March 2004 Archives

March 27, 2004

Music Time Again

I was playing with my new piano samples for Cubase SX, today, I think they sound alright... Take up 2.5gb on my hard-drive, so they dang well better... Download Ruby, My Dear written by Thelonious Monk, played by me.

March 24, 2004

Quiet Means Loud

"Confucious Say: He who has much to do at work, shall blog infrequently and blandly..."... Or so I think he said, anyway... Played a knock-down drag-out 2 hour match against Carlos last night, finally winning around midnight. By the end we were both dropping our sticks, we were so tired. It may sound silly, but the only way I can win is if I focus nearly completely on the game, and 2 hours of intent focusing takes it out of you, let me tell ya...

March 19, 2004

In-n-out burger... Yep!---This post

In-n-out burger... Yep!

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March 17, 2004

Quick Update

Leaving for San Francisco tomorrow, hopefully to meet up with bro' sometime on Saturday.

Favorite quote from Howard Stern this morning; "I'm as dumb as a box of hammers!" - Evan Marriott, of Joe Millionaire infame

Rockin' out to the Jets Jet tonight, Irving Plaza...  Be there or be square.

March 16, 2004

Snowy daze is here

Snowy daze is here again...

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Busy Busy

Tuesday: Pool league
Wednesday: Jets concert (not to mention St. Patti’s Day)
Thursday: Assembly class (assignment due!)
Friday: Leave for San Fran with Dahlia, return Sunday

So I got my mindless timewasting out of the way last night; completely disassembling my pc, cleaning and reseating the cpu-fan, hooking up all the case wiring properly (took like an hour in itself, those blasted IEEE 1394 firewire hookups), changing a bunch of motherboard jumpers, reversing the hard-drive orientation, twisty-tying all the extraneous wires and dustbusting all the parts while I was at it. “Why, WHY!?!?!?” I asked myself, midway through the procedure, “I need to USE my computer later and instead it is in a million pieces!” But it was too late, so I ended up skipping dinner to finish by a reasonable hour.

On the upside, my operating cpu temperature is 43C instead of 51C now, so happiness. As a further treat, I went online afterwards and warezd a bunch of ReFills for Reason 2.5, which I will get around to playing with sometime next century when I am not so busy.

As for the programming assignment due Tuesday night, have a looksee (Note: how do you think I expect to get brownie points in this class? Hint: the professor makes at least 3 jabs at the Yankees every class period);

%TITLE “Staggered Text”
;CIS 4.1 Spring 2004
;Assignment 2
;Richard “Sam” Thompson
;A simple routine demonstrating staggered DOS
; text output using linefeeds and carriage
; returns.

.Model Small
.Stack 256
;Use the “DUP” keyword to create an “array” of stars:
Stars db 40 DUP (42), “$” ; 42 is ASCII ”*” character

;Print routine will print all following lines until $
StagTxt db 10, 13, “Welcome to Brooklyn College, Spring 2004”, 10, 13
db “I ran this program on:”, 10 ; linefeed only
db “March 16th, 2004”, 10, 13, 10, 10 ; 2 extra linefeeds!
db “I can”, 10 ; linefeed only
db “create”, 10 ; linefeed only
db “a staggered”, 10 ; linefeed only
db “effect”, 10, 13, 10 ; 1 extra linefeed!
db “My name is: Richard Thompson”, 10, 13, “$”

;First finish our “boilerplate” routines:
mov ax, @Data
mov ds, ax

;Point to our dup stars “array” for printing:
mov dx, offset Stars
mov ah, 9
int 21h

;Point to our “$” terminated text string:
mov dx, offset StagTxt
mov ah, 9
int 21h

;Point to our stars array again:
mov dx, offset Stars
mov ah, 9
int 21h

;Boilerplate again- must return control to DOS:
mov ax, 4c00h ; Could also’ve said “mov ah, 4ch”…
int 21h
end PrintStaggered

%TITLE “Yankees Joke”
;Today’s Yankees Joke (found somewhere online…)
;Four baseball fans, each from a Major League city,
; are climbing a mountain. On the way to the top,
; each is arguing about how loyal they are to
; their team, and what they would do for their
; team.
;As the climb progresses, the odds increase. Upon
; reaching the top, the Red Sox fan shouts, “This
; is for the Sox!” and hurls himself off the top.
;Not to be outdone, the Braves fan yells, “I love
; Atlanta- this is for the Braves!” and he jumps
; off, too.
;A moment goes by… Suddenly the Mets fan shouts,
; “This is for everybody!” and pushes the Yankees
; fan off.
;The End

March 13, 2004

Driving class, the boredom

Driving class, the boredom of which is substantially mitigated by the world's best cream puff, courtesy Beard Papa! Yummmm!

