New head unit

Trip to New England, awww yeah

I went to New Hampshire and Massachusetts!

My trip started badly on Friday at the Baton Rouge airport with a flight that was delayed, then had mechanical issues.  I called Delta and had them reschedule my flights and was told I’d get to stay in a hotel in/near the Atlanta airport on Delta’s dime since I’d miss my connecting flight, so two hours late, the flight finally takes off and puts me in Atlanta, where – surprise! – there are three conventions going on (Dragon-Con being one of them, fffff, nerds) and there are no hotel rooms.  My connecting flight was rescheduled from Manchester that night to Boston in the morning, so I had to sleep in the airport (they gave me a $50 Delta travel voucher and two $6 food vouchers for the ATL airport, how generous, right?).

If you’ve ever been to ATL, this might be a strange sight to you, considering how ridiculously busy that airport usually is.

It wasn’t really that easy to sleep, so I took a couple hour-long naps and then watched Naruto and Drew Carey’s Improv-a-ganza on my laptop until it was time to board the plane.  Tried napping once onboard, but probably only managed another 45ish minutes of actual sleep.  Since Ed was going to Summer Matsuri (one-day anime convention) and lives near Boston anyway, he picked me up from the airport and we eventually made our way to New Hampshire.  It had been seven and a half weeks since I’d seen Sam, so I was pretty excited to see her.  We were supposed to go to Summer Matsuri with Ed, but because of my effed up flight, I was too tired, so Sam and I went back to her place and took it easy.

Sunday, Sam took me to Portsmouth.  It was really pretty and the weather was nice.  We went to Hampton beach after leaving Portsmouth, and that was cool (figuratively and literally).  Actually, I was kind of cold, but I guess that’s what I get for not checking the weather and wearing shorts.  Not that I would’ve worn jeans to the beach anyway. :P

 

Monday we met up with Ed and went to Boston.  We had a strange conversation that evolved from My Little Pony dubstep into the possibility of Christian dubstep existing, and come to find out, that is actually a thing.  We listened to some and it was amazingly terrible, as you’d probably expect.  I got to ride a subway for the first time, went to H&M (finally!), and went to a new Microsoft store (it was basically an Apple store, but it was pretty cool and I approve).

Tuesday we did some shopping and hung around Sam’s place.  Also had some good Paula Dean-approved garlic bread at a pizza place.  And then of course, Wednesday I had to catch my flight back, so we did a little more shopping at a mall closer to the airport in Manchester (went to another H&M!), then I had to leave, much to my own dismay.

Some random thoughts:

  • New Hampshire is really pretty, and I’d probably really like to live there, despite the retarded cold winters.
  • The political climate in New Hampshire was very interesting.  Tons of Romney signs, some scattered Obama signs, and just a few miles over the border coming from Massachusetts, I saw a Gary Johnson sign, and then another one pretty soon after.  I like the diversity a lot.
  • Everyone in New Hampshire and Massachusetts has stock rims on their cars.  That was interesting, but it makes sense (winter tires + low-profile = nope).
  • Lots of Subarus too, but that also makes sense (all-wheel drive).
  • Airport body scanners are a disgrace.  Went through a couple.  I think I’ll probably refuse them in the future and opt for the pat down to make the process as arduous as possible for the TSA.

All in all, even despite my departure flight issues, my trip was fantastic, and I really didn’t want to come back.  I miss Sam a lot, but there’s really nothing we can do about the 1,632 miles between us right now.  It’s worth it, and it’ll all work out eventually.

And on a final note, I called Delta today and they gave me an additional $125 travel voucher too, so I have $175 in vouchers to use toward my flight in October. :D

I can’t use the vouchers together on the same flight and Delta is expensive next month anyway.  Sigh.  Booked American Airlines instead.

Lights (Again)

On Tuesday, I went to The Parish at the House of Blues in New Orleans to see Lights (for the second time).  I have a few things to say about this that are related to music, and a few things that are related to the venue.

First of all, I hate the House of Blues.  The Parish is slightly better, but only a little.  I hate the House of Blues because of their camera rules and pat downs.  The Parish doesn’t do pat downs, but they do have camera rules.

