Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Nervous About the Draft!

posted by John Blanco @ 2:17 PM


No, not *that* draft. :-) My fantasy football draft is tonight...I'm going crazy nervous!


The Insane Fuschia Monkey Riot will prevail!

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Randi Rhodes: The Movie

posted by John Blanco @ 6:24 PM


Here's a little minute-long movie I took of Randi Rhodes giving a speech after making her grand appearance in Denver:


PS - Yes, a priest did indeed attend the party. ;-)

PSS - You can see my friend Damon (blonde with black-framed glasses), Me (holding up camera, blue and black wristbands), and Michele (long black hair, between me and Damon) in the mirror. :-)

The Greatest Games

posted by John Blanco @ 11:54 AM


Today, I finally figured out how to install the King's Quest and Leisure Suit Larry collections after months of weak attempts at it. They have trouble under Windows XP.

Turns out, NAGI is the way to go, a freeware replica of Sierra's AGI interface for running their classic brand of games. (Leisure Suit Larry 1 and King's Quest 1-3 used it.)

So now, I will replay through the King's Quest series (I never got past game 4, but I will play 1-3 again since I've totally forgotten them).

I love, love, LOVE these games. :-)

Friday, August 26, 2005

Operation: Hug Randi - Mission Accomplished!

posted by John Blanco @ 11:19 PM


Mission Accomplished! ;-) Last night, I got the picture that I've wanted to get for quite a while, me and Randi Rhodes of Air America Radio!

How did I get it? Well, read on, and I'll tell you all about last night!

Getting On (And To) the Line - The Beginning!

posted by John Blanco @ 11:06 PM


The night began with lots of adventure: actually getting there! I'd woken up at 5 AM so I could get to work an hour early, so I could leave an hour early. Apparently, it wasn't enough. Michele and I took the long trek to Boulder (we're in Littleton, much further south), and kept in contact with Vincen and Damon, friends who were en route and/or there already.

The party was to start at 6 PM, and we'd all kinda planned to get there at least a half-hour early. Michele and left the house at 4:15. We were just getting on I-25 and were looking for US-36 when Michele realized we'd missed it! Then, the phone rings:

"John, where are ya? I just got my number and I'm 186!"

They were only letting 400 in, and at 4:40, Vincen was already almost at the half-way mark! OH CRAP! On top of that, we were getting off the highway to make a U-turn, and we still had 12 miles to go! Could we miss it????

We turn around, and we're just getting on US-36 (8 miles to go now), when Vincen calls again:

"They're up to 226. Where are you?"

Well, here's too hoping US-36 ain't backed up!!!! Luckily, it wasn't, and we were bulleting, but I was terrified we'd miss out!

Off the highway, and Damon calls:

"I just got on line and I'm 305."

Fortunately, we'd just driven into the place and were looking to park! So we were safe! WHEW!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We ended up with numbers 340 and 341. We were in!!!


The line was huge. It wrapped around the building. I'd have to say that soon after we got there, they had to run out of numbers...and we were there at 5:20! I couldn't believe that it was sold out 40 minutes before the event. But what else would one expect: A FREE birthday party, in the most liberal city in the country, Randi Rhodes attending, Barry Crimmons attending, Jay Marvin attending, Nina Storey performing, free food, free drinks, and free entertainment!

Meeting Up With Damon

posted by John Blanco @ 11:05 PM


We met up with Damon on line. We probably haven't seen each other since 6 months ago perhaps? Damon is a longtime friend, we met back in m first software development job. Actually, I was one of the 3 who interviewed him for a job, and approved.

Damon's an editor for the Lyons Recorder and also recently got a steady gig as a DJ on our local community radio, WGNU, which is another local favorite of mine because it also hosts Democracy Now! with Amy Goodman.

