.

Bottom line: Your life will be happier with FireFox in it. :-)

Monday, December 20, 2004

Single, White Male Looking for **Hot** Female

posted by John Blanco @ 6:01 PM

 


- Chris (on right) and Bella -



Chris Calabro is one of my best friends, and he lives in New York. We went to high school together and became close friends when we spent 3 of those years together in "Tech Elec," our high school major. Add a few other classes in the day, and you're talking Chris and I sitting together (Blanco, Calabro, ..see?) for about 2/3 of a day, every day.

Insanity set in during our Senior year in '94. :-)

But, friends, that's not why I write this blog. I write it because Chris needs our help. He's starting to crack in the very home he lived in while we were in high school, on Fox Avenue. Our teacher, Mr. Yacoub, once made fun of Chris for living there saying:

"Momma V-shape," he would remind Chris.

Whether Chris's mom is V-shaped is debatable, but the key here is that Chris is crying out. You see, the picture above is Chris's Christmas card. While it brought great tears of laughter to the Yog and I, we also recognized the cry for help.

Chris is pleading to be adopted. So, ladies, especially you single gals out there, listen up, it's time for his stats:

Chris is 6'4", dark hair, dark eyes, and terribly handsome. He enjoys the Beatles, and good old classic rock. When not listening to this sweet, sweet music, he enjoys long walks on the beach at night, romantic dinners by candlelight, and discussing his emotions and feelings with women.

Among his other interests is hang-gliding, which he enjoys most with a companion. The feel of the breeze through your hair as you soar 1,400 feet in the air is quite pleasurable and an experience not to be forgotten. In fact, Chris is all about experiences not to be forgotten. He once surprised a lucky lady with a bouquet of roses while standing with her at the top of the Statue of Liberty.

One Valentine's Day, he was driving down Central Ave. when he saw a poor, old lady walking with her cane. It was freezing cold on this day, with 12 inches of snow on the ground, and the poor lady was so cold and alone. Chris pulls up to this lady, steps out of the car, and offers to assist her with a ride.

She accepted.

But Chris didn't take her straight home. Oh, no, ladies! He surpised her by taking her to a posh Manhattan restaurant, Tavern on the Green, and treated her to lobster tails, a NY strip steak, and topped it off with a Strawberry Margarita.


Afterwards, Chris took her on a long horse-and-buggy ride through Central Park. While they stayed nice and toasty under the blankets (wink, wink), they watched the serene scene of the beautiful park roll by.

The old lady had such an enjoyable time that she treated Chris to a makeout that lasted all-l-l-l-l night long.

The moral of this story is that Chris's heart went out to this lonely, old lady, and he gave her a night she'd always remember. She died some years later, but in her Will she thanked Chris for his gracious hospitality and wonderful "endowment."

Chris is a dashing fellow, and this Christmas, won't you be his Miss Claus?

Interpretive Christmas

posted by John Blanco @ 11:48 AM

 

Oh, yeah, almost forgot! Annie sent out the Interpretive Christmas wish that I get to work on and let's just say: it's interesting. I think I know who it is too, but I'll have to go forward pretending that I don't. In fact, the last time I did this, I was SURE I knew who it was for, and I was wrong wrong wrong.

So, today I am brainstorming on what I will do. Definitely not performance-oriented like the Conan-O'Brien-esque "Three Goddesses" concert I put on a couple years ago. :-)

I took a peak at Michele's wish, and her's is very open to interpretation. Maybe a little too much. But, she'll like it!

OK, back to work, for real this time.

Hello, It's Me-e-e-e-e-e-e....

posted by John Blanco @ 11:38 AM

 

Whew, what a week!

I've been sick since Monday night...had to take off of work on Tuesday and Wednesday. I was feeling better Thursday, but then suddenly I was floored on Friday with a bad sore throat. I thought it might be strep, but then I started feeling better Friday night.

Friday night Jessica and Jason came over. Originally, we were going to go out and see "Ocean's Twelve," but I was getting sick again and was too frusterated to go to a theater and get more sick (let alone coughing through the movie!). So, we rented "Bourne Supremacy" and had pizza catered in. :-) It was a fun evening.

