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All Entries Filtered By Date: 2006-03-01
March 29, 2006

[Daniel] Revolution Excitement

I don't talk about video games much anymore simply because I don't play nearly as much as I used to. But I cannot help but be excited by the coming of the Nintendo Revolution. IGN released today the leaked specs for the Revolution here.



The Revolution (codename, not final system title) is expected later this year and while the article makes a valid point that the system will be nowhere near as powerful as an Xbox 360 can theoretically perform, it's still quite decent and will offer both a lower price and a completely different playing experience.



From launch, it will support all prior GameCube games (546 games on day 1), have an enormous back-catalog of historic games (Nintendo 64, SNES, NES, Sega Genesis & TurboGrafix!), virtually completely wireless (built-in WiFi and wireless controllers) and feature the craziest (yet likely most instinctive) controller I've ever seen. I'm most excited about the controller on the principle of the first-person shooter experience alone and there's so many other wonderful possibilities. It'll be up to the developers if it's used effectively, if it's a gimmick or if it falls to the way-side.



To be blunt, yeah, the Revolution is basically going to be a upgraded, wifi'ed GameCube that's only slightly more powerful than the original Xbox. But an equally good point is that while the Xbox 360 & Playstation 3 feature radically more powerful hardware, they derive much of their theoretical power out of multicore processing. Programming in this fashion is much more difficult than the standard, more procedural methods. It's difficult to write efficient code chunks that can run on multiple cores at the same time, complete in a synchronized fashion and deliver a smooth gaming experience. Meanwhile, though the Revolution is "only" a highly evolved GameCube, this means that all developers who worked on a GameCube have a codebase that will run on the Revolution and everything they know, they can apply to the new platform. Meanwhile, PS3 & Xbox 360 dev houses are rewritting massive amounts of code in a less familiar and untested environment. I would not discount the competitiveness of the Revolution simply because it's not on the level of hardware as the PS3 & Xbox 360.



Additionally, analysts target the price of the Revolution at approximately $200 dollars. Those who follow gaming even vaguely will know that that's fully half the price of an Xbox 360 (the crippled little Core system doesn't count) and less than half of the target price for the PS3 ($500+ with bundles). For a system that will be WiFi, have literally hundreds of my favorite games available and what might represent the best first-person shooter experience ever, I know what I hope to spend my money on.



And the best part? All I have to do is tell Moriah it will run "Super Mario Brothers 3" natively and she's 90% sold. Hell yes. :D
March 25, 2006

[Moriah] 11 Weeks...

Thursday was officially the beginning of my 11th week. So far, things are going fine. The nausea has subsided slightly, though I still have days that aren't so good. I usually feel yucky during the afternoon, so lunchtime has been difficult for me over the last week.



One of the biggest problems I'm experiencing right now is forgetfulness. It seems like I'm forgetting everything lately. I can't remember things I have to do unless I write them down. I have difficulty remembering words sometimes. It's like I have alzheimers or something. It's so irritating!!! But apparently this is totally normal for pregnant women to experience. I just hope it goes away after the baby is born!



I am certainly feeling larger and, as you can tell from the following pictures, I really am getting larger around the middle.



11 Weeks
11 Weeks




11 Weeks
11 Weeks




I'm not totally excited about this, since I'm not even through my first trimester yet. I should only have gained about three pounds during the first trimester, and I can tell I've gained more than that already. (sigh) I can't wait until it's warm enough to go swimming so I can at least get some more exercise that way. It just sucks that I've been feeling so nauseous because I haven't been able to get out and walk as much as I used to.



Well, I'll be updating again soon. Hopefully by then, I will have been able to get out to exercise more. We'll see. Later!

[Daniel] A long March...

This has been a very long, very busy month. I'm sure that was apparent from the complete neglect of my blog since March 5. There have been many things that have gone on.



First off was our excellent trip to Hamilton Pool. I have to give props to Nico for the wonderful idea. It was a beautiful place to go and the pictures really don't do it justice.



We'd also been searching heavily for a car all throughout February. With the impending birth, I'm going to need to be able to drive myself to work and not have Moriah and Baby Lindsley come along each way. We did find one earlier in the month and we're simply waiting for the seller to get her new car so we can close the deal. Once it's done, I'm sure I'll post about it and include pictures. There, I have to give credit to both Dads, who provided lots of valuable information about purchasing a used car.



