I love huge fines.

I just got a wonderful ticket for $421 today for running a school bus’s red light that was really yellow, four lanes over on the other side of the highway. Good thing that cop a couple hundred feet past the other side, behind lots of cars and three lanes over, had such a great view of what was going on and whether I was actually parallel to the bus at the time.

The most annoying part is that I was in this area with no clue where I was going, trying to read addresses in the opposite direction, and the cop didn’t have an ounce of sympathy. Seriously, my day, no, my month is already ruined, I’ve already been punished. You don’t even need to give me the ticket.

Really looking forward to my court date Oct. 26 and hoping I can get it either dismissed or at least reduced, based in part on my squeaky clean driving record, because there’s no chance in hell I can come up with that kind of money.

This is probably the worst day I’ve had in the past five years.

One more note: Even the cop who pulled me over told me to go to court and ask the judge to dismiss or reduce the fine.

Working on the first Magic deck

For anyone interested in Magic, here’s my first deck idea: U/W control. Now I’ve got some cards to work on getting. It’s designed for a post-Mirrordin-block environment, but doesn’t have any Ravnica cards yet because I haven’t looked through the list.

4x Dampen Thought
4x Millstone
2x Keiga, the Tide Star
2x Cloudhoof Kirin
4x Serra Angel
2x Honden of Seeing Winds
2x Disrupting Shoal
3x Mana Leak
4x Hinder
2x Rewind
2x Twincast
3x Wrath of God
1x Final Judgment
2x Ghostly Prison

4x Adarkar Wastes
4x Plains
15x Island

Picked up Magic:TG again

For some reason, I decided to bring my album of Magic cards to Oregon last time I was at my parents’ in Minnesota. I thought I was going to sell all my cards and try to recoup a little cash, but apparently I was wrong.

Instead I ended up trading in a few cards, picking up some of the newer ones, then trading a huge stack of POS rares for a quarter a piece and getting some more cards. Figured I’d start working on a blue/white control deck, then morph into a blue/black discard deck later on.

Played in a tournament last night (booster draft) for the first time in four years. For not knowing the cards at all, I think I did respectably: 2/2.

Some history about my M:TG background: I played pretty solidly up through early ’99, then mostly quit. Played a few tournaments in 2001, and dropped out entirely. My rating was above 1800 for a while, but it’s mid-1700s now.

Now I guess I’m back, and there’s a prerelease next weekend that I’ll probably head up to Portland for and see if I can win. I’ll be on an equal footing with everyone else as far as knowing the cards, although I’m definitely a bit rusty.

It’s kinda nice to have a hobby besides computers, even if it’s an equally geeky one. =)

Badly written blogs: Style before content

I’ve come to realize that if I’m running through Liferea reading blogs, I basically don’t read past the first line of any paragraphs that are more than five lines. A cost of the shortening attention spans and lack of time in this world, I suspect.

If your style sucks, people won’t even get as far as discovering whether there’s something to be found in your content. This is pretty similar to writing newspaper articles, where you’re taught to use an 8th-grade vocabulary and keep your paragraphs to a minimal length.

To blog writers: Don’t use long paragraphs. If you’re lucky, people will get as far as finishing the first sentence. There’s another lesson to learn there: make sure each paragraph’s first sentence is truly the most important thing in that ‘graph.

To people who write blogs as one big paragraph with no line spaces: I don’t read your blogs.

To people writing blogs in broken English: Work on your skills, or people won’t read your posts because it’s too much effort.

[Gentoo] Not pleased

Remember how I ordered my PSU from the one place that had 4 in stock? Well, I just got an e-mail this morning telling me it’s actually on order and they won’t get it until 9/19. So much for getting up and running again quickly.

I’m not impressed by their “real-time stock” listing being wrong and deceptive. Incidentally, the place is shopblt.com. I sent them an e-mail letting them know what I think of this.

[Gentoo] Speaking of breaking crap around here

I was attempting to get my “new” old laptop to a usable point. It’s a P3-500 with 64MB of PC100 RAM and a 6GB hard drive.

Although the specs say 256MB is the memory max, I got it up to 384 (It couldn’t handle 512). When attempting to upgrade the hard drive to a 20GB spare I had around, however, I managed to somehow rip the 1.5″ IDE cable.

The problem wasn’t apparent until I was unable to format the new disk, and when regressing to the old disk, the same problems happened. But it took a disk utility I found at the IBM/Hitachi site to tell me that the cable was the problem, and I wasn’t just somehow destroying disks.

Unfortunately, a replacement for this 1.5″ cable runs $25 at the cheapest parts site I could find, and up to $50 at others. Tack on $10 shipping and that’s a fairly expensive mistake.

Oh well. Guess I should sleep more before next time I attempt computer maintenance.

Fortunately Gentoo’s brand-new X-enabled LiveCD saved the day. I was able to work without a functional hard drive by using that and ssh-ing to the Pegasos, my temporary workstation.

[Gentoo] Ordered the PSU

I decided to go with the Seasonic over the Antec for a few reasons:

  • I didn’t feel that 500W was enough over the 450, which was underpowered.
  • It has six 4-pin plugs instead of five, and I will use all of them for 2 optical drives, 2 hard disks and 2 fans.
  • It got much better ratings on the Tom’s Hardware 6-week stress test, and never ventured outside ATX12V spec.
  • The main draw of the Antec was that its fan stayed off until 200W was drawn, but my board will probably always require at least that much.

As a testament to how good the Seasonic is, I had to go to close to 20 different sites to find one where the S12-600 wasn’t either back-ordered or selling at a rip-off price.