Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Funny Freakin' Quote

posted by John Blanco @ 8:20 AM


"Last week, I stated this woman was the ugliest woman I had ever seen. I have since been visited by her sister, and now wish to withdraw that statement."

- Mark Twain

Monday, May 29, 2006

The DaVinci Code

posted by John Blanco @ 11:51 AM


Michele and I bought the book last weekend and have been reading at a fervent pace. I just finished it. Michele has about 70 pages to go now...

We hope to see the movie later today, and wanted to have read the book first! :-)

Great book! Mucho recommendo!!!

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Game Nights, Medical Miracles, and BUZZZZZ....

posted by John Blanco @ 1:26 PM


Hello, on a Saturday morning.

Last night, Michele and I met up with Anthony, Sarah, and Kyle at Linn's place for a Young Dems Game Night. The Yog and I got there a little late as we were munching on Benigann's for dinner...Mmmmm. Sallllad.

So we met up and brought games and chatted and ate. We started off with some Cranium, which team Anthony/Sarah/Me were victorious in. Did you know that only 65% of males are circumsized immediately after birth?

After that, we played Scatterogires, and lemme tell ya, I haven't played that game in YEARS since I got burnt out on it. But, it was refreshing to play again. Always great fun.

Anthony won round 1, whilst Linn and I tied to win round 2. Anthony won the overall title with the most points combined in the two rounds. Well played!


This morning, I finally accomplished the unthinkable. Yes, I solved Trauma Center for Nintendo DS. And lemme tell ya...that game is a frickin BITCH! Wow...never played a game so hard. Well, maybe not since the original Castlevania. ;-)

In the past several weeks, my forearm has cramped up so man times from repeated failed surgeries. My stylus has left near bruises on my index finger. Just ask Michele how many times I cursed the game out. :-)

But, I solved it this morning. Sweet victory! And now, I am starting a game I have put off for so very long, as I've worked on other games...Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time!



And tonight, after I go with Michele to her high school will happen.


I'm going to buzz my hair. Mind you, not shave it. Not even close. I'll prolly keep some length on it. But, I will buzz it.

I'm not sure how it will look, but one thing is for certain...I'll feel much cooler in the summer heat. ;-)

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Oh, Secretary of Idiocy...errr, Defense.

posted by John Blanco @ 7:06 PM


"If you have too many troops, you run two risks: You're too heavy-footed, you're too intrusive, you feed the insurgency because you look like an occupying force. The second risk is you create a dependency -- you do all the work for the Iraqis instead of pushing them and having them do all the work." - Donald Rumsfeld to Larry King (May 25th, 2006)

OK, so let's get this straight. If you have too many troops, you "look like an occupying force."

Ummm...well, we have too few, and we look like one.

OK next, and if you have too many troops, you "do all the work for the Iraqis."

Welllll...we have too few, and we're still there!

You fucking moron!!

Timing Is Done, Man!

posted by John Blanco @ 6:59 PM


As I promised yesterday. You can now flag an opponent. :-)

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Chess Avatara: Latest Screenshots

posted by John Blanco @ 7:34 PM


Above, you will see a lot of progress in Chess Avatara since the last screenshots you've seen. Granted, this is not all progress in the last few days...this is a few weeks of work.

First, you'll see the working title page. This is a lot splashier than what I originally had, which was just the username/password controls. As always, none of this is final, but it's nice to have something to look at whilst I code. :-) I like the castle theme more and more as I look at it. I'm also very proud, cause I drew that "abstract" castle by hand.

This is definitely the kind of artwork I like...strokes. Not hyper-realistic, but Flash-realistic.

The second screenshot showcases two of the major features I've added recently: pieces lost and the timer. Those clocks are REAL now. They actually tick down. The only thing not included in that timer functionality is the ability to flag your opponent. That will come next...possibly tomorrow.

The pieces lost is also REAL. It will show you the pieces you've lost from your orgiinal set. It's super handy when you want to make a board assessment. Don't depend on the pieces in a real OTB match though...Mr. Blanco has been known to hide a pawn in his hand for deception. ;-)

The last screenshot is older stuff, but it's here for the sake of completeness. Checks and checkmates and draws are announced via video and audio. You can't see the audio, so trust me on that one.


Overall, none of the graphics are guaranteed to be there on launch day, but pretty much all of them serve as GREAT placeholders. Michele designed the pieces and I think did an excellent job. You can be sure that the chess set will be there...along with many others!

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Updated: My Gaming Cabinet

posted by John Blanco @ 1:57 PM


Here's my updated video game cabinet, after Vincen donated his N64 to me. (On the top shelf, right side.)