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March 12, 2004

Computers Computers

The real reason I am on such a pc configuration kick lately; Dahlia's Dad says he wants me to build him a computer, instead of getting one from trusty old Dell.  I started off by saying I could build something "faster, and indeed sexier," than the Dell offerings, and to my surprise it looks like he is actually going to take me at my word.  I have been warned, however; "You know this means you are going to be married to me for the next 3 years (until the next upgrade)...  And I warn you, I am a tough customer!"

Ulp.  He does all his architect-type work on his home pc, so if it crashes...  One or both of us is screwed!

Still, it means I will probably get to build the pc of my dreams (well, almost- not the $20,000 one, anyway), and hopefully score some parent points to boot.  Legend has it I am pretty handy at this type of thing anyway.

Lunch today; souvlaki sandwich from Monsenor Falafel...  So souvlaki-y...

March 10, 2004

Sam's Insane Rig

Lunch today; a bag of Original P-Nuttles Butter Toffee Peanuts... I confess, these New York State hospital reviewers are driving everybody crazy and I haven't had time for anything but these peanuts. The verdict on the peanuts, by the way, is that they are stale. But the real reason I am here with you today is to share my specifications for what I consider to be the ultimate home personal computer system; Sam's Deluxe PC (Model 2004A) Case: Wahoo Computers "Schema" case, customized as follows;
Base Schema Case Price$259.99
Powder Coat Black$149.99
Blue Fan Controller Panel$89.99
Blue Fan Guard Lights$49.99
L-Shaped Lexan Side Window$57.99
Lexan Top Window$44.99
Blue Cathode Internal Light$39.99
Internal Black Light$39.99
Blue Aluminum Carry Handles$49.98
Blue Neon Underneath Light$37.99
Blue Glow Drive Bays$37.99
Blue "Night Rider" LED Display$83.99
Blue Glowing Case Badge$49.99
Blue Power LED$19.99
Engraved Name Plate$24.99
Custom Window Decal$24.99
Blue Aluminum Thumbscrews$16.99
Blue Fan Filters$14.99
Internal Hard Disk Coolers (x2)$29.98
Rounded Cabling$27.98
Acoustipak Deluxe noise reduction$84.95
TOTAL Price:$1,237.72
So we are off to a good start with a case alone, with no actual pc components, costing more than a fully loaded Dell Dimension 8300. But this sucker looks really cool, black aluminum tricked out with blue neon and LED lights inside and out. The aluminum makes it relatively light and frisky compared to your standard steel case. Processor(s): AMD Opteron Model 248 (64 bit) (x2) Price: $1,898.00 Hmm... 2 processors? I thought we were building just one pc? Well; Motherboard: MSI K8T Master2-FAR Dual CPU Price: $220.00 That's right, this motherboard supports 2 processors running at the same time. Now while this does not necessarily mean you get twice the speed in all of your applications, there is still a noticeable improvement when multitasking as one cpu can handle the background tasks while the other cpu handles the forground stuff. Got to have it. RAM: 8GB Crucial DDR PC3200 ECC (4x2GB) Price: $3,996.00 8 gigabytes of RAM? Is this really necessary? In fact is it even marginally worthwhile? No and no. But it is the most you are going to see in any personal computer today, so it must be done. Power Supply: Antec True Control 550W Price: $99.00 Your average 350 Watt power supply is not going to be enough to drive all that RAM in addition to the other components we are about to load up, so we are going with this 550 Watt bad-boy. Equipped with a fan adjustment knob so you can turn down the fan noise if you like. My Deluxe pc's like to run quiet! Hard Disk(s): Western Digital Raptor 74GB SATA 10,000rpm (x2) Price: $454.00 These drives run on the IDE interface, whereas we could have gone with a SCSI interface add-on card and a couple of (arguably faster) SCSI hard drives with it. However, this pc is built to be easily upgradeable and we don't want to fiddle with a SCSI adapter every time we swap in a new processor. Besides, we are getting 2 drives for a reason; configured in a RAID-0 array we get very, very fast performance, with the data striped over 2 hard drives instead of streaming off of just 1. Video Card 1: Matrox Parhelia HR256 (PCI) Price: $2,495.00 Wow. This is a pricey little unit, eh? Well at least we are getting the highest resolution, truest possible image from this puppy, to the point we might count the dimples on Paris Hilton's butt. Not so hot for games, though, now what are we going to do about that? Did you notice anything about this video card? Yep, it is a PCI card. That means we are leaving the higher-bandwidth AGP-Pro slot on our motherboard open for; Video Card 2: ASUS Radeon 9800XT 256MB (AGP) Price: $459.00 Sheesh, the 3D-accelerated king of the gaming graphics heap manages to look reasonably-priced in comparison to the rest of this rig. Now let's hook up our video cards to some slick displays. Monitor 1: Iiyama AQU5611DTBK 22" 9.2 Megapixel (3480x2400) Price: You Don't Want To Know (approx $7,000.00) Our priciest component. Oh well, nothing can be better than this wide-aspect monitor, with the proper hook-ups in back to connect to our ridiculously over-powered Matrox video card. Swank. Naturally we are not playing our 3D games on this thing, though, as even the best-looking flat panel displays have too slow a response time for any fast on-screen action. Monitor 2: Iiyama Vision Master Pro 514 22" CRT Price: $650.00 There is just room left on the desk for our gaming display, an humungous CRT, also from Iiyama. Sound Card 1: Creative Audigy 2 ZS Platinum Pro Price: $209.00 I frankly don't care too much about sound when it comes to games- as long as I have a stereo signal I am kinda happy. But in case a real audiophile drops by we can fire up our 7.1 surround system, powered here by Creative. This card has some nice recording features, but for our home music studio work we have something else in mind; Sound Card 2: M-AUDIO Audiophile USB (External) Price: $169.00 Geared for home music production. Subtle but sweet. We are getting it. CD/DVD: Memorex 8XDVD, 40XCD-R Recorder Price: $149.00 Fast. Universal Power Backup: Belkin 1200VA 670W, 100minutes Price: $134.99 This power backup is for when the lights go down on the city- a common enough occurrance in these days of deregulation it seems. TOTAL(ly insane price):