 

You can bring cameras in, but you’re not supposed to use them.

Now, I hadn’t been to the House of Blues since…wow, I don’t even know, probably 2008 and the Parish since either 2007 or 2008.  Back then, camera phones sucked and/or weren’t as popular, so it was interesting this time to see everyone using smartphones to take pictures and videos and the staff wasn’t even telling people to stop.

So eat that, House of Blues.  Your stupid-ass rules (which, yes, are venue rules and not artist endorsed) are done.

Second thing about the venue is that I’ve been to two shows at the Parish, and both of them had horrible sound.  I could barely hear Gabe’s voice when I saw Cobra Starship there, and I could barely hear Lights’ voice this time.  They really need to stop drowning out the singers’ voices with bass.  I could hear Lights just fine at The Varsity.

Regardless, it was still really good.

After the show, I left and started walking back to my car, and Lights ran right out in front of me to her tour bus.  I was starstruck for a few minutes.  :P

-Philip

Re-Kindled

When I was younger, I loved to read, but I stopped reading after high school for some reason.  So, last month, I decided to buy a Kindle Touch in hopes that it would rekindle my love for reading (pun definitely intended).

The verdict is…I love it.  The eInk screen makes it super easy on the eyes.  It is exactly like reading a real, paper book.  I got the one with ads, and they’re completely non-obtrusive.  I was originally planning to pay the extra $40 and unsubscribe from the ads after I got it, but I don’t even care.  So far, I’ve read Steve Jobs, Ender’s Game, and I’m currently 40% through Snow Crash.

Ender’s Game is a classic, but for some reason, I’d never read it.  It was great – a well told story and a classic for a good reason.

Ever since 2005, I’ve followed Apple pretty closely.  In my Geography 1001 class at LSU, I spent most of the semester in class reading Wikipedia articles on Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Apple, Microsoft, Bill Gates, etc.  I’ve also seen Pirates of Silicon Valley a couple of times, and listened to countless interviews with Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, so there wasn’t really a whole lot in Steve Jobs that was news to me, but it was still a good read.  One thing I don’t understand, though, is that so many people realized he was a jackass after he died.  I knew he was a jackass as soon as I started reading about him in like 2006.  I didn’t respect his personal life; I respected his professional life and the amazing things he’s brought to the world, like the computer I’m typing this on.  It is fascinating that so many genius-types like him are like that, though.

I own Snow Crash in paperback, and I tried reading it twice before.  Both times I got like 60 something pages in and then just…stopped for no good reason.  I’m already far past that in the eBook form, and it’s fantastic.  Neil Stephenson’s writing is spectacular.

 

Also about a month ago, there was a film crew right outside of the parking garage at work filming something.  I looked up what they were filming currently in Baton Rouge, and I forgot what it was, but they turned an empty building into “The Marcum Institute,” so if you see that in a movie or TV show sometime within the next year, I know where the building is. :P

 

Now, three random things and I’m done.

1) Check out these awesome Christmas cookie sandwiches I made.

 

2) Skrillex’s Bangarang EP is kickass.

3) COMMNT ON DIS POST IF U CRY EVRY TIM

Loads of pictures, funtimes

Here’s some pictures of the 240sx:

The engine is very clean too:

The only thing I’ve done to the car so far was to replace the 19-year old rotted out speakers with some new ones:

It’s a very interesting experience driving the 240. My Camaro weighs about 3,700 lbs, whereas the 240 is about 2,700 lbs, but of course, the Camaro outpowers the 240 by slightly over two times the horsepower. The 240 being light makes it seem a lot faster though. Another cool thing about the 240 is that it’s rear wheel drive, which is not that popular for Japanese cars.

Last week was my trip to North Carolina.

Ziplining:

This was our rental. It had a terrible accelerator:

Driving through a mountain:

Relaxing on a mountain lake:

This is where the lake scene in Dirty Dancing was filmed:

Beautiful view:

It was a pretty cool trip. It was just my brother and I, and we went ziplining, whitewater rafting, “flying” in a vertical wind tunnel, tubing, swimming, and all sorts of cool mountain stuff.