Work has been simultaneously wonderful and hectic, in classic Live Oak fashion. I've purposely not been saying much about my new job but since I'm four months in and definitely staying there, I guess I may make comments about it from here on out. It's a fantastic place to work, with very little ego, bright people and some challenging work with real responsibility attached. This week has been especially hectic with the launch of a major, major website. I wasn't directly invoved for most of it but it's been a trip so far. Actual launch of the project is happening as I type this and it's being demo'ed to 50,000+ potential users. Kinda crazy.



Bear's been just absolutely dumping fur this whole month. I feel like I should just be chasing him around the apartment with a vaccuum just to manage all of the fur. Just look at this pile!



Shedding
Shedding




I've been keeping busy mocking up a new potential Remarkable Umbrella product. We'll see if this one goes anywhere. More as that develops as my day job has priority.



Finally, the framework is being retired. Despite sinking many, many hours into it, I've decided that I will never have as complete a framework as I would like. And since uptake of it hasn't been very good (not even within Remarkable Umbrella), I told Tony to let the domain expire and it will get reglegated to either a subpage on the Remarkable Umbrella site (unlikely) or will get dropped onto my Software page here on Snow-Wolf (more likely). Besides, I am far more enthralled with Django. It's Python, well-designed and absolutely blazes (faster than PHP!) when you've got caching on and have done some tuning. I've already used it some for a couple little test projects and it flows so much better than Remarkable Framework ever did. In fact, it's the target platform for the next RU project.



So that's my life in March. Hopefully, April will be a little better updated and I'll be able to show off some new stuff rather than just talk about it.
March 12, 2006

[Moriah] Hamilton Pool

Yesterday, we decided to take an adventure to a place we've never been before. It was a gorgeous day, mostly sunny with temperatures in the low 80s and a nice breeze. A little after noon, we started off toward our destination: Hamilton Pool, a natural spring pool in the middle of a wildlife and nature preserve west of Austin. Unfortunately, because it's a preserve, no pets are allowed. So we had to leave Bear at home, which he wasn't too happy about.



We began with a beautiful drive on R.R. 620. West of Austin, it wraps around the edge of Lake Travis, which is breathtaking as you drive along the "cliffs" and look down at the blue water. The houses overlooking Lake Travis looked like mansions! Some of them were very unique and interesting to see. Also, it was such a nice day, there were several people out on the water in their boats and jet skis.



After we got off R.R. 620, we took another few roads to get to the preserve. We arrived just after 1:00. It costs $8.00 per car to get in, so after paying our fee and getting our sticker we headed in to find a parking spot. They only allow 75 cars in the preserve at a time due to the small parking lot but, because it was still fairly early in the day, we were able to find a spot easily.



Following the trail to the pool, we trekked through the woods with our water and apple juice bottles, camera and brochure in hand. We headed downhill along the trail until it came to a fork. You could either turn left to go to the Pedernales River, or you could turn right to go to the pool. We decided to start with the pool, so we turned right. It was only a quarter mile hike to it, so we got there quickly. It was so beautiful! I couldn't believe it. It looked much better in person than the pictures of it we saw online before the trip. Pictures don't do it justice. All the details in the rocks, the color of the water, the sound of the waterfall...so gorgeous!



There were already lots of people there, swimming, sunbathing and having picnics on the rocks and beach. Sometimes, because it's a natural spring, the bacteria level in the pool is too high to allow for safe swimming, so the park office puts the pool off limits. But the levels were low on Saturday, so almost everyone was enjoying the cold, blueish-green water. Since I was extra warm (being pregnant can do that to you!) I decided to cool off my feet. I took off my shoes and socks and stepped into the pool. It was as cold as Lake Michigan! I don't know how all those people were freely swimming in it. Most of them didn't seem to mind, though. I'm sure it'll be nicer to swim in in summer when it's over 100 degrees. We plan to go back again, so maybe I'll take a dip in it then. We spent a good amount of time by the pool, looking at the rock formations, the water and taking lots of pictures. After about an hour, we wanted to go see the river so we headed out toward the trail again.



The preserve reminded me a lot of Rib Mountain, with all the trees, rocks, plants and animals. But there was also a pretty stream that ran along the trail from the pool toward the river. As we walked the trail, we saw catfish and some other fish in the stream! We got pictures of them and even took a short movie of a catfish lazily swimming through the still water. It was fun to watch. We also saw a turtle sunning itself on a log sticking out of the water, so we got a picture of that too.