I've also added the "Official Nintendo Player's Guide" by m NES. What a great retro book! I got it along with my Nintendo, but I just decided to display it now.

Oh, the memories...

AC Group Shot

posted by John Blanco @ 1:52 PM


Just the 6 of us today. Here's we is. Adventure Club Forever! From L to R, Shawn, newly-bald Kevin, Michele, Me, and Greg. Minka is in front.

Shaving Private Ryan

posted by John Blanco @ 1:52 PM


The Adventure Club went hiking today. We went to Roxborough State Park. Along the way, we stepped aside from the trail and shaved Kevin's head. He wanted it that way, so his hair can run free in the wind!

Sadly, all we had was this trimmer, and it took a while. :-) Too bad I didn't know, I have razor sharp clippers right in my cabinet! Woulda taken seconds!

DDR Night @ The Blancos' II

posted by John Blanco @ 1:28 PM


Last night, Michele and I hosted our second DDR party -- and we had a whale of a time. :-)

Here's my blog on the first one in Febuary.

This DDR party was a little more enhanced than the last one because of the new home theater we installed last week. And after a day of cleaning and preparing, things started at around 5 PM.

Linn showed up first, and after breaking out all the food and drinks, I taught her how to play. Linn is the kind of dream attendee a DDR host would hope for. She seemed terrified at first, resistant to play, though she wasn't too bad to start.

By the end of the evening, she was all over the dance mat -- kicking butt, taking names. ;-)

Vincen, one of the 2 holdovers from the first party (everyone else was a first timer!) came over and -- as a side note, generously donated his Nintendo 64 to me, so it is a new addition to my collection (see next blog!) -- thanks Vincen! -- and Vincen got practiced up as well.

Mobat (the other holdover) and Athena showed, followed b Sean Christmann. Mobat's always been good, and now he's up to light mode. I wonder who will be the first to join me in standard mode someday. :-)

Christmann was a natural, although he misinterpreted how to play when I explained it to him, and he was a complete spazz to start. Fortunately, he was just playing wrong, and he was almost instantly good.

With practice in full swing and 7 PM (the official party start time) upon us, Dorrie and Mike Munhall showed up. I grabbed Mike right away to teach him how to play, and wouldn't you know it -- Dorrie even played!

Yes, it's a col day in hell, folks. :-)

Mike did really well -- perhaps his inner DJ helped with that -- and Dorrie also did well, though she was playing as if the dance pad were made of acid. But she was getting the rhythm going as the night wore on.

The last to arrive were Michele's brother Andy, and his girlfriend Corrine. (I can spell it now!) Andy figured things out pretty quick -- go figure, the gamers seemed to take right to it -- and Corrine we had to work on. :-)

The white guy having more groove than the white girl? What kind of world is this?

Corrine won't be off the hook, though -- we're gonna work on her!

The party went great! Dorrie made guacamole, and it went fast. The newbies loved the dancing, the room stayed cool because I cranked the AC all day, and the new sound system was flawless -- whew!

The original theme of the party was "Boys vs. Girls," meaning two teams of -- well -- boys versus girls. Unfortunately, the teams were not even, and I instead change things to a "Red vs. Blue" format where I tried to make two very balanced teams.

In the end, after 5 rounds of head-to-head matchups, and 3 rounds of team play, the tournament ended in a DEAD TIE.

The tie-breaker that was agreed upon was to have me and Michele in a dance-off. Michele and I agreed upon the song that we knew we could both do perfectly at any time, so make things fair, so we chose "Cartoon Heroes" in Light Mode -- and I managed to just BARELY beat her out. A late screw up by me made things almost dead even.

I really liked the format this time. I think teams are far better than individual, or couples, standings because -- in the end -- the point is not to declare winners, but just give everyone something to dance for.

The team-based tournament provided that kind of motivation, and a nice camaraderie as well. I think I'll do the same format next time.

One new idea for th enext party is to have a last, bonus round, where every player takes turns doing "Doubles Mode". In this mode, one player plays on BOTH mats at the same time, jumping from side. I've done it a few times, and it's really fun. :-)

The only thing better than DDR is a DDR party. And the only thing better than a DDR party is a DDR party withf riends! :-)

If you combine both parties, in total, there have been 17 unique dancers (Me, Michele, Adriana, Aaron, Kevin, Shawn, Mike, Dorrie, Mobat, Vincen, Patricia, Anthony, Sarah, Sean, Linn, Andy, and Corinne). We might have to plan another DDR party between now and September (I hope to do one about every 3 months or so) just to give everyone a chance!


Oh, and sadly, I didn't take any pictures. :-( I am dumb. So, I have nothing to show. No proof. Nothing!