Patriots 4 Peace

posted by John Blanco @ 11:04 PM


After about 45 minutes of waiting on line, we started to move in. Jay Marvin took up a post along the line, greeting people. Jay is our local morning Progressive talker, and recently subbed for Jerry Springer on his show for about two weeks. He's pretty good, and I generally listen to him until Democracy Now! comes on.

About a dozen people behind us was Vincen, who introduced himself to Jay as "Marshall from Arvada," the name he uses when he calls in. Jay recognized him, and how could he not?! "Marshall" called in the day after Michael Jackson was cleared and berated Jay for talking about MJ instead of Iraq...and Jay was noticable irritated on the radio........for the rest of the show!!!

Crowded Inside - Party Time!

posted by John Blanco @ 11:03 PM


Just after 6 PM, we've made it in!

The party was being held at The Boulder Broker Inn, which was a fancy little place. Very nice, very cabin-y, and a perfec venue. I immediately found the bar and then we went to the party room.

It was packed! You could barely move, and the food line was aeons long! We began the wait and chatted with a couple behind us. There were Progressives of all shapes and sizes there, from elderly to newborn. It's always amazingly fun to hang out with all these Democrats like this, it really reminds you that we're really out there. A couple close election losses will get you down.

Plus, Dems love to party. :-)

We got our food (giant fruit trays and hot wings), and found some room on the ground to sit for a bit. We met up with some fellow Jeffco Young Dems once we got inside: Vincen, Anthony, Sarah, Grace, and Lauren. Anthony and Sarah got position in front of the stage, where they could be close for when Randi arrived! (Sarah loves her allllmost as much as me!) ;-)

Progressive Entertainment :-)

posted by John Blanco @ 11:02 PM


So what do a bunch of Liberal Democrats do for entertainment? Wh-h-hy, throw darts at the President of course!!!!

The Bush Dart Board was one game, and there was also Pin the Lie on the Bush, which was an interesting read. Nina Storey was also scheduled to perform, a Lillith-type singer who many compare to Tori Amos, another goddess, but she actually is a lot closer to indie-singer Ani DiFranco. People, just because Nina has bright red hair (did you know Tori dyes her hair?), it doesn't mean you should compare her music to Tori. Geesh. :-)

Randi Rhodes - The Arrival!

posted by John Blanco @ 11:00 PM


After a half hour, Randi arrived! It was surreal to see the very person you've been listening to for 4 hours a day, for a year, right in front of you! She gave a great little speech and she had us to an exercise:

"OK, trust me on this...close your eyes...OK, got em closed? Now, put your hands over your ears like this...OK...got it?...OK, now you know what it's like to be a Republican!"

I actually took video of part of the speech, and I'll upload it later. :-) She offers a priest a drink. Yes, there was a priest there. :-)

The crowd was roaring for Randi, and when she left the stage to presumably sign autographs and such, it was a complete mobscene! I got to shake her hand, but she was ever-so-slowly being whisked away, so no time for anything else.

The pic above is of her taking pictures of us. Hopefully, I'll end up on her Web site, hehe...

And I Take My Shot!

posted by John Blanco @ 11:00 PM


When presented with the opportunity, I take it. :-) (Didn't do too well.) The guy before me hit him in the right eye three times in a row with three darts. Nice. ;-)

Jay Marvin w/ Randi Rhodes

posted by John Blanco @ 10:59 PM


After Randi was done talking, she met up with Jay Marvin, the morning guy.

Nina Storey Entertains - Lillith Boulderite!

posted by John Blanco @ 10:58 PM


Randi Rhodes had gone outside to meet with those who couldn't make it inside. Apparently, the line was still wrapping around the building after the cutoff! Randi was signing autographcs outside while we partied.

Inside, Nina Storey was performing in a very intimate venue. She was right there. :-) Nina Storey is a Lillith-type singer, kind of a mix of soul and folk, and she's extremely good! She's also a Boulder local, and man does she look the part. We saw her and what we assumed was her daughter coming in while online. You can't miss that bright red hair. :-)

She was incredible, and after she was done they did the raffle. We each had a ticket given to us as we came in. Anthony and Sarah hit the jackpot!!! Anthony won first, getting a "Be The Change" T-shirt. (Remember last month, we hosted a booth at their event.) Then, he managed to catch an "I Did Not Vote 4 Bush" band bracelet they were throwing into the crowd!

