Archive for the ‘geeks’ Category

I’m Batman

There has been a rash of sickness at our house. We have all been trading a sinus infection around like baseball trading cards. Wash was the last one to be sick.

I indulge the boys more than normal when they are sick so I let Wash stay in his Batman shirt for three days. It could have been more, but honestly, I lost count.

He slept, ate, and even left the house multiple times with that shirt on. No, I did not wash it in between wearings. Yes, I took my sick child out of the house.

On Sunday, he wanted to wear it to church, so I told him he could wear it under his dress shirt.

Me: You can wear this shirt over your Batman shirt. It’s your secret identity.

Wash: I’m Batman.

Me, buttoning up his shirt: Don’t tell anyone. It’s a secret.

Wash: I’m going to tell everyone my secret identity. I’m Batman.

Me: I think you’re missing the point.

Once at church, he unbuttoned his shirt to show everyone.

I’m Batman.


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We like to play games at our house. Ries and I have always liked games, but some friends of ours introduced us to the world of Euro and Indie games a few years ago (Thanks, Robin and Philip!). If you are stuck on Monopoly and Life, you need to do some searching around.

We started building our game collection. It is nothing fancy, but we have some great games: Munchkin, Rukus, Ticket to Ride, Lords of Waterdeep, Odin’s Ravens, and Cards Against Humanity are favorites. If you want to watch some of these games in action, I suggest watching some episodes of TableTop. With some birthday money, I added The Resistance and Zombie Dice to our collection.

I bought Zombie Dice because I thought it would be a game the boys could play and I love zombies (who doesn’t?). I was gone last night to a women’s dinner at church and the boys played with the Zombie Dice.

After the game, Zombie Wash caught Gideon and the following happened:

Wash, chewing on his brother’s leg: I am a zombie, I am eating your braaaaaains.

Gideon: That’s my leg, not my brain.

Just another night at our house folks, where dice games degenerate into the flesh eating zombie horde.

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(For an explanation of this post, see the first post in this series for Ries.)

We left the house this morning at the uncivilized hour of 5:30am. Wash traveled beautifully. He had a couple crying jags, but other than that, the trip was smooth. We rolled into New Orleans about noon.

I got Wash his own press pass.

We went to a poster session and a happy hour. Wash was, of course, a big hit. I was able to see all my geeky librarian buddies. It was fabulous.

I was hoping to make another drinks thing at 9pm but Wash was awake until 9:45! and I am exhausted.

I miss being a librarian, but mostly I just miss getting to see some of my favorite people as often as I wish. Life is always about the people.

Shockingly, the weather has been less hot than in Houston, though all the yankees were complaining. It was a nice change from the melting weather at home. I hope it lasts.

I must go to sleep.

Good Night, love.

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I don’t know what this says about me (okay, I know but don’t want to admit it) but one of the first things that started to sink in when I was thinking about fatherhood was, how do I introduce my children to the Star Wars epic.  This is crucial to their upbringing.  The heart of the matter is the order.  Do I show it in chronological order by universe or by release date?  I finally realized, I don’t have to do either.

First, a disclaimer, I am not a prequel hater that many Star Wars fans have become.  I am also not a Lucas fanboy that thinks that Star Wars can do no wrong.  What I worry about is that my children will be swayed by the visual / audio stimulation of the episodes 1 – 3 and think the older ones look cheesy in comparison.  Most imporantly, how do I build up these characters and this universe and still preserve the big surprises.  The end of Empire Strikes Back was not a surprise to me when I saw it.  I would like to be able to protect the obvious spoiler in Empire Strikes Back, while  building the characters background, and hopefully creating surprises in the prequels that were never surprises to any one who had seen the original trilogy.  There are also lesser spoilers, such as Yoda’s introduction in ESB, that would be ruined by changed order but maybe harder to maintain anyways.

Anyways, here is the order I came up with:

  1. A New Hope (epsiode 4) – This introduces the universe as a whole better than any other.
  2. Phantom Menace (episode 1) – Now we know universe, this introduces us to Obi-wan’s “more civilized time” and his friend Anakin Skywalker.
  3. Attack of the Clones (episode 2) – Continues the story of the Obi-wan / Anakin friendship and the budding love story on the eve of war.
  4. Empire Strkes Back (episode 5) – Imagine the big spoiler here after you have more invested in characters.  How can that be?
  5. Revenge of the Sith (episode 3) – This is how.
  6. Return of the Jedi (episode 6) – And they lived happily ever after.  Right?