You'll just have to believe me that it really happened. ;-)

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Marilyn Musgrave the KKK!

posted by John Blanco @ 2:13 PM


Marilyn Musgrave, who's running district 5 in Colorado for the US House, has been endorced by...

The Ku Klux Klan!

Here's is their site. The best part is the rainbow. God intended a rainbow of cultures. Sounds great, doesn't it? Except, what they mean is that want to keep it a rainbow...racial mixing should be punished!!!!

Kudos to pacified on Colorado Soapblox for this one.

Yeah, if you live in district 5 here in our great want to vote for Angie Paccione in 2006. :-)

Friday, May 19, 2006

DDR Time Approaches!

posted by John Blanco @ 4:55 PM


T minus 25 hours til DDR time! :-) Off to Pagliacchi's downtown for dinner tonight.

Mets down 4-3 in the second against the Yanks. Come on guys.

(My kingdom for a 4 or 5 starter!)

Video Games I Own

posted by John Blanco @ 6:43 AM


This is an official list of the video game systems, games, and miscellaneous extras that I own!

(If you'd like to donate to this collection, inquire within!)

Nintendo Wii

Wii Sports
Madden 07
Rayman: Raving Rabbids
Call of Duty 3
Happy Feet
The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess
WarioWare: Smooth Moves
SSX Blur
Super Paper Mario
Resident Evil 4
Wii Play
Big Brain Academy: Wii Edition
Super Mario Strikers
My Sims
Guitar Hero III
Guitar Hero III: World Tour
MLB Power Pros
Super Mario Galaxy
Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games
Looney Tunes: Acme Arsenal
Ghost Squad
No More Heroes
Zack and Wiki: Quest for Barbaros' Treasure
Super Smash Bros. Brawl
Mario Kart Wii
Wii Fit
Wii Fit Plus
Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga
de Blob
Wii Music
Lego Batman
Animal Crossing: City Folk
Wii Punch-Out
EA Sports Active
Wii Sports Resort

Sonic The Hedgehog (VC - Genesis)
The Legend of Zelda (VC - NES)
Military Madness (VC - TG16)
Donkey Kong (VC - NES)
Donkey Kong Jr. (VC - NES)
Ninja Gaiden (VC - NES)
Ninja Gaiden II (VC - NES)
Ice Climber (VC - NES)
Mario Bros. (VC - NES)
Super Mario 64 (VC - N64)
Paper Mario (VC - N64)
Super C (VC - NES)
Mega Man (VC - NES)
Mega Man 2 (VC - NES)
Mega Man 3 (VC - NES)
Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars (VC - SNES)
Punch Out: Mr. Dream (VC - NES)
Ghosts and Goblins (VC - NES)

World of Goo (WiiWare)

Nintendo DS

Super Mario Kart DS
Tetris DS
Animal Crossing DS: Wild World
Super Mario Bros. 64 DS
Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney
Trauma Center: Under the Knife
Brain Age
Goldeneye: Rogue Agent
Kirby Canvas Curse
Mario & Luigi: Partners In Time
Feel The Magic XY/XX
New Super Mario Bros.
Lost Magic
Big Brain Academy
True Swing Golf
The Sims 2
Star Fox Command
Mario vs. Donkey Kong 2: March of the Minis
Elite Beat Agents
Final Fantasy III
Cooking Mama
Phoenix Wright 2: Justice For All
Yoshi's Island 2
Pokemon Diamond
Pokemon Pearl
Advance Wars: Dual Strike
My Word Coach
Professor Layton and the Curious Village
Theme Park
Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box
Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story

Game Boy Advance

Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga
World Championship Poker
Final Fantasy I & II: Dawn of Souls
Donkey Kong Country II
Final Fantasy IV Advance
Final Fantasy V Advance
Advance Wars
Final Fantasy VI Advance

Nintendo Entertainment System (w/ Zapper)

Super Mario Bros.
Super Mario Bros. II
Super Mario Bros. III
The Legend of Zelda
The Legend of Zelda: Link to the Past
Kid Icarus
Ring King
Barbie (no comment)
Seasame Street Countdown(no comment)
Hogan's Alley
Disney's Adventures in the Magic Kingdom
Golgo 13
Metal Gear
Metal Gear: Snake's Revenge
Desert Commander

Super Nintendo (w/ box)

Street Fighter II
Street Fighter II Turbo
Killer Instinct
Donkey Kong Country
The Magical Quest featuring Mickey Mouse
Super Mario World
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles In Time
Royal Rumble
Star Fox
Silver Surfer (Thanks, Mobat!)