But Sarah trumped him, and the rest of us. She won a Janeane Garofalo-autographed Air America T-shirt! SO COOL! Later on, she got it signed by Randi Rhodes as well...awesome!!

Meanwhile, the rest of us sat in anticipation of winning an Al Franken-signed book or T-shirt or CD, a Randi Rhodes-signed T-shirt, or other goodie. But to no avail. They even raffled off the Bush Dart Board, signed by Randi Rhodes and Jay Marvin. Dang!

Once the raffle was over, we realized that Randi Rhodes was still outside. AM 760 kinda goofed here, she'd pretty much been outside the entire time, so it was time to go find her.

We all went outside to wait for an autograph. She was under a little awning, and as we went out we saw Grace was talking to her. She ended up with the three autographs, one for her, her sister Lauren, and even her teacher!!! hahahahah nice! Easy A!

Grace and Lauren said goodbye, and the rest of us went online. It wasn't very long, but of course it was a slow line. We'd have to wait about 45 minutes before we go to Randi......

Goodbye From Denver!

posted by John Blanco @ 10:57 PM


Anthony and Sarah went first. Sarah was absolutely giddy! They got an autograph, and then Sarah got her picture with Randi!

Michele and I were next! We said hello, and I told Randi we loved her! ;-) She was signing 8x10 glossies, and she signed "Love All Ways!" hehehehe...clever. Then, Michele took a picture of me cheating on...ERRR, me with Randi!

It was a great night. Afterwards, Michele, Damon, and I went to Old Chicago at the Boulder street mall, and we actually ran into her brother. What a fun night...can't wait for the next birthday bash!!

Randi's Autograph to Us

posted by John Blanco @ 10:55 PM


Thursday, August 25, 2005

Gonna See Randi Rhodes Tomorrow!!!

posted by John Blanco @ 7:27 PM


AM 760's 1st Birthday Celebration!

Well, it wasn't a life's dream until about a year ago for me, but tomorrow Michele and I are going to meet Randi Rhodes!!!! :-)

Randi is my favorite leftie radio hostess and she's coming to Denver tomorrow to help our local station celebrate one year on the air! I hope to get a pic with her and I hope to hope it comes out! ;-)

Also, gonna meet my friend Damon there, hopefully, and some others from the Young Dems. Should be a fun night. Free drinks, free food, free cake, and Randi Rhodes and Jay Marvin will be there...plus free entertainment, Nina Storey is performing!

All for FREE!

See ya in Boulder!

Tuesday, August 23, 2005


posted by John Blanco @ 6:48 AM


Michele and I are going through the first season of Sex and the City. We've been fans...tho I've been watching for longer...and the funny thing is that we bought the first season on DVD about a month ago and I'd totally forgotten. We were in Hollywood Video and I was the DVD set and thought, "Weird, it's an old one...is it the same one rented a while back that had the scratch?" And Michele's like, "We own it now, remember?"


So, we're up to the finale. I haven't seen any of these episods, so it's all new to me. :-) Not sure when I started watching...

I'm also up to the last three levels of Advance Wars 2. It's one of the games I got when I bought my GBA...and it's a great one. :-) I've been slightly addicted lately as I've gotten closer to the end...very cool. The levels are getting pretty darn tough, too.

Avatara is still moving. I added a feature which was an absolute necessity for me...windowing mode! Which means, instead of having to play the game full-screen only, it can be windowed. Which means testing the game is now a sane affair! I won't even begin to explain how frusterating it was before.

Also, as a side effect, the game runs a lot better too...so I'll need to patch things up in full screen mode later.