On a final note, I finally upgraded my MacBook Pro to Lion yesterday. All’s well so far. I tried out natural scrolling for a few hours of use and then turned it off. I think that for novice users, natural scrolling would be great, but for people that are already used to traditional trackpad scrolling, it’s just extremely difficult to get used to.

-Philip

Photo Dump

Japanese melon bread:

It doesn’t actually taste like melon.  It’s just called that because it’s sweet, but I really don’t know why they picked melon of all fruits.  Regardless, it’s pretty good.

My house:

The phone lines in my house were run using Cat5 cable.  I guess it’s cheaper to just use that these days.

Eggs in a basket:

So delicious.

Sometimes, these guys chill in my front yard:

A much more appropriate name:

Best cookies ever:

They don’t make these anymore.  If you ever see any, buy them.  You won’t be sorry.

Grad School FFFFFFUUUUUUU

Sometime back in late March/early April of this year, I randomly decided I wanted to go to grad school, so I scheduled an appointment to take the GRE, studied 45 minutes for it, applied for the ISDS masters program, and now I’m back in school. I thought I was done tagging posts with the “college” tag, but I guess I have another two and a half years of that (if my poor blog lasts that long).

Anyway, I haven’t updated in a while (surprise, surprise), so it’s catch up time. Back in July, a good bit of my family flew to North Carolina to spend a week at my brother’s cabin. It’s pretty awesome up there (except for the spotty cell phone coverage :P).

That’s me on Chimney Rock. The view was awesome. :)

That’s the sunset over the lake my brother’s cabin is on. Yeah, it was really pretty.

I got to fly in an airplane, ride on crazy curvy mountain roads, swim in a mountain lake, and go white water rafting; all things I’ve never done before. It was pretty awesome. If I ever get to go again, I want to take my car so I can drive on those roads. :P

I’ve been writing a good bit lately (for fun, not for school/work). I’m just shy of 40,000 words on “Business As Usual,” which I’m trying to get to novel status (50,000) during editing. Also, I decided I don’t like that title. :

My web hosting expires in about 27 days, and I don’t think I’m going to renew it. My friend James offered to host my site for me, and since I don’t really use it as much as I used to, I may just take him up on the offer and save myself some money.

I recently posted this on Facebook and on reddit (where I got my highest upvote count ever), so I’m going to put it here too so anyone that still reads this can watch it and get all nostalgic all over it with me.

What would one of my updates be without random embedded YouTube videos of music I’ve been listening to? In case you haven’t realized it yet, I like electro-*anything*, and these videos are proof.

Electro-post hardcore:

Electro-pop:

-Philip

Who is that?

I had a pretty awesome experience Sunday night as I watched the New Orleans Saints beat the Minnesota Vikings from some pretty good seats right in the Superdome.

However, that does not mean I am okay with this “Who dat?” thing. This is why it has to go:

1) It sounds extremely uneducated. Do we, as members of a state that already gets made fun of for being uneducated, really want to further the propagation of that stereotype?

2) “But it’s part of our culture!”

Exactly what part of our cultural heritage, pray tell, does this awful phrase pay homage to? Perhaps our rich French heritage? I’m sure when they were leaving Acadia during Le Grand Dérangement, all they could say was “Who dat?”

Seriously, it’s a stupid phrase someone made up. You can’t try to glorify it by attaching some sort of false cultural meaning. (And if you’re going to try to argue with me that butchering the English language is part of our heritage, then I kindly invite you to move somewhere else and lower that state’s average IQ instead of ours).

3) “But it boosts team morale/intimdates the other team!”

I’m sorry, can we not accompish that with a phrase that sounds a little more educated? Personally, I like the “Here we come to get you” chant that they do at every Saints kickoff. In the dome, that was far more intimidating than people shouting “Who dat?”

4) It is ridiculously easy to turn around.

“who dat say dey gon’ beat dem Saints?!”

Uh, The Dallas Cowboys? The Tampa Bay Buccaneers? The Carolina Panthers?

Please feel free to throw arguments at me so that I may debunk them. :)

Saints

-Philip