Virtual Boy (w/ Performance carry case)

Red Alarm
Virtual Boy Wario Land
Mario Clash
Mario's Tennis
Galactic Pinball
Virtual League Baseball


Final Fantasy VII

Nintendo 64

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask
NFL Blitz 2000
Waverace 64
Mario Kart 64
Gauntlet Legends
Nascar '99
Rugrats in Paris: The Movie
NHL '99
The World is Not Enough: 007
Perfect Dark
Star Wars Episode I Racer
Duke Nukem: Zero Hour
Mystical Ninja
Mario Party 2
Ready 2 Rumble Boxing
Star Fox 64

Nintendo Gamecube

Mario Party 6
The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker
Super Monkey Ball
Super Monkey Ball 2
Super Smash Bros. Melee
Super Mario Strikers
Soul Caliber II
Super Mario Sunshine
Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life
Animal Crossing
Star Wars: Rogue Leader
The Sims
Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem
Star Fox Adventures
Star Fox Assault
Crazy Taxi
Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles
Viewtiful Joe
Viewtiful Joe 2
Alien Hominid
Donkey Konga 2

Playstation 2

Katamari Damacy
SSX Tour
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
DDR Extreme 2


Medal of Honor: Allied Assault
Roller Coaster Tycoon 3
Guild Wars
Chessmaster 8000
Sim Coaster
Sim Safari
Sim Golf
Sim Theme Park (Gold Edition)
Sim Copter
Sim City 3000 Unlimited
The Sims
The Sims Livin' Large
The Sims Unleashed
The Sims Makin' Magic
The Sims 2
The Sims 2 (Mac)
The Sims 2 Family Fun
The Sims (Complete Collection)
Worms 2
The Leisure Suit Larry Collection Series
The King's Quest Collector's Edition
Black & White Deluxe
Myth: The Fallen Lords
Myth II: Soulblighter
Freedom Fighters

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Chess Avatara & Everything Else

posted by John Blanco @ 10:37 AM


I begin my blog today with the one thing I have really failed to update about in the last several days: Chess Avatara.

I've implemented the feature where you see the chess pieces you've lost during a game. Very handy for a quick assessment of the position. :-) I now have two major features left before I hit another milestone:

* Timed Games
* Rating Calculations

There is good news on both. First, timed games have already been designed out. I *cough* designed it during a long meeting at work *cough*. It could conceivably take one sitting to do, but likely will span a couple.

As for rating calculations, I have even MORE good news! I've finally located a solution, and implementing it should be pretty straightforward! Again, it might take two sittings...but I'm really excited to get this done as it's been a worry for a long time. :-)

So, all is well. With Memorial Day Weekend coming up, and days this week, let's say that I'd like to get rating calculations done by the end of the long weekend.

Hold me to it!


The home theater is about 75% complete. Working on the surround sound speakers today. I have to get this all done by at least Saturday evening, and I should. So far, it looks and sounds great! I test out hi-def DVD tonight, and then we get HD cable Friday. Sweeeeeeeet.


Michele is feeling even better! She might even be able to DDR on Saturday at the party! Awesome!


Work is still good. But my reader don't care about dees!!!!!


Oh, Trauma Center on Nintendo DS is freakin' impossible. GARRRR!!!!


OK, Osama out.

Use Your Fist And Not Your Mouth by Marilyn Manson

posted by John Blanco @ 7:12 AM


Come on, come on!
Come on, come on!

I am overground, outselling it
Since God thinks I don't exist
The beatings happen per minute
This is not blue collar white corrective politics
I'm on an hate, american style, kick

This is the black collar song
Put it in your middle finger and sing along
Use your fist and not your mouth
(Come on, come on! Come on, come on!)
This is the black collar song
Put it in your middle finger and sing along
Use your fist and not your mouth
(come on, come on! Come on, come on!)

I'm on a campaign for pain
And when I get elected
I'll wipe the white off your house
The smile off your face

This is the black collar song
Put it in your middle finger and sing along
Use your fist and not your mouth
(Come on, come on! Come on, come on!)
This is the black collar song
Put it in your middle finger and sing along
Use your fist and not your mouth
(come on, come on! Come on, come on!)

I woke up today and wished for tomorrow
I don't want to be like anyone else
I woke up today and wished for tomorrow
I don't want even be myself

I said no, this isn't your song
We can't all get along
It's too hard to hold hands when your hands are fists
My hate pop won't ever stop
I'm fucking glad we're different
This is my hate american style

Don't bring
Don't sing it
Use your fist and not your mouth

This is the black collar song
Put it in your middle finger and sing along
Use your fist and not your mouth
(Come on, come on! Come on, come on!)
This is the black collar song
Put it in your middle finger and sing along
Use your fist and not your mouth
(come on, come on! Come on, come on!)