Gee, I don't know, if it weren't for that last 70 cents I would think about gettin' me one of these rigs right away. Maybe next month, if I don't blow my allowance on my girlfriend first!

March 9, 2004


Cold chicken for lunch today, cold chicken and cold rice which were supposed to be yesterday's lunch. What was yesterday's lunch instead? Hint: McDonald's McCrispy McChicken McSandwich McAnd McMedium McFries Mc. Remarkably, if you price out the parts separately for a Dell computer system, the total comes out almost the same as what Dell is charging for their package system (not even including extended Warranty, etc.). I expected Dell to be offering a more substantial discount, there is after all that whole "economy of scale" thing, no? Sexy Sonata Case!Sam's System; Athlon 64 3000+ OEM: $219 ASUS K8V Deluxe Motherboard: $151 Antec Sonata case (w/ power): $113 ATI Radeon 9800 Pro 128MB: $247 Seagate 120MB SATA hard drive: $104 Lite-On 52X CD-RW drive: $45 Mitsumi floppy drive: $10 1024MB Crucial DDR PC3200 RAM: $220 Windows XP Home: $92

TOTAL: $1,201

Dell's System; Dell Dimension 8300 (similarly configured):

TOTAL: $1,189

dell_8300.bmp Actually, my configuration has a faster processor (64 bit AMD vs. Intel P4), faster RAM, a faster hard drive, a faster CD writer, runs quieter and in addition looks a lot "sexier" in that Antec case, which is all shiny black with blue LED's. I am not anti-Dell exactly, but if you have the time to slap together some parts I say go to Thompson's Computer Warehouse and get you's some. Why Thompson's? Because Jake's cat is named Thompson... But actually; because they throw in a roll of lifesavers with every shipment.

March 7, 2004

Time for a Walk

Finally downloaded the Knoppix Linux distribution, burned it to a cd and booted it up. Totally, totally cool, but a little hard to explain. It's basically a Windows-like operating system on a cd; just throw it in and restart your computer, suddenly you are magically running Linux (with the KDE desktop providing the "Windows-y" experience primarily). Even has a full Office suite, internet tools, etc... I am posting this from it right now, and I have only been running it for 5 minutes! Then all you do is eject the cd, restart your computer and it goes back to your normal (probably Windows!) OS. I think I am going to start carrying the disk around with me and throwing it in random computers just to shock people... Now to get my butt outside and enjoy some of this gorgeous weather before heading over for a little Sopranos-watching action at Dahlia's.

March 5, 2004

Counting Minutes

I have extra incentive to not want to be at work today, as New York State reviewers showed up 3 months early to assess our compliance with healthcare regulations.  This year they are asking all kinds of electronic data-related questions, I am expected to have the right answer.

The other day I picked up a Catnip Blunt for Paris, the pet store owner warned me it is "exceptionally potent catnip," and judging by my cat's reaction last night this is no joke.  I even got her to stand on her hind legs for it, which is quite a trick considering she has the physique of a furry basketball.  Afterwards she barfed up a hairball on my couch, so it must have been pretty good stuff.