I have many thoughts on this but will limit my discussion here.  I will gladly take and respond to any feedback.

–Ries, now I just need to figure out how old until they can watch it and then keep them away from all Star Wars marketing until then.

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My newly built computer (named Nightcrawler) has received a few minor upgrades in the couple months since I built it.  My wife got me a stocking stuffer for Christmas that was a green LED lit case fan.  I stuck that inside the case to blow on to the video card area.  The green adds a nice hint to the blue that is in all the other fans.  Also, with some gift card money, I bought a card reader so I can stick all those SD cards (and other cards) I have lying around into my computer.

I have been spending a bit of time here and there for about a month trying to overclock my CPU.  I haven’t done this before but I have been reading a lot about it online for a while now.  One of the reasons I went with the Core i5-750 was the relative ease in which it could be overclocked for significant gains.  I even had bought the CPU cooler that I put in there with this in mind.  I did not however, want to attempt any aggressive overclocking that would give me high speeds but created a less efficient system that would reduce the lifetime of my processor.  My last computer served me well for 7+ years and I still have plans for its occasional use.  I want the same out of this computer.

Most overclockers for the new Core i5 / i7 processors tend to due things to get high clocks that I think reduce the effect of some of the advances that Intel has made with this newest generation of processors.  Specifically, the energy saving features and the turbo mode.  It seems that a lot of people turn these features off because they find that they cause stability issues with some of the higher clock rates.  Not that I didn’t believe them, but I did find out that they were right.  Like I said, I didn’t care about aggressive overclocks so I wanted to try and gain a moderate overclock while keeping these features on.  I wanted my cake and eat it too (still don’t get that saying). This article from Tom’s Hardware gave me added courage that I could do it and concrete justification that this was actually the optimum (measured in efficiency) way to go about it.  I just wish they would have put more details about the BIOS settings they used.

I decided that my target clock speed (BCLK) would be 160 MHz with little to no extra voltage, which would give me a default CPU frequency of 3.2 GHz (160 x 20 CPU ratio) and up to 3.84 GHz (160 x 24) in single threaded applications with Turbo Mode.  This seemed reasonable and I was sure I could do it.  A series of tries with unstable torture tests for a single threaded application showed me otherwise.  I am pretty sure I narrowed the problem to having the C-states enabled (power saving feature) but I wasn’t willing to give that up.  I still think I can get those speeds to work, but I don’t have the time, patience, experience, or knowledge to do it right now.  Therefore, I dropped my BCLK down to 150 MHz, which is the point when my motherboard BIOS automatically turns off those processor features mentioned unless you manually enable them.  With this setting I have a stable system and no extra voltage.  I have a 3.0 GHz processor (it usually runs about 3.15 GHz) for the price of a 2.66 GHz one and I am happy.  I may try to slightly increase that BCLK and I think I can get some tighter timings on my memory, but I have to leave something left for me to do, right?  For now, I am happy.  See my final stats in the CPU-Z screenshot below.

Nightcrawler Overclocked Settings

I have also done a simple overclock of my video card using the provided Overdrive from ATI.  Unfortunately, it looks like I will not be able to add another video card to my computer as planned because the Radeon 4870’s are simply dying out of the retail supply.

-Ries, next upgrade?

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Originally uploaded by Wandering Eyre

I thought that, after all that mouth flapping about that awesome computer Ries has been building, you might like to see it in all its glory.

Bask in the glory.

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Ries is right, I have been spending all of my free time the last week or so playing Dragon Age, which I can safely say is the very best game I have ever played. The graphics are astonishing and the plot is nuanced and intriguing. Sadly, unlike Clara, I am not ok with baby-gating in the kid while I play (though I have considered it briefly).

If anyone cares (and why wouldn’t you?!), I am playing a rogue elf from the city caste named Lady. She aspires to be an assassin, is witty, smart, and of course, a serpent in sheep’s clothing.

I have my computer up and running Ubuntu. After a few minor hiccups (the wireless was wonky and I forgot I HATE coding, but luckily with Ubuntu I do not have muck in the innards much), Ubuntu has been fabulous. I will have to give a full accounting of it later. For now, I think I will use nap time to do some library ranting (link up after I write post it).

–Michelle, just wants to play Dragon Age

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