This is the black collar song
Put it in your middle finger and sing along
Use your fist and not your mouth
(Come on, come on! Come on, come on!)
This is the black collar song
Put it in your middle finger and sing along
Use your fist and not your mouth
(come on, come on! Come on, come on!)

I woke up today and wished for tomorrow
I don't want to be like anyone else
I woke up today and wished for tomorrow
I don't want even be myself

Monday, May 15, 2006

Fraud: Another Reason to Impeach Bush

posted by John Blanco @ 8:52 PM


Tonight, during his speech to America, George W. Bush committed another trasonable act that warrants his impeachment. He is a cancer to our country, and must be terminated. Once again...

Here's simply the blurb on CNN:

President Bush addressed the nation tonight on border security and illegal immigration -- hot topics in an election year. He navigated a political minefield, eyeing his base with a call to end the "catch and release" of illegal immigrants, and the politically vital Latino population with a path to citizenship.

OK, so Bush calls for strict enforcement of border laws. We can argue about WHY we don't always enforce the law for just the "plain old" Mexicans who come across, but this isn't the time. (I have only so much server space.)

My point is here.

Yes, just over a year ago:

Officially approved by Bush on Dec. 17 after extensive bickering in Congress, the National Intelligence Reform Act included the requirement to add 10,000 border patrol agents in the five years beginning with 2006. Roughly 80 percent of the agents were to patrol the southern U.S. border from Texas to California, along which thousands of people cross into the United States illegally every year.

But Bush's proposed 2006 budget, revealed Monday, funds only 210 new border agents.


The law signed by Bush had a caveat that went virtually unreported at the time. A summary, published by the Senate Government Affairs Committee, required the government to increase the number of border patrol agents by at least 2,000 per year, "subject to available appropriations."

Democrats were unhappy that the proposed budget used the escape clause so soon after the president approved the huge boost in border agents.

"We know we must do more to shore up security along our borders," said Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, top Democrat on the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee. "The president's budget does not even attempt to meet this challenge."

Yeah, the Democrats are soft on homeland security. You can either believe what the Repulicans say, or believe what they do.

I believe what they do.

That's why I'm a Democrat.

My Video Game Collection

posted by John Blanco @ 7:12 PM


Ah, this was a long time in the planning, and purchasing, but now it's officially started. :-)

Here's a little tour...

On the top shelf (L to R): Nintendo Entertainment System (original), Zapper Light Gun, Super Nintendo and controller, SNES box for Mickey Mouse game.

Second shelf: PlayStation (original), controller and multi-tap, an all-in-one Namco arcade stick, Nintendo Virtual Boy (circa 1995) with Virtual League Baseball and stand.

Third shelf: DVD's

Fourth shelf: NES games, SNES games, N64 games (system coming soon?), PlayStation games, PS2 games, and Gamecube games. (The PS2 and Gamecube are in my entertainment center because they are in use. ;-) )


posted by John Blanco @ 11:49 AM


My last blog was Thursday. Today is Monday. I have not blogged during this time. Why?

Because my mind is lost, that's why.

On Thursday, we went to Best Buy -- home of the worst business practices since Shea Homes (you heard me) -- to get our brand spankin' new TV. Well, after all the hassle, it arrived Sunday morning. And just as I was in the middle of a 4-hour run of Castlevania on NES, too. :-)

But that's later in the blog. ;-)

Well, it took an hour to get it all hooked up and test out the components, which all went fine. Then, after a Mother's Day feast at the In-Laws', we came back and had a couple hours to get our living room unburied from all the wires, devices, and extra TV's!

After getting all put in place, and reflecting on things, I have the following comments:

* Best Buy needs to tell you that if yer gonna buy an HDTV, you'll probably want Comcast HD service.
* Best Buy needs to tell you that unless you do a whole lot of component revisiting, everything you see on your TV will be "pillarboxed."
* None of our components are ready to pump out HD. :-)
* I may need to get an XBox 360 after all.
* I need a digital audio component and some nice speakers to really enjoy this.

SO, I still have some errands to do, and a DDR party on Saturday to do it by!

For starters, we called up Comcast and HD will be setup at our house Friday morning.

Second, we needed to address audio. The internal speakers on the new TV were pretty lacking...which is understandable, since it's a flat screen and options are limited and if you're going to buy a freakin' 32" LCD, you PROBABLY have a decent audio solution already!

So, we hooked it up to our few-month-old stereo and it sounds great...but, we didn't buy the mother of all stereos with the idea of supporting wonderful, a longer-term solution will be a component source (surround sound perhaps? ooooh...)