Saturday, my good friend Damon came down to visit from Lyons. We went out to lunch at Bennigen's (Monte...Cristo!!) and then chatted for a few hours. We also played some foosball (I have a professional Tornado table in our game room) and talked about the paper he's an editor for.

Then, Saturday evening, we headed to Amanda and Joed's for our annual Christmas celebration. Things were a bit strange this year, but I'll keep that out of the blog. ;-) They made some good lasagana and we exchanged presents and watched "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation." Their new house was very nice! Still quite a trip away. :-)

Yesterday, the Yog and I geeked out and played MapleStory for about 5 hours. We both became Warriors. We also watched the Broncos get their ASSES handed to them! RIP Broncos '04. :-(

Last night, my throat started getting sore again. It hurt pretty bad. Sleeping was also nearly impossible. I think I got a few good hours, but that's it. I came in late to work today...but I came in, so I'm proud. ;-) I'm feeling better again now...so hopefully this sickness is getting past me and I can enjoy life again!

Christmas is coming soooooooooooooooooooooooooon! WHOO! Just gotta get some stocking stuffers for the Yog, and I'm all done!

Thursday, December 16, 2004

MapleStory

posted by John Blanco @ 9:14 PM

 

MapleStory

So, two nights ago I was doing some game research and downloaded an old MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game) to check out the tiling engine it used. And I learned a lot, but along the way, you see, I got a little addicted to actually playing it. :-) Which is just plain ironic seeing that a group of friends of mine at work have been absolutely addicted to the new World of Warcraft and I've given them shit about it.

Anyway, I was browing some forums today at work, trying to find info on my little RPG (called Odyssey), and I stumbled on a post that recommended this game, MapleStory.

Well, the graphics blew me away! Surely, this couldn't be free. These were beautiful graphics. I downloaded the 170 MB monster and sure enough, it was free. Hmmmm...I immediately quit the game since I knew this was something Michele might like...and I thought it would be fun to learn how to play together.

So, at 5:30 this evening, we started playing, and, well...4 hours later, we wrapped it up. :-) Completely addicting. Very fun game! We had a lot of fun teaching each other everything we learned. They should do this kind of thing for marriage counseling...except the Yog and I don't need no counseling. ;-)

So, I recommend it highly. Now I guess I have my own little addiction to offset the Warcraft thing I now have to put up with at work. Though, I still need to keep my eye on the ball and keep "Counterpart" going, which will be no trouble.

Ahhhh, just give me a week on that...need to...ahhhhh...play a little more..............

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Learn All About Me - By Survey!

posted by John Blanco @ 10:05 AM

 

Here's an email survey (a bit edited to remove those silly "vanilla or chocolate"-type questions) I received which I'd like to answer on my blog. Because, why not? :-)

Your full name? John Edward Blanco Jr.

Your age? 28

Where were you born? I was born in Yonkers, NY. I didn't get lost, however.

Where do you live now? Littleton, CO.

Any siblings? I have 3 older siblings! My brother, Mike, and two sisters, Pam and Susan!

Any pets? Two cats, Cimbi and Harmony. Cimbi is a buff tabby, currently with an odd-looking tail and a grimacing face due to some dental surgery. Harmony is a cute-as-a-button straight-ear Scottish Fold, mostly white, with blue spots.

Are you currently in a relationship? I've been married for about 8 months now. Wow, has it been that long??

What do you do for a living? I'm a software developer, currently working at Taliant Software near downtown Denver. I do Flash MX development, and may soon be switching to Java!

How do you spend your free time? I spend most of my free time with the Yog (that would be my wife). In terms of "things," I'm an avid chess player, write video games for cell phones (J2ME), and am recently doing some work with origami and other artistic endeavors.

Favorite music genre? I like Lillith and Hard Rock the most while being very attentive to the rest.

Favorite artist? Marilyn Manson

Favorite album? It's a split between Marilyn Manson's "Antichrist Superstar" and PJ Harvey's "To Bring You My Love".