Other than that, life is on schedule. I'm talking with Chris right now about a possible vacation here in October, and it'd be totally kick ass fun if he does come out...ooooh, all the plans to be made. :-)

Monday, August 22, 2005

I'm a Lumberjack and I'm OK!

posted by John Blanco @ 7:05 PM


Sing along!


I'm a lumberjack and I'm OK
I sleep all night and I work all day

(He's a lumberjack and he's OK
He sleeps all night and he works all day)

I cut down trees, I eat my lunch
I go to the lavat'ry
On Wednesdays I go shopping
And have buttered scones for tea

(He cuts down trees, and eats his lunch...)

I'm a lumberjack and I'm OK
I sleep all night and I work all day

I cut down trees, I skip and jump
I love to press wild flow'rs
I put on women's clothing
And hang around in bars

(He cuts down trees, he skips and jumps...??)

I'm a lumberjack and I'm OK
I sleep all night and I work all day

I cut down trees, I wear high heels
Suspenders and a bra
I wish I'd been a girlie
Just like my dear papa

(He cuts down trees, he wears high heels...?!)

Friday, August 19, 2005

Still buy the "big lie"?

posted by John Blanco @ 11:02 AM


Moving up the chain now...Colin Powell's VERY OWN AIDE is calling his work on the Powell WMD speech...get ready...

"The lowest point in my life."

C'mon everyone...rub the crust out of your eyes and wake up! This was a lie! Rise up!


Dinner Night!

posted by John Blanco @ 10:57 AM


To-night is dinner night. :-) Every Friday. the Yog and I go out to eat at some delightfully chain-based Littleton restaurant. ;-) Tonight it's between Rib City Grill, Old Chicago, or Macaroni Grill...Hmmm...

Also, today is my brother Michael's birthday! Happy 42 Mikeboy!!!!

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Turning Corners

posted by John Blanco @ 10:39 AM


Yawn, yawn, yawn...another boring day at work, but at least today I have something interesting to do. A defect. Whoope-diddy-doo!

Last night, continued working on Avatara. I'm in the middle of cleaning up the code, refactoring the communciation system into a single class so I can send any message at any time. (Will need it later.) I've also optimised along the way, especially as it pertains to Direction objects on the server side. (Still creating too many on the client side, though...)

But, I've done a good deal of refactoring and, after having a couple bugs crop up, they have been fixed so the game is running as well as it did before I started. Once I'm done refactoring, I will start working on some other features such as game seating and...PLAYING CHESS. ;-)

Michele played some SimCity 3000 UL last night...she actually shocked me! She started off doing some crazy stuff that I thought would ruin her (too much building to start, stretched across the whole land). But, in time, she got a couple loans and things look good right now. Maybe I can learn from her. :-)

I'm tempted to buy the Strategy Guide...but I like trying to figure out the optimal building strategy on my own. But, in time, it's only $8 to buy it on EBay.

Also, read a couple more chapters in Harry Potter. I'm shocked at how much is different from the movie. When I saw the movie, it had been several months since I read the book - and things were "close enough" to convince me they were accurate.

But it's the little things. In the book, Hermione offers no help to Ron when he caused the troll's club to stop in mid-air. In the movie she does...and it better explains the three's friendship afterwards. In the book, she just screams...so why did they befriend her?

In the movie, when Harry chooses his wand, we see him given one wand which causes him to destroy part of the store! In the book, there is no such action -- all of the wands did nothing until the final one.

In the movie, there is no hint as to who bought Harry the Nimbus 2000 -- except that he looks at McGonagall who gives him a wry wink. Perhaps Harry's suspicion wasn't necessary, for in the book, the broomstick comes with a LETTER from Professor McGonagall saying that she bought it but to keep it hush-hush. You see, first years are NOT ALLOWED to have broomsticks.