The next big of distress is where to put our stereo. You see, it used to be on our bookshelf. But, there's something wildly psychologically distressing about having your TV screen and the audio speakers sitting 3 feet away from each other. :-)

So, I had to integrate the stereo in with the TV. Normally, this is very good. The stereo sits in the TV stand, and the speakers are on either side of the TV.

In reality, this is a logistical nightmare. For one thing, the stereo cannot be controlled by IR where it is now. Secondly, the speakers can't sit next to the TV on the I really want some bigger, floor-sitting speakers instead.

And I don't want to punk down too much money for all this. Craigslist? Craigslist??

Next, is the wirey MESS behind the entertainment unit. it's a NIGHTMARE. I need to rewire everything once I solve my stereo issues.

On top of that, today I pick up my display case, which we bought on Saturday, to showcase all our cool new retro Nintendo equipment and such. :-) And somehow, we have to fit that in the living room as well. YIKES!

So tonight, I expect 4 hours of furniture rearranging, and since Michele is still recovering from surgery, all she can do is watch and laugh.


OK OK, now that the stress is building up, I must cheer myself up. :-)

On Thursday night, then Friday afternoon, we received our NES and SNES systems! Whilst the NES was not as "mint" as the auction led on, the SNEs was indeed elite! Michele and I had a ball playing the old games, and I even took some time Sunday morning to clean out all the internals with rubbing alcohol, and the NES plays great!


Ah, now I have a lead on a component source. OK, I need to go. So much to do!

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Best Buy Sucks Worse Than Shea Homes

posted by John Blanco @ 7:05 PM


Bummer, dude! One of my New Years Resolutions was to ban Best Buy as much as possible because of their consistently horrible customer service. Tonight, I feel really dirty because we made a pretty big purchase, and we did it at Best Buy. :-(

And we were punished YET AGAIN for it.

Tonight, Michele and I went to Best Buy to buy a new TV. The TV we have in the living room now is fine, a flat screen boob tube. It has one problem, however. Occassionally, during dark scenes, it makes a high-pitched buzzing noise.

SO annoying.

So we decided tonight we wanted to look at the LCD TV's. We went to Best Buy (mistake #1).

Well, we got a load of questions answered, pondered our decision for quite a while, and then settled on the Samsung brand which was, errr, more expensive than we intended to pay. But, whatever, ya treat yourself, right?

Well...we had to wait a while for the ONE guy in the TV area to make our purchase. After about 10 minutes, we were ordering.

Well, that took quite a deal of time. Everything seemed smoothe at first. The guy did some ringy dingy stuff on the puter. Then, went to get fetch the TV. That took about 10 minutes, but finally he came back with our flat screen boxy goodness.

Then, he rang us up some more. After about 10 minutes more of that, we all noticed the price was about $200 cheaper than the ticket price. Were Michele and I in luck?? Was it on sale? Sweet?!

Well, no. The guy looked and looked, then had to go talk to the manager to figure out if he had the right TV or not. Michele and I huddled about our gameplan...if the TV was indeed more expensive than the ticket price after all, how would we play it? Michele wanted to go with the "You have to give us that price!" tact. I wanted to do with the "Oh, then hell, we're not interested" and attempt to walk out tact.

In the end, it was the wrong TV. But the price was still right, so they went to get the right one.

15 minutes pass. Holy lord.

The guy comes back. Turns out that TV was the same TV, but some different facing. OK, then why was it $200 cheaper? Prolly cause he was lying. And, lookie here, the TV we wanted is not in stock!

Waiting for half an hour for a TV they didn't have in. Fucking dandy.

So, he says they can order from the werehouse. Whew. OK, we can't get it tonight, but we'll have it in a couple days. Free shipping even, for the trouble. OK.

10 more minutes of typing. Oh, I'm sorry. We can't deliver it this weekend. The soonest we can deliver it is...June 6th!


But, wait...they can order it from another store perhaps. But the guy, Austin, needs to go talk to his manager first. So, we have to wait again. Another 10 minutes, at least...

Then he shows up. They located a store! Where? Ft. Collins! HOLY SHIT we coulda drove to Ft. Collins and got it by now!!! And it's my favorite city in the world cause I'm a CSU alumn and love it.

FUCK! Why are we still waiting!!!

Why? Because now he needs to make phone calls, and talk to the manager again. So we're waiting again. And my god this video loop is showing us Barry Manilow again and what the HELL did he do to his face?!?!?!


The guy comes back, and rings us up, finally! It's just past 6. We've been there over an hour! Now, he says "You can start bringing yer stuff to the car and I'll meet you at the customer service center."

Why do we need to do that. All we have is a power strip and a DVD recorder. We'll just meet you there, dude.