Favorite lyric? "The crack inside your fucking heart is me." - The Speed of Pain, Marilyn Manson

Favorite movie? Run Lola Run

Favorite actor? William H. Macy

Favorite actress? Naomi Watts

Favorite movie line? "Yippee Kay-ay, Mother F***er" (Die Hard 1, 2, and 3)

Favorite TV show or sitcom? The Sopranos, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Family Guy, and Most Extreme Elimination Challenge

Favorite radio station/program/talk show host? I love Air America Radio, and especially The Randi Rhodes Show which I listen to daily.

Favorite video game? Of all time? Gotta go with Street Fighter II Turbo

Favorite board game? VCR Clue

Favorite web site? I'll go with Red Hot Pawn.

Favorite blog? Abstract Expression

Favorite restaurant? Old Chicago

Favorite fast-food? KFC

Favorite food? It's between pizza and fried chicken. :-)

What issues do you have strong feelings about? I feel very strongly about political corruption, especially as it pertains to the recent election. I'm for gay rights and equal rights for all people.

What break-ups hurt you the most? Which haven't? I've been through (only?) two very hurtful breakups, both very different from each other. In the first, I was betrayed, unsupported, and left to fend for my health at a particularly bad time during my life. In the second, I was lied to and cheated on and never told why.

What do you feel about religion? I'm agnostic, and tend to believe that our thinking and behavior is all a product of our own being.

What is your political outlook (don't care, party preference, etc.)? I'm an Independent and heavily against Bush and his selfish, arrogant foreign and domestic policies.



Still Sick?

posted by John Blanco @ 6:16 AM

 

Well, I thought I was feeling better but today I feel sick again. So, I'm back in a blanket, socks, sweats, and trying to OJ up. Another day alone.

Blech.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Let the Bodies Hit the Floor...

posted by John Blanco @ 7:19 PM

 

Very strange, but I feel a lot better right now. I thought day #2 was all about regression and max illness. I feel a little stuffy, but I've kept good and warm all day. My appetite, except for last night, still remains. At this point, looks like I can return to work tomorrow...we'll see in the morning.

Aside from a couple mini-naps, I was able to get some good development done with Counterpart. I have the tile-world in full swing, and have added the playable character and controls. The next step in the game will be to add the NPC's. I'll have to stop and think about how I will handle it.

Cimbi is getting use to his head cone. Hahha...poor guy, he's sleeping next to me...I think he's resigned to the fact that he's gotta wear it and is just trying to deal. It seems he can do all the standard cat things (sleep, eat, poop...). If I come home tomorrow and the cone is still on, I'll be a happy camper. Hopefully in a week we'll see some improvement in his tail.

Christmas is only 11 days away!!!! YEEEE-HAW!

Oooh, also, tomorrow I have my employee evaluation. It was supposed to be today, but I couldn't make it in. Corssing my fingers. I had a good year, but there's always room for improvement.

I'm nervous...

So......let the bodies hit the floor.

Cimbi's Bad Fur Day

posted by John Blanco @ 10:07 AM

 



Poor Cimbi! In an effort to stave off some boredom today, I reattached his cone in another attempt to get him to stop gnawing at his tail. Last time he was able to get it off pretty easily, but this time it looks like he's quit trying. As long as I know he's not choking, but that's impossible because it's a lace scarf that is tied around his neck. He looks miserable, but healthy. :-)

Poor guy.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Whoomp!

posted by John Blanco @ 9:56 PM

 

For the first time in it-must-be-ages, I am officially sick. Hopefully just a cold. I've already taken off work tomorrow...but at least I won't be bored to death and I will sleep most of it off.

What will keep me sane tomorrow? Games? Movies? Hmmmm...

Pedro a Met!

posted by John Blanco @ 5:21 PM

 

Holy shee-yat! The Mets are about to land Pedro Martinez, one of the top 3 (if not, THE top) pitchers in all of baseball! SWEEEEET!

They haven't landed something of this caliber since Mike Piazza becase a Met in 1998. Pedro is huge! YES!!

WHOO HAHAHAHAHAH!

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Goddard Christmas Party

posted by John Blanco @ 7:53 PM

 




Tonight, the Yog and I went to her company Christmas party at the Traildust Steakhouse near Arapahoe. It was awesome! I met Kellie and Brandon, and found out Brandon was also a software developer. It's really nice when the guy you sit across from has something so relatable.