My new pc is finally running pretty swank, current specs; AMD Athlon 2400+, 512MB DDR2700 RAM (running in Dual Channel mode), Asus A7N8X Deluxe motherboard, NVIDIA GeForce FX 5600 Ultra 128MB, all housed in the very swankalicious Antec Sonata case.  Now I can finally check my email and watch the latest Paris Hilton video in style.  Come to think of it, though, I do need a new monitor one of these days...  And some new speakers...  And a gold-plated mouse-holder...  Sigh...

March 4, 2004

Black Tie Affair

Does anyone have an extra tuxedo?  I am a 36 long, with a 16 1/2” neck (I think).  This is for Jake’s wedding in August in Lost Angles.

As it turns out, I will be in California at least 3 times this year.  The first visit later this month is to San Francisco with Dahlia, scoping out Stanford…  (wait, why are we going to San Francisco when Stanford is in <st>San Jose</st> Palo Alto?  Oh well, I am confusing myself but know I got at least part of that right!)…  An entertaining coincidence is that my Brother and his wife had decided independantly to visit San Fran over the exact same weekend, so hopefully we will get to hook up.

The second visit will be for Jake’s wedding, and the third visit is actually the most intrinsically exciting (sorry, Jake!); Dahlia and I will be driving across country, seeing the great sites of this land from one coast to the other the old fashioned way.  This should take about 2 weeks and I am really looking forward to the adventure.

Tonight I find out what I scored on the Assembly Language Programming quiz that I took last week.

March 3, 2004

Back in Traction

I need to exercise!  I am looking at my calendar, 2/10 was my last visit to the gym, and I am turning into a mound of semi-glossy gelatinous flab with eyeballs.  Dahlia says, “Yes, but you’re my mound of semi-glossy gelatinous flab with eyeballs,” but that is just not good enough for me; I need to take action.

The problem is I almost never get to bed early enough to be able to wake up and squeeze gym time in before work.  Not so long ago I could say, “What the hey, I can go to bed at 9 and wake up at 5, no problem- what else am I doing with my life?”  Now I am starting to look like Jello.  Although it is busy Jello.

My old routine was strictly weightliftin’, but its time to think about a little aerobicizin’.  The problem is last time I tried running it felt like my shins were breaking off, so I am left with the stationary bike or those rather gay “eliptical” machines.  I mean gay in the “upbeat” sense of course- I just don’t like to look happy when I am exercising.

Also interesting; the tan line on my butt is gone, replaced with an all-white expanse.  I noticed this the other day in the mirror during my pre-shower self assessment.  “What is this world coming to?” I wondered, secretly blaming Dubya.

March 2, 2004

Thin Blue Haze

My new computer case has a wicked cool pair of blue LED headlights on the front-panel, purely for cosmetic reasons.  Last night I found out this makes for a rather trippy nightlight- from my bedroom there is this bluish haze crawling across the back of my couch and terminating right next to the fridge.  Normally I wouldn't leave my pc on, but I was testing the noise-proofing features of the new case overnight- I must add it was quite silent the whole night through, no hard disk access noises or fans whirring at all.

Last night I caught Straight Plan for the Gay Man on Comedy Central, it was reeeeally funny.  My favorite was when they put the guy out on Union Square with a puppy dog and he gets phone numbers from *too many* women.  Kinda surprised to find it looks like an actual series, I thought it was just going to be one spoof show.  The men they have doing the makeovers are quite entertaining, I wonder where the producers found them.

Pool night again tonight, I am undefeated so far in 8-ball, though my 9-ball record is very very bad.  Last week I got a nifty "Break and Run" iron-on patch from the APA for running an entire table out a couple weeks earlier.

When will Dahlia and I have time to play more Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles?!?!  I do not know, but hopefully it will be this weekend, our little avatars await in digital limbo...

March 1, 2004

Law and Order again

L&O: CI is filming in my building at work again today, I basically have to walk through the middle of the set to leave my office.  Someone yelled "ACTION!" right behind me this morning and I jumped, thinking they were starting the cameras up with me in full view.  Actually they were filming in a side room.

Congrats to Dahlia for cooking up a great salmon + mango sauce during last night's Oscar action.  We spied the recipe while checking out the mammoth Williams Sonoma at the new Time Warner Center / Columbus Circle mall.  We also stood on line for about a year for the free potsticker samples, nearly worth the wait.

The Whole Foods at this mall is also pretty swank.

Work is getting pretty hectic lately, our software vendor is discontinuing the product we are using so a migration will be necessary before January 1st next year.  This would be a big enough deal in itself, but add to this the question of whether the hospital can afford to shell out for new software or not and you begin to see why I am taking extra Advil today.

On deck for tonight; superglue some tiny washers to the cpu fan in my new case to make it stop vibrating!  I think I am inadvertently validating Nicola Teslas experiments on mechanical oscillation with this thing, it sounds like the house is about to fall down!