So we follow him and wait by customer service...OVER 20 minutes! They made 2 to 3 called for the MOD (Manager On Duty?) and finally the broad shows! Michele took the time to go CD browsing...found a CD, bought it, and I was still waiting there! And the guy says OK yer set!


I hate Best Buy. I feel so dirty.

When I buy an XBox 360 for this puppy, trust me...not going to Best Buy for it.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

College Republicans Stand By Their Beliefs

posted by John Blanco @ 7:59 PM


Gotta love this Democrat. :-)

Blagojevich Asks For Anti-Blagojevich Shirt from College Republicans

URBANA, Ill. (AP) -- Democratic Governor Rod Blagojevich could have been snippy. He could have been terse.

Instead, he had some fun with a group of College Republicans who came out to his appearance at the University of Illinois yesterday.

The group wore blue T-shirts emblazoned with an anti-Blagojevich slogan (Blagojevich sucks!) to protest a decision that could put some of the Illinois Student Assistance Commission's student loan portfolio up for sale.

The governor announced the program and touted its potential to provide student aid to more students. Then he looked at the College Republicans and said he wanted a T-shirt. In Blagojevich's words, "I promise you if I get a blue one like that, I'll wear it when I go out jogging."

The College Republicans quickly handed up a blue T-shirt and posed for pictures with the governor.

Quick Avatara Update!

posted by John Blanco @ 7:52 PM


Undo is complete!!

Tuesday, May 09, 2006


posted by John Blanco @ 6:20 PM


Noticably absent has been Michele's well being. I've just decided to wait a bit instead of giving daily updates. As of now, she's doing a lot better. She's moving around (still with some ab pain), her appeitite is normal, and now it's just gonna take some time to lose that belly soreness.

So all is as good as we could have hoped. :-)

Castles and Stats

posted by John Blanco @ 6:18 PM


What, you thought Chess Avatara was dead? HA!

Still going on. I get to work on it for an hour or so a night, sometimes more, oftentimes less. But, I've already hit my two goals for the night, so I'll blog about the progress whilst I watch the rest of the Met game on GameCast.

Well, to start with, a couple nights ago I solidified the Hibernate implementation in the server. This is good news for many reasons:

* The MySQL database is now officially hooked up.
* I can now maintain stats and real users.
* I got to learn Hibernate.
* We use Hibernate at work, so it comes in handy right away. :-)

So far, the database is able to manage users and records. It can authorize user logins, so now I've switched to a system where I have to enter a real login name instead of using some random one.

Also, as of last night, I maintain records for the two users in the system: ZaBlanc and Yogi. So, when you win or lose or draw, your record is updated. Neat!

Today's goal was to parlay that record into a rating that is sent to the game screen, so the two players know each others records. That has been done...though instead of a rating (1264), you see something like (3W 2L 2D).

The rating calculations will come really soon, when I figure out how. ;-)

Another little addition tonight was to make some sorta ad hoc title screen. I actually drew a wicked sweet abstract castle. I am proud. :-) It may never see the light of day in the final game, but it does fill up the opening screen nicely.

The next few items of work include displaying all the pieces that have been captured in a game, undo'ing a move (really important when a player mistakenly moves a piece to the wrong square), and the aforementioned ratings system.

In terms of defects, we're still pretty solid. The only real problem area still seems to be the chat system which is both a bit buggy and a bit non-intuitive to use. I'm going to add some mouse functionality to make it a lot easier.

So, next up is probably undo. When Matt and I played the only serious game ever attempted on Avatara, the only issue we ran into was when he accidentally moved a rook and dropped it on the wrong square. He wanted to take it back, but we had to do some manual intervention to correct things. Aside from that, the game went swimmingly...(Oh, he couldn't resign yet either, but that's since been added.)

All is well. Carry on.

Monday, May 08, 2006

And Here Wii Go...

posted by John Blanco @ 7:48 PM


The moment I've been waiting for since January! Tomorrow, Nintendo makes the "big announcement." Just what is the Nintendo Wii?

Wii all want to know...Christmann, Mobat, and I wait with bated breath.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Wakeup Call: 4 AM!

posted by John Blanco @ 3:43 PM


Michele and I arrive at this hospital around 5:15 AM, ready for some pre-op madness! We actually didn't get in to pre-op until 6 we killed some time by taking odd pictures.


posted by John Blanco @ 3:42 PM


OK, goofy pictures over. It's about 6:30 AM, and Michele has been in pre-op for 15 minutes and is fitted with all the tubes and widgets you could ask for. It's an hour wait til surgery time at this point.

Michele: "Alrrrright, let's do this!!!"

posted by John Blanco @ 3:42 PM


At about 7:40 AM, Michele was fitted with an aluminum hat and was ready for surgery! I actually took a movie of her being carted away.