Of course, there are missing sections. In fact, right after Harry receives the broomstick, Draco Malfoy (asshat) comes and grabs it. He then marvels that Harry is still in school (When Harry rides the broomstick when Hooch leaves, that's an expellable offense). He ends up challening Harry to a duel at midnight.

In the book, the duel is a ruse. Draco never shows. It's just his attempt to have Harry caught out of his room at midnight. But, Ron and he and Hermione and even Neville run across Fluffy, the giant 3-headed dog, during their expedition...which is inaccurate to the movie, where they see him for the first time much later.

There is also the whole missing dragon subplot...but I haven't re-read that part yet. It was very noticeable while watching the movie, though.

Well...my lunch is over. A sad time. Back to my boring life. Off I go!

Sunday, August 14, 2005

OK OK...Next Please...

posted by John Blanco @ 1:12 PM


So, Black & White really isn't shaping up to be the game I thought it would be. Once you get past the early tutorial lessons, you're left with free reign over the following:

* Hearing your villagers whine and complain that they never have food.
* Bitch about wanting new homes.
* Being reminded of all the death that you caused because your villagers don't know where to find the food.
* Having your creature roam free whilst you do actual WORK and learn lessons you don't want it to. (Your creature will now be more hungy. WTF?)

So, it's been exhausting. I've quit for now...prolly for good. But I have a new little adventure, Sim City 3000 Unlimited, which has been great fun so far. So, my new (old) toy. :-)

Last night, Michele and I went over to our friends's house for a bit of a Summer Party. :-) Had great fund, with good treats, a nice table outside (you done good, K and Shawn!), and good chat with friends.

Today, Michele and I have run some errands and are otherwise playing games. :-)

Also, I should say that yesterday I finished "Rush Limbaugh is a Big, Fat Idiot." Great book! For now, I'm done with the Franken books and need to move on to a political book with more substance...such as en economics tome or the Bill Clinton autobiography, "My Life."

The next political book, that is. You see, I've just begun my re-reading of the entire Harry Potter series. :-) Book 1. I'm up to chapter 3. It's been great so far -- I've forgotten so much, and the first book carries so much charm. I'm probably gonna be reading a chapter or two a day, so it will be slow and steady. Ahhhhh.

Avatara is also going well. I have a list of new features I want to get done, but am taking some time now to clean up the most recent code I wrote. Things shaping up nicely. I still worry about gaphics in the future, but I'm still a long way away. My next several implemented features will lead me right up to the chess action! So, I'll be working on my chess engine soon -- FUN. :-)

OK, Ciao for now.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

What It Means to be an American

posted by John Blanco @ 7:02 AM


Cindy Sheehan has been camped out in Crawford, TX, about a week now -- and she has been a source of amazing strength.

Her son, Casey, died April 4th, 2004. The President met with her and was undoubtedly callous about what happened. Here's a summary of how things went in an interview with Buzzflash.

Since that time, we've learned that indeed, no Weapons of Mass Destruction existed. We've also learned about the Downing Street Memo, which suggests that the "intelligence was being fixed around the policy."

What becomes of a woman who's lost her son for this "noble cause." She has spoken up on many issues, and last week, after hearing about the group of 14 Ohio soldiers who were killed, she has had enough.

She is camped outside of the Crawford ranch (actually forced 3 miles off) with a growing contingent of supporters. Every day, more come to join her. Sheehan is heard on almost every Democratic talk show almost daily, and her message has permeated into the MSM and even the Right-Wing talk shows.

I wish I could drop everything and go to Drawford, but I can't. However, I can, and we can, all help. Go to the Crawford Peace House Web site and donate what you can for their food and supplies. They need our support.

I've donated $10. Will you match it?

Monday, August 08, 2005

I Shall Dissent; Resident Evil 4 Blows

posted by John Blanco @ 8:39 PM


Resident Evil 4, available on the Nintendo GameCube, has generally been regarded as one of the best games of all time. Some lists even put it #1. I disagree.

