The Bunch of Grapes
A Blog in the Liberty of the Savoy
Tuesday, February 22, 2005
1:38 PM
It's Only Been a Year

That's not so long, it it? Oh, it is? Shoot. Sorry. If it's any consolation, it was a very quick year.
Monday, February 02, 2004
11:03 AM
The reason I haven't been blogging lately is that suddenly all my creative energies are pouring into producing some really dumb comic strips. I can't do both. Who am I, Superman?
Friday, January 23, 2004
12:50 PM
I think the cell phone companies are just making up their numbers.This Reuters Article says that the cell phone ring tone business brought in 3.5 billion dollars last year. According to the article, that's about 10% of the overall world market for all other forms of music combined. Can this be possible?? Please tell me it's a hoax.
8:16 AM
This article here clears up at least one misconception I had about the Nintendo DS - I think. It sounds like she's saying that the 128 megabytes of memory figure refers not to onboard RAM, but instead refers to the maximum possible size of the game cartridges this thing takes. OK.

Also telling is the information that, indeed the screens are one above each other and - wait for it - can be used as one big screen. (I imagine it's not entirely seamless, but I'm just guessing.) They're also not ruling out back-compatibility with the Gameboy Advance.

I think I get it now. It's just another Gameboy. One with a bigger screen (but one that can be made cheaper than other similarly-sized bigger screens, since it's really two smaller screens) and potentially larger cartridges. I will now stop being excited.
Thursday, January 22, 2004
8:42 AM
Hey! There's a Pathetic Geek Stories site now! Yay!
Wednesday, January 21, 2004
4:34 PM
So Nintendo's coming out with a portable gaming unit with two screens. They say it won't compete with the Gameboy Advance, or with Sony's upcoming monster-expensive PSP. Nintendo says that having two screens will make the Nintendo DS "completely different than anything that exists right now."

The two screens are reportedly going to be one above the other.

So this is significantly different from having one screen, twice as tall, because... (I'm guessing here)

(a) The screens will be separated by a crucial non-screen area that would be impossible to simulate in software

(b) The screens will actually be slightly skewed from each other, giving you that great "wow, I'm playing a game on two screens" feeling.

(c) The lower screen will be dedicated entirely to strobing epilepsy-inducing effects, for that gaming sensation that really draws you in.

(d) Nintendo executives are on Crack.


Seriously, what the hell is going on here? Also notable are the reports that this thing's supposed to have 128 MB (that's 1 Gbit) of RAM. Which is a goofy-large amount of RAM for something like this. Two processors too, for some reason. But it's not designed for head-to-head-play: that would be too obvious.
2:30 PM
I continue to read like a maniac.

High accolades to Jeffrey Steingarten's The Man Who Ate Everything and It Must've Been Something I Ate. Geek Food prose at its finest. Hilarious at times, as well.

I tried to read Gene Wolf's Book of the New Sun a long time ago, and just didn't get it. But late last month, I picked up The Knight and really enjoyed it. I've since started in on The Book of the Long Sun. (Which starts with Litany of the Long Sun, comprising the first two books, Nightside the Long Sun and Lake of the Long Sun and concludes with Epiphany of the Long Sun, made up of Calde of the Long Sun and Exodus from the Long Sun. Got that? There will be a test.) I like it a lot, even if it is a Christian allegory in the form of a protracted Passion Play taking place on a profanely build generational starcraft, with Patera Silk (the protagonist) playing the role of Christ. Sigh. To judge from his writing, you'd think Mr. Wolfe would be too smart to be a Catholic. Wrong, apparently.
Thursday, January 15, 2004
11:38 AM
Tomorrow my wife has an appointment to get some sort of electrical stimulation device that is supposed to help with pain, or so they say. What a helpless feeling. Times like these I envy Theists: at least prayer gives them something to do. Maybe I should convert.

"And why are you looking to join the Church, my son?"

"I need more hobbies."

11:32 AM
My wife's arthritis in her hands and wrists is so bad now that many days she is having trouble feeding herself - she can't open a box or hold an apple. Can you think of anything more depressing? It isn't easy.
Friday, January 09, 2004
9:13 AM
The gods have been showing their wrath at my lack of blogging by pelting Portland with angry winter-style weather. Usually a snowfall is quite a unique and memorable event here in the City of Roses. We've had so many snowstorms, ice storms, and little-ice-pellet storms lately that I can't get it clear in my head.

Let's see, I know we had some snow on the ground the morning of Dec. 29, because that's the first time I tried to visit my Mom in Eugene and failed. (I made it through a two-hour delay in Salem before calling Mom and finding out that the roads in Eugene were even worse, and turning around.) And then there was a big snowstorm on New Year's day - four to six inches of snow all around the region. By the third, when I was supposed to try to visit Mom again, the forecasters were threatening an Armageddon-style storm for that evening. If I remember right, there was actually very little snow that whole weekend. But the forecasters stuck with it: every day, Armageddon was supposed to be just around the corner. Monday night they were finally correct.

Portland had snow, ice pellets, and freezing rain for about 48 hours straight, with ground temperatures stuck in the low-to-mid 20s. They closed the airport, all area schools were closed for four days, I-84 has been shut down, and the newscasters at the local stations are teetering on the brink of insanity from their continuous coverage.

I admit it: I've watched more of their continuous coverage than anybody should. On Tuesday, watching the news felt like a delicious validation that my decision to sleep in and stay home was right. By Wednesday, still stuck at home, my dedication to the magnificence of the weather was shakier: I mean, hey, we were out of milk and eggs. Wednesday evening I shoveled a narrow path down our steep driveway and we tried to take the Pathfinder out. Result: one Pathfinder stuck in the snow off the side of the driveway until all the snow melts. I'm guessing maybe Sunday. We now refer to it as the "Truck of Shame."

I should mention how our house is on a fairly major road. The road itself has looked passably slushy since Wednesday afternoon. (Side streets in the area are still jam-packed with snow and ice.) So the challenge of taking on our steep driveway is a bitter temptation.

Thursday afternoon: more shoveling. I had several shoveling goals. One: Widen and divert the narrow path enough to skirt my car by the stuck truck. Two: Clear away the remaining packed snow and ice from the path. Three: Extend the shoveled path all the way to the street, through the 18-inch pile of snow and ice left by the plows on the street.

(Have you heard the hoary "statistics" about how many people have heart attacks while shoveling snow?)

My shovel gave out, too. I had to bend it straight every few strokes. Oh, the humanity.

Anyway, we made it out in my little front-wheel drive car last night and headed straight for the supermarket. And I made it mostly to work this morning. I had to park in the Fred Meyer lot and hike the rest of the way. So I guess the worst is over. Until the next storm.

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“Striving to be a more perfect geek since 1970”

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