Michele Post-Op

posted by John Blanco @ 3:41 PM


At around 11 AM, an hour after we talked to the doctor after Michele was out of surgery, they let us in to see her. She was loopey and spacey, definitely well-medicated. But, after eating some crackers and having ginger ale, she got better pretty quickly...and at around noon, we were all able to leave the hospital! :-)

Michele Post-Op 2

posted by John Blanco @ 3:41 PM


Still loopy...

Lastly...Waiting For a Prescription To Be Filled

posted by John Blanco @ 3:41 PM


Michele and I waiting in the car for a prescription at Walgreen's. Say hi to her new bear, Endo! :-)

Thursday, May 04, 2006

A Gloomy Thursday Night

posted by John Blanco @ 8:54 PM


Well, tomorrow is the big day. Michele goes in for surgery, and hopefully all will be well when it's done. She should be home by noon...we need to wake up around 4 AM in order to get in, prepped up, etc. Yowch.

But Michele will be just fine. And I shall be a doting husband and tend to her all weekend. :-) Get well soon, my love!

Good Luck, love!

After all, you have an NES, an SNES, and the game Crystalis all coming in the mail for you... :-P

Have a good weekend, everyone.

SNES, You Are Mine, Too!!!

posted by John Blanco @ 8:37 PM


Wednesday, May 03, 2006

NES, You Are Mine!!!

posted by John Blanco @ 12:10 PM


Monday, May 01, 2006

Civic Duty and Sore Feet!

posted by John Blanco @ 11:56 AM


Well, Saturday is a couple days past now, and my feet are finally feeling well enough to talk about my experiences without complaining. :-)

Saturday went well. We went canvassing as part of the DNC's Neighbor-to-Neighbor National Organizing Day, a 50-state canvass across the country.

In all, there were over 1,000 efforts, with tens of thousands of volunteers walking their neighborhoods, knocking on doors, and talking to their base about the upcoming election.

Michele and I canvassed together. We were assigned the very neat area near 19th and Washington, by downtown Golden. Right down the block from where I used to work. :-)

I was, of course, practicing my "script" the whole way in the car. But, by the time we'd parked and walked several blocks to our first house, I was both too winded (very hilly!) and nervous to remember. But I got it enough together to greet someone at that very first house.

It was an older man, maybe in his 60's, who was listed as a Democrat, but said he switched to a Republican.

I was interrupted as I explained what we were doing, handing him a piece of literature outlining the major positions of the party. I decided to engage him on why he switched parties, but I was thrown off by two things:

1) He said he switched because, and I quote, "He got tired of the Democrats bitching and complaining about the Republicans." Ummm, OK? Isn't that what the minority party is supposed to do?

2) He had a bead of snot hanging from his nose.

This was very disturbing to both Michele and I, so I mockingly showed my disapproval in his switch but told him to keep the literature and hoped he'd change his mind come Novemeber.


Many houses came and went. Michele and I never open our door if it rings, and we're not expecting anyone, so it wasn't surprising that the majority of houses had doorbells that went unanswered. But, in total, we talked to about 25 homeowners, and all went well. There were, of course, some highlights:

* There was an apartment where we rang, but after 30 seconds, got no answer, so we walked away...but as we got to the end of the sidewalk, the door opened. We turned to find a man, early 30's, looking slightly stoned. I introduced myself, verified he was "Trevor," and he responded with "What is this? Oh, I hate liberals."

* There was a house where the guy answered the door with no shirt on. A bit uncomfortable. Woulda been more exciting if it was a woman?

* There was a woman getting out of her car in the parking lot of an apartment complex we had a couple stops at. We rang on the first bell, not no one answered. So we move to the second one, and as I'm about to hit the doorbell we hear, "Uh uh!" It was the woman in the parking lot's door. I asked, "Are you Stephanie?" And she responded quit rudely with, "Whow ants to know?" Ironoically, when I told her who we were (which couldn't have been too hard ot figure out since we were wearing shirts that said DEMOCRAT in huge letters), she seemed pretty comfortable ins aying she's a Democrat and was already intent on voting for our people.

* There were 3 houses where the homeowners were quite excited to see us and greeted us very warmly and excitedly.

It took us 2.5 hours to hand out all our material. Towards the end, we had to start dropping off all of it at the doors because we had no time to talk. By the end, we were tired and beat...

Still, it was great to do our part in "the process." I'd definitely do it again...tho there's no way I can fathom how anyone can go door to door selling things or soliciting for money. I have a new admiration for these brave folks.

(Except Girl Scouts, selling cookies for $3 a box has to be pretty easy.)