I recently borrowed it from a friend at work and I can easily say the game sucks. Maybe it's because I never played much of the earlier games in the series, but I just find the game dull.

It has amazing graphics. It has well done sound design...and it's the best when there's no sound at all. (Too silent!) It's a genuinely creepy game, scarier than most movies.

But it sucks.

The game is all about "Play n' Die." Basically, all the talent in the world will get you nowhere. Your only skill is to be able to reason out how to get past a certain area by repetition, which is to say, dying, and then slowly learning what you're up against. Play. Die. Play. Die. Play. Die. Get some chips. Play. Die. Play. Die. Play. Die. Play. Die. Play...FINALLY!

For example, play through a level and then WHOOPS, you stepped in a bear trap. The camera doesn't aim down, and you would get motion sickness if you constantly scanned up and down all the time...so you missed it. OK, watch for it next time.

WHOOPS, there was another!

WHOOPS, that spider was dangerous. Gotta waste a gunshot on it.

WHOOPS, got past everything, but it took ya 7 gunshots to shoot down that blue medallion, better restore your old game or else you'll never get past the 15 zombies headed your way with only 15 rounds left! (If only you can shoot and kill with 1 shot, eh?)

WHOOPS, the last typewriter was quite a bit ago, need to do a lot over again!

I generally disdain games like this. They're very challenging, but only because your abilities are very crippled. Your viewing angle is low. You can't strafe. You can't fire and move at the same time. You can't move backwards very fast, and turning around takes too long to escape any self-respecting zombie.

Bullets are as a rare as gold, but it takes 5-7 shots to kill the most common of zombies? Ridiculous! You can get through a very dificult level, but if your health is low by the end of it, better restore, cause you'll have no chance in the next section.

Want to resotre your health with a first aid spray or herb? Tough luck...those are as rare as diamonds.

It's too bad I'll never see any of the bosses as I've heard such great things about them. Graphically superior. But so what, I'm just not having fun slowly slogging my way through each area. Solving the game, which would take me weeks of boringly spent hours, would produce a merciful feeling of accomplishment rather than a proud one.

You suck, Resident Evil 4.

Sunday, August 07, 2005


posted by John Blanco @ 6:39 PM


I am a MoHAA God! Solved it.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Completions and Advancements

posted by John Blanco @ 10:46 AM


Time has been tight lately, and my blog has been the victim. But not today, today my blog gets some attention. :-)

After this past weekend's Ed Schultz show and Be The Change event, it's been a more casual but fast-action several days.

Michele and I have been playing a lot of games lately. I've been playing Medal of Honor: Allied Assault and Black & White while she's been playing The Sims 2 and Sim City 3000 Unlimited. I've been pretty deeply engrossed in B&W , which to me is one of the best games I've ever had the pleasure to play, and I've only scratched the surface!

I've also been working on Chess Avatara, finally making some real good progress in the Room code last night. I'm going to try to really cap that off tonight, only allowing myself to play more games if I do the Avatara work.

I also finished "What's the Matter with Kansas?" ... finally!! A good book, but a little vocabularic. I've had to read it with a dictionary nearby, geeeez! But it's done. Finished it last night. Now, I get the pleasure of reading Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot by Al Franken. Should be a treat! (I've read Lies, and it was magnificent!)

Michele is also on the cusp of getting a new job. So things are buzzin'. :-) ALSO, we should be getting our new video card today, so I'll have to install that tonight as well...hopefully it will help Sims 2 run like buttah!

This weekend, we have nothing planned. Good. Next weekend will be busy, as will the rest of the month! So, Michele and I will surely enjoy some playtime together for a few days. :-)

Monday, August 01, 2005

Black & White

posted by John Blanco @ 8:54 PM


I've been playing a game that came out a few years ago called Black & White. In it, you're a god. You control your villages in the sphere of influence, and control a mystical creature that is capable of so much power.

It's a very cool game, and I just made it to another world. Most awesome. :-)