The trail to the river is supposedly only 0.6 miles, but with all the climbing and descending it took us a long time to get there. We took several more pictures along the way of interesting rocks and things, but none of the pictures do the real thing justice. Anyway, by the time we reached the river, we were pretty worn out. I was more breathless than usual because I have been so sick with morning sickness lately and haven't been exercising much, so I had to sit down a few times on the way. But the river was very pretty when we did reach it. There were people swimming in it too, though not as many as at the pool.



We didn't stay at the river long. We went down to the water, which was warmer than the pool, took some pictures, took in the scenery for a few minutes and then headed back. We were both very warm, tired, and hungry, and we had what felt like a long trek ahead of us to get back to the parking lot.



On the way back, I saw a small snake cross the trail right between my feet! It was only 6 to 8 inches long, so it wasn't large, but it scared me because I didn't see it until I nearly stepped on it! I would have felt just terrible if I had, but luckily I jumped out of the way in time. We would have gotten a picture of it, but it slithered into the leaves on the other side of the trail before we could even get the camera out.



We finally reached the parking lot again at 3:15, tired but very happy that we went there. It was definitely worth the $8.00! We can't wait to go again, especially if we have visitors to take along with us. Hint, nudge to our family and friends. :) We posted all the pictures we took in our photo gallery, so feel free to check them out. But, like I said, the pictures don't really do it justice. It's much better in person!
March 9, 2006

[Moriah] 9 Weeks And Counting...

Today I am officially starting my 9th week of pregnancy. I am finally starting to feel more like myself again. Though still lingering a little, the nausea has faded significantly this week, which I am excited about. I'm certainly not out of the woods yet, as most women continue experiencing nausea until the end of the 12th week, sometimes longer. But, for now, I'm feeling better and I couldn't be happier about that! I can finally eat food without feeling like it's going to come back up after a few bites, and I'm able to tolerate a larger diversity of foods instead of only fruit juice, popsicles and Mexican food.



Unfortunately, because I've been feeling so crappy with the nausea and fatigue this last month, I have been extremely sedentary and have gained weight already. The average woman should only gain three to four pounds in her first trimester of pregnancy, and one pound per week in her second and third trimesters, gaining between 25 to 35 pounds throughout the pregnancy as a whole. I feel like I've already gained 10! Even worse is that you can't count the first trimester's weight gain toward the last two trimesters because that's when the baby grows the fastest and needs the most nutrients. The solution: now that I can tolerate a larger variety of foods I need to start eating more efficiently, getting enough calories to gain approximately one pound per week starting at week 13, but making sure I cover all the necessary nutrients with those calories. I'm allowed to splurge every once in a while, like anyone else, but it's very important that I cover all the proper nutrients with the foods I eat.



Here are the first two pictures of me in my pregnancy. Like I said, I'm at 9 weeks today, so I shouldn't be showing much of anything. Just a little bit rounder tummy is usual by this time. Well, my tummy...and hips...and butt...are certainly rounder after all the sitting and laying I've been doing this last month!



9 Weeks Front View
9 Weeks Front View




9 Weeks Side View
9 Weeks Side View




So, there you have it. I'll keep posting each week or so to let everyone know how things are going. Until next time...
March 5, 2006

[Daniel] Followup 1: At A Loss...Of Energy

Interestingly enough, Chevron (either for PR or actual intent) has started a website trying to spread information and create a conversation about impending energy problems. You can find the website here: http://www.willyoujoinus.com/. The information, while not nearly as complete and doomsday-happy as Life After The Oil Crash, impressed me in that a major oil company is attempting to speak frankly on the subject.
March 1, 2006

[Daniel] At A Loss...Of Energy

I've been doing a little surfing tonight, powered in part by a link I clicked in Craig's List while searching for a car. The link at the top was entitled "[ Peak Oil ]".



What has followed is a lot of disillusionment and perhaps even a bit of fear. I agree with much of what I have read, more than I would like. And the worst of it is that I can do precious little to change it.



To understand what I am saying, I would suggest reading/skimming the following articles with an open mind.



I do not ask that anyone believe every word that is said but that an open mind be kept because the topic is an important one, and even if we don't face it in our lives, our children or children's children will face it.