Jessica and Jason were there as well, and we made a date to go see "Ocean's Twelve" this Friday night. Cool! They are good people.

Above is a labelled panorama so we can see the cast of characters. Sorry, Kellie, I went too wide on one of the stitches and missed yer face. No offense!

The Ignition Key: Part II

posted by John Blanco @ 7:44 PM

 

Continued from Livin' On ZaBlanc: The Ignition Key

...

The doors of the train opened. John and Michele were at Mineral station. Nobody checked their tickets. Thus, they saved $2.50. Score! The damage on the night was $8 for batteries, $5 bonus tip, and $2.50 for the Light Rail. About $15, not terrible.

Michele's mom picked them up, got them in the house, and now it's time to go upstairs and find that backup key fob. John checks the filing cabinet, but no luck. Hmm, thought it was there. Michele checks the junk drawers downstairs...nothing. Oh, crap. AH, the key holder! NO. Shnickies! Where is this thing, I'm sure we'll find it...

No luck.

So the key fob is gone, and John and Michele now face a scary reality. They have no way of getting into the car (no door keys, no key fob), and no way to turn off the alarm. So there are two realities: Volkswagen can fix or replace the key fob (possible) or door keys (unlikely), or the car will need to be towed.

"Fuck," John summarized.

To sleep they went...

...zzz...

They wake up at 8 AM, get dressed and head over to the Volkswagen dealership on Colfax Ave.

John finds a desk jockey, "Hi. I have a problem, my car is locked and the alarm is set, but I don't own any door keys (insert crybaby story here) and the one and only key fob I have is dead. I have the ignition key, but wWhat can I do to get in the car?"

"Hmmm, I'm not sure. You seem to have replaced the batteries on the key fob, but unfortunately the fob is programmed on the battery...so the thing is useless and we'll have to reprogram it. To do that, we need the car, a key in the ignition, and a key in the door," says the man.

"But that's impossible. I don't have the car here and I don't even own the door key anymore," worries John.

"Well your fucked," sayd the man, though not necessarily in those words.

Real trauma was setting in now. A few options were layed out about the car, and all were impossibilties. The man offered no suggestions. John stood there in a stunned hush.

Minutes rolled by, with John trying to get some form of optimistic news from the man. Finally, he went and talked to a technician. He returned.

"There's no way to get in the car. Your only option is to call a locksmith and get a door key made," offered the man.

"But, what about the alarm? Even if the windshield is broken, the alarm will go off. What then?" John asked.

The man shrugged. He offered a business card to the "Key Man" and John had no other recourse. If bad news came from this phone call, what else could be done?

Michele visited the restroom (presumably to vomit), while John called.

"Hello? Is this the 'Key Man'? Hi. I have a problem and I'm hoping you can help. Ya see, my car is parked in a hotel parking lot. I don't have a door key for the car, only a key fob. Problem is, the key fob is now dead. The alarm is set on the car. Can you help?"

"Sure," the phone fired back.

"Really? What about the alarm? Can it be disabled?"

"Sure, no problem."

OPTIMISM! There was a chance here!!!

"OK, so we need to get the door open (busting the windshield would be an easy way), turn the alarm off, and then I need to have a door key made. Is that possible?"

"Sure. Lemme give ta na estimate....................................How about $60?"

And with that word, hope came back for John!!! And all for $60! Never was $60 of unexpected billage so welcome! He told the man where the car was, and then they booked it downtown.

The "Key Man" had beaten the dynamic Blanco duo to the hotel. But there was work to be done. First, the men had to be navigated through the hotel and to the car. The hotel staff was iffy on that, but Joh told them what other option was there? Did they want to buy his car?

The men nacigated the van up the ramps and to the sad Volkswagen, shivvering cold from an unusual overnight away from garage cover. The men set to work.

First, they inserted a crowbar into the door, wedged between the door and frame. An air bag was placed there, and pumped up. Witht he door a healthy inch separate from the door, a tool was inserted into the car and reached for the locks.

*UNLOCK*

The door was unlocked! They opened the door and phase 2 began:

WOOOOORRRRRR, WOOOOOOOOOOOORRRRRRRRR, AKKKKKKKKK, AKKKKKKKKKKKKKKK!!!

The alarm went off, loud as can be. Hotel guests and apartment dwellers raced to their windows and shut out the noise. The man signalled for the ingition key.

"This should turn off the alarm, but starting the car," he assured me.

Turn: No luck! The car would not start with the alarm going off and the men set quickly to disable the alarm. THREE SOLID MINUTES pass, alarm still whirring, and the men are setting to work on the door handle of the car. At one point, John overhears the man saying, "We may be able to get the part by Monday."

Oh no. The car will be stranded the whole weekend? Oh no no no.

But the speech was not meant to be. The alarm was quieted, set back to protection mode. Sweet relief. The men had removed the entire door handle and quieted the device that is responsible for setting off the alarm. This is geat news!!!!

The men set to the van and began working on the new key. The machine were firing, and hope was restoring. Ten minutes went by and a welcome sound was heard.

BEEP!

The car alarm had been disarmed! The man who made the key had done it correctly, and with the existence of a new door key came the ability to disable the alarm and START THE CAR!!!!

HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOORAY!!!!!!!!!!

And so at 11 AM on Saturday morning, the drama that had begun the night before was over.

The awkwardness of an unopenable car being valet'ed, having to go to Walgreen's for a battery, taking a Light-Rail with the wrong ticket home, waking up your in-law to drive you home, having to go to the Volkswagen dealership on a precious Saturday morning, having to trust your life to a locksmith to get into your car. And it was over!!!! All told, the incident cost John and Michele $102. Considering the almost definite recourse of breaking the windshield and having to replace it would me many hundreds of dollars...this is not bad!

So, all is back to normal. Add the asset of a door key, and really, it would have cost a good chunk of that $102 to get it done anyway. The "Key Man" had to drive downtown, go through the hotel, open the car, disable the alarm, AND make the key. And it only cost John $87 all told!

And John and Michele lived happily ever after...

Saturday, December 11, 2004

F****ing Liberals!

posted by John Blanco @ 11:21 PM

 

See what f***ing liberals are teaching in school!

This fax was posted on Rush Limaug's site. Look at how horrible our teachers are. How dare they post these LIES!!!! Liberals generous?? It makes no sense! The word Liberal obviously mean motherf***er, not generous. DUH.

Sexy, sexy...

posted by John Blanco @ 7:36 PM

 



Let fun with the digital camera begin! This was taken while playing with picture stitching. The Yog is lookin' good. :-)

The Ignition Key

posted by John Blanco @ 1:24 PM

 

There once was a boy named John and his honey-bunny Michele. In late 2004, they went off to John's company's Christmas party, hosted at the Magnolia Hotel Ballroom on 17th and Stout in downtown Denver.

John and Michele had their car valet'ed. This was the first time they'd done it. Last year they decided to park on their own to avoid the line waitin when leaving the party. But this year, John knew his company a lot better (last year he'd only been with them a month) and was feeling festive enough to trust the attendant.

John and Michele has a wonderful time at the party! They spent time with their good friends Sean, Richard and Jolleen, Rajesh, Tony and Lori, Tom and Melissa, Puneet, Hemant, Pravin, Shashi, and more. They all sat at a table and ate a great Christmas feast including Prime Rib, and then indulged on the chocolate fountain bar, eating handmade chocolate-covered strawberries and pound cake and bananas and marshmallows!

YUMMM! (again)

John and Michele ended the night with a prolonged political discussion with Rajesh, Shashi, and Puneet. In the end, everyone enjoyed the fervor and the long night and we all departed.

Jon and Michele chatted with more friends while waiting for their car to be brought down to them. How fun! Time passed. Where was the car? Time passed some more. "Bonnie got her car, and they were behind us," John noted. John and Michele sat down and waited some more.

"Mr. Blanco," a voice bellowed. They looked up and saw the red-jacketed attendant. "How do you open your car?" he asked.

"Oh, the ignition key doesn't work on the door. You need to use the key fob." John politely noted. Incompetence, he thought.

Five more minutes passed.

...

"Mr. Blanco?" the familiar rang again. "It won't work." John and Michele decided to follow the incompetent man up to the car. The shame of this. Valet parking they call this? As we walk to our own car in the parking lot??

John and Michele and the red-jacketed man reached the car. "Let me have that," John demanded. With great pride, John aimed the stealhty key fob at the 1998 Volkswagen Golf he loved so much.

Click.

Nothing.

Click.

Nothing again.

John and Michele stood there. John's mouth was agape. "Oh shit," he said.

"Perhaps the battery is dead? We can run down to Walgreen's and see if they have one," the red-jacketed man said. Perhaps he wasn't so incompetent?

"Good idea," exclaimed John! So the three of them went down to the Walgreen's, passing thugs, gang-bangers (the clean kind), and others who had trouble with the English language. They talked to a nice lady who retrieved duplicate batteries and despite the nice red-jacketed man offering to pay, John sprung for the batteries. Back to the car we go!

Click.

Nothing.

"Fuck!" exclaimed John. Poor John and Michele were stranded. Their car was stuck in a hotel parking lot. All of their friends who they'd had a jolly time with were long gone, and they knew they were stuck. Could anything be worse than this.

John and Michele discussed their options. "My extra key fob is at home, so we can find a way to get home tonight and then come back tomorrow and unlock the car," John claimed.

"Good idea. But we don't have our house key. Remember, you left it at home so you wouldn't have to carry it in your pocket tonight," offered Michele.

"Shit."

So John and Michele and the nice red-jacketed man headed down to the Light-Rail station and purached a couple seats and headed to Mineral station.

"You guys have had a hard night, I'll pay," the nice man offered again.

"No, see? It's just $2.50. I got it," and as John ponies up the money to the inanimate machine, the red-jacketed man noted that it's usually more expensive and he thinks he may have gotten it wrong.

"Here's this for your troubles, sorry about my car," John said as he offered the man a healthy $5 tip. He deserved more. But cash was low. John felt terrible, but better about things. The man thanked him and left to service more ordinary cars.

John and Michele boarded the train. It was olnly their second trip on the rail, but thanks to they friend Jay they knew how to handle it. Michele called up her mom and asked her to meet them at Mineral Station, where should would drive them home and use her spare key to let us into our house. The night would soon be over, and they'd retrieve the Golf in the morning. So tired...

As the train pulled away, John gazed at their tickets. "Local" they said.

"My god. We needed 'Express' tickets to get through to Mineral! We have the wrong tickets. We're about to be kicked off the train!"

***TUNE IN NEXT BLOG FOR THE EXCITING SECOND PART OF THIS CHRISTMAS PARTY TALE!!!!!***

Friday, December 10, 2004

Funky Friday

posted by John Blanco @ 10:43 AM

 

I've never been so distracted trying to buy something. :-)

Operation Obtain Nintendo DS is ongoing, and quite the struggle. I've made about a dozen calls in the last week trying to track one down in stock. I thought I'd be able to obtain a pair today, but no luck. Best Buy was wrong on their delivery expectation. CURS-ED!

Right now, the next lead is another unnamed Best Buy (Hey, I don't need any competition!) will have about 16 DS's available first come-first serve, Sunday morning.

No chance.

But, tonight is the company Christmas party for Taliant and it'll be at the same place as last year and it will be so fun! A fountain of chocolate for dessert...MMMMMMMMMMMMM! Can't wait to enjoy the party now that I know people. ;-) Last year I was fairly new and it was fairly overwhelming.

Also, we pick up our new digital camera tonight! WHOOO! We get to play with it at the party...so should be fun. But, for right now, I can sure go for a nap.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Counterpart Blog: Part #2

posted by John Blanco @ 8:54 PM

 

Tonight I finished the base Tile Engine! Whooo! That was pretty quick...

So, what I have now is a little "mock randomized world" that allows me to scroll around the 30x30 tiles. Yeah!! The first time I've made something that scrolls. The next step will be to replace the simple-color tiles with something reasonably close to what things may look like, and then create an interface for making a real level. Currently, I just randomize the tiles.

Level 1, here I come!

"You came to see the mobscene; I know it isn't your scene."

All About Taliant Software

posted by John Blanco @ 6:52 AM

 

I feel like I haven't talked much about my job in the past couple months, so I should make up for it all in one blog entry.