The concept behind these articles is that, as a civilization, humanity either has reached or will soon reach the maximum amount of oil available. Soon after, demand will outgrow the supply, as the supply follows a bell-shaped curve and demand is relatively straight-line growth. At this point, prices will skyrocket. What happens after that and when it will occur is a source of debate.



Some believe that human civilization will implode and that we will experience a depression greater than the depression experienced in the 1930's (for all countries, not just the US). Some think we will go to war and destroy ourselves that way. Some think that we will find an alternative and we will be able to supplement.



Moriah and I do not waste much, never have, likely never will. We bought the most oil-conservative car we could. We usually only run one light in the apartment at a time. We never heat or cool unless it gets too far out of our comfort zone and we reach the end of what more/less clothing can do. And despite Austin's best efforts to deny it of us, we recycle.



But what's frightening to me in this is two-fold. One, no matter what I do or how much I conserve, the average American will go on driving his/her SUV to work, school, etc., keeping running every light in the home at all hours, not recycling and in general wasting as much energy as possible. When we go down, they will be the ones pushing it faster and more out of control. And I can do next to nothing to stop or slow it. The days of $5.00 a gallon approach much faster than one would like.



What scares me worse is that we are now bringing a child into the world, a world which will get worse even if it's not nearly as bad as some may claim. They will feel the hurt of a growing energy crisis, even if it's "just" increased gas prices and possibly worse. It feels unfair to me that we're going to subject someone to this. I hope the child can forgive me.



I feel equally bad, in what should be a happy time that I only pump out happy messages in, that I pump out a post like this. But to ignore problems of this magnitude seems foolhardy.



Don't think that I'm off to buy a gun, a hoe and a cabin in the mountains just yet. But do count on me to continue what I've done so far: conserve as much as possible.

[Moriah] So Far, So...Nauseous.

I've been experiencing lots of new things so far with the pregnancy. Mostly, I have had a heck of a time with the trademark nausea. It feels like I've had the flu 24 hours a day for the past month. I have come to the conclusion that there are some things the doctors say will help with the nausea that actually do, and some things they say should help that don't do anything for me.



Keeping food down is complicated right now. For example, everyone says you should eat some crackers in bed before you get up. It's supposed to stave off the nausea from the start of the day. Well, that has done nothing for me. The nausea comes anyway as soon as I get out of bed to start my morning chores. Another example, eating small frequent meals throughout the day. This helped me keep the nausea away at first, but the last two weeks or so it has not been working anymore. I have become too sick to my stomach to eat much of anything, except for very specific foods. Mexican food seems to settle in my stomach the best, surprisingly; especially refried beans, Mexican rice and burritos. I also do really well with orange juice and oranges. But usually things like pasta, bread products, crackers, sometimes pizza, and things like that make me feel worse.



Beverages are another interesting matter. One beverage in particular really makes me gag: water. Drinking water makes me feel terrible right now! I guess that's a pretty common thing with pregnant women, or so I've heard. So I've pretty much given up on it for the time being. I'll sip a little water here and there, but I'm mostly drinking calcium-fortified organic orange juice, apple juice from time to time, and enriched rice milk. Popsicles, like Dreyer's Whole Fruit Bars, also seem to go down well.



To help with the constant nausea, which everyone says will go away soon, I got a prescription for Fenergan. Apparently, a lot of pregnant women take it specifically to help with the nausea. Under the giant list of warnings and side effects, nausea and vomiting included!, it says it can make you drowsy. Well, the first night I took one, it knocked me right out and I could barely wake up the next morning to take Daniel to work! "Drowsiness," my rear end! More like, "Sudden Knock-out!" But then my mom suggested breaking it in half and seeing how I did. Well, I broke one in half last night, and it didn't knock me out quite to fast. Then, I took the other half this morning, since I didn't have to drive anywhere, and I've been ok. I don't feel too drowsy. I guess I'm just extra sensitive to the full dose. And I am feeling better today. The nausea isn't quite so bad. I even went out and took a short walk in the gorgeous, sunny 82* weather! I haven't been able to do that for weeks. Just walking through the store to get groceries would make me sick. So at least there is hope, I think. :)



I guess that's it for now. I'll post later, hopefully when the nausea is much better and I'm able to enjoy being pregnant! Take care, everyone!