First, let me tell you what I do. I'm a software developer and have been for my entire 6-year working career. I've been doing it since I was a kid, about 12 or 13. Development is pretty much in my blood.

My career is actually divided up into two parts: leisure work and professional work. My professional work includes work on limited-computing devices, such as Web Pads and in-home security systems. I also started out my career working on, errr, spamming machines. :-) Well, it was called "E-mail Publication" back then, but we all had our suspicions. Let's just say we put more effort in sending out the E-mail rather than satisfy the people who complained about it.

In my leisure time, I've mostly done games. Mostly siple versions really...I've redone SpaceWar, SNAFU (called it DTM), Pong II: The Shift Into Hell, Tetris (cell phone), Maze (cell phone), and a series of questionable text adventure games. :-) Aside from games, I also wrote three BeOS applications, one of which I sold quite successfully. (The others were free.)

Today, I work at Taliant Software. We write insurance software. Currently, we are working on a 2-year+ progrect called PowerComp which an EJB/Flash Workers' Compensation system. I work on the Flash tier, which is a lot of fun. Flash is what you play most of your online Web games in. :-) I've been using it for 3 years now and I enjoy it very much.

So, today is our Holiday Office Lunch. Our building hosts a lunch in the annals of the building for the holidays (go figure). This year we're having Mexican. Don't ask. But, it's all catered and very well done and I'll take the free lunch!!!

Oh, and the Christmas party is this Friday...and Michele has been looking forward to it for a full year. They're gonna have a chocolate fountain again! Yes, a chocolate fountain. Think the Stanley Cup, with chocolate pouring out of the top, and lots of marshmallows, cheesecake, and strawberries laying around with skewers. :-)

Ohhhhhhhh, baby!

Monday, December 06, 2004

Counterpart Blog: Part #1

posted by John Blanco @ 8:39 PM

 

To honor the official calling for my first J2ME (real) game project, Counterpart, I will set up some special blogs for such.

Tonight, I started the coding. All the coding will be done before any graphics will be needed. Tonight, I put together just some base classes. Specifically, ImageSet and Sprite. These form the basis of all animation, and will be added to the TileWorld class to come tomorrow. I anticipate that by this weekend I will have my scrolling world base code done and working...it'll be very exciting to see. :)

I will also symbolize my coding day with a Marilyn Manson lyrics:

"Are you motherfuckers ready, for the new shit?!?!"

Is You Wit Me Now?

posted by John Blanco @ 11:45 AM

 

Looks like the Bite Size Studios experiment is failing. I've gotten no help on anything outside of the graphical work from Al, and no game design help. Consequently, I've had quite a bit of toruble hammering out the F+E/ATP design. I need some time to rethink it. I've gone through several iterations, but still haven't gotten a game design that I think is fun and/or will sell.

So, I'm going to work on a project with Michele which is a remake of an old classic, that will hopefully have some new twists. It remains to be seen how it will translate to cell phone, but it will allow me to create a tile-based game for the first time in my life. Wow, scrolling. Who'd a thunk it'd take this long?

The game will be entitled, "Counterpart".

Bye Bye, Internet Explorer

posted by John Blanco @ 7:30 AM

 

So, I've finally made the switch to FireFox this morning. Here at work, my IE gets slam-basted with popup ads. And I got tired of it. FireFox has made great strides with Mozilla and now I'm using here at work...instead of just for WML access...

FireFox is a new Web browser with the great feature of extentions. There are so many written. You can customize your browser in so many ways, and ad-based software isn't prepped to attack it. This is because Microsoft designs their software to be INC-friendly, while Mozilla is not. Mozilla will not tolerate popup ads, so if it ever becomes a problem...it will soon be fixed!

Right now I have FireFox and the Blogger extention, so I can do everything I did before. Browsing is faster (better network code I suspect) and the look of the page is 98% as close as IE. Very, very cool.

Highly recommended.

I will switch at home.

More Human Then Human

posted by John Blanco @ 6:47 AM

 

More Human Then Human: My Barbie. She's an exact replica of Marilyn Manson. :-) I'm very proud of the way she came out...with the ripped panthose, corsett, white-face, blach-hair (what a pain, too), bridge line, and more! Excellent! Michele also nailed down a great pregnant hippie, too. :-)

More Human Then Human: The Broncos, who lost yesterday, and with that, probably their season. RIP, Broncos.

More Human Then Human: What my day is, today. Long, boring meeting dat at work. One day a month. But, today's the day! Crap! This is the day where we review the last sprint for an hour, then discuss the upcoming spring which is fun for about 5 minutes. But, that's what they pay ya for, I guess.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

A Perfect Day.

posted by John Blanco @ 7:07 PM

 

Today was a perfect day!

Woke up to some eggs and an english muffin. Well, OK, I made it. :-) Scrambled for the Yog, omelette w/ cheese for me. Then, at 10, we leave for Manitou. Quick background:

Last year we headed to Manitou Springs for the weekend. I had a chess tournament there, so we got a hotel with an in-room jacuzzi for a couple nights. I played my chess, and we hit some local historical spots, shopping, and food outside of that. We had so much fun and did so much Christmas shopping in that quaint little town we decided to make it an annual thing.

Well, due to Michele being sent to the ER a few weeks ago, and the pending bill, we decided it wasn't wise to do the stay-over. But, we went for the day and, well...back to the story...

So we head on down and it's an easy drive. We do some shopping and we got so much stuff! Our whole list is pretty much done! YES! Then, we enjoy a snack at the Chocolate Factory. I found myself a chocolate-covered Rice Krispies Treat, and Michele gets a Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream Cone.

YUMMMM!

Do some more shopping and then we cap the venture with our favvvvvvvvvvvvvvorite BBQ place in the world. Chuck's. And it was delicious! Wow! There was also a group of carolers who stopped in to sing "We wish you a Merry Christmas" and added that they wanted some fig pudding. Blech! But they were good. It was like being in "Groundhog Day". :-)

Drive on back, no problems there either...and just before getting home, I stop for my way long overdue haircut. AHHHH. Brilliant!

Michele had to go help her mom babysit her nephew, so I got out to Bally's...always excellent...and then come back to wrap all the gifts we bought today, pay some bills, and caught up to everything. Now, I am enjoying the CU-Oklahoma Big 12 Championship. Well, not quite enjoying, CU is getting crushed. But, just relaxing here, blogging on the laptop, and working on some re-design for ATP. (I'll explain later)

Michele gets home in an hour, then we do some late-night supermarketing. It's a smooth life. :-)

Tomorrow, we head to Castlerock for Barbie-making. Should be a blast! What will I make? OHHH. Should I go with the gang-bang Barbie, or it that too obvious? Hmmm, perhaps I'll make her look like one of my Lillith ladies...PJ Harvey? Beth Hart? Tori? OHHH! Maybe I'll make her a little Marilyn Manson chick.

Hmmm, that just might work! A literal "Marilyn" Manson. :-) We shall see.

Twas The Busy Weekend Before Christmas

posted by John Blanco @ 7:44 AM

 

Ah, the weekend is here...and time to get final shopping done. :-) Today, we're headed down to Manitou Springs to do some shopping and frequent our favorite BBQ place. Should be a nice day with the Yog! Hopefully, all our shopping will be done today!

Sunday, hanging out with the AC friends...making dolls! While my store-bought Barbie doll is already uber-hot, it will have to become Blanco-ized. Hope I don't butcher it too badly. Yog's doll is about due...her water will break tomorrow. AHHH!

Cimbi is totally jonesin' for some food. In a minute, in a minute...

Just set my fantasy football lineup for the last time this year. I am NOT playoff bound. But one last win would help me out. I'm at least not guaranteed to finish in last. But, if I win, and things fall right, I can be third from worst. WOOOO!

Oh, and checked out Best Buy, Operation Nintendo DS Capture will resume December 10th, when Best Buy is supposed to get in 24. YES YES, they will be mine!!!!

Friday, December 03, 2004

Fascism Doesn't Always Come With a Swastika

posted by John Blanco @ 7:05 AM

 

Fas┬Ěcism ( P ) Pronunciation Key (fshzm)

A system of government marked by centralization of authority under a dictator, stringent socioeconomic controls, suppression of the opposition through terror and censorship, and typically a policy of belligerent nationalism and racism